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5'9" heavyweight Monica McGowan was born on June 21, 1972 in Tyler, Texas and trains in Jacksonville, Texas. She started boxing in 1998.

She made her pro debut on August 13, 1999 at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana. She weighed in at 190 lbs and scored a TKO in the third round over Sheri Duncan (5'5", 180¼ lbs) of Houston, who was also making her pro debut.

On April 20, 2000 at the Civic Center in Beaumont, Texas, IWBF/WIBF Light Heavyweight champion Valerie Mahfood (5'8", 180 lbs) stopped Monica (182 lbs) of Rusk, Texas at 1:47 in the third round. McGowan opened the fight throwing a stiff jab dead on target to Mahfood, who worked to establish her own jab/left hook combination to the head. The action heated up in the second with Mahfood being pumped up by chants of "Wolfe" from the crowd. Monica showed good skills as a counter puncher. After several attempts at engaging McGowan, Mahfood began to lead with a straight right, then both turned loose with hard combinations. However, with thirty seconds to go in the round, Mahfood dropped Monica's hands with a left hook to the body, then fired a hard straight right that bloodied Monica's nose. The third round was a war but McGowan was beginning to tire and Mahfood landed repeated jabs to McGowan's face. McGowan landed some hard rights, one of which knocked Mahfood backwards. Monica charged forward to catch her, but Mahfood countered with a straight right to McGowan's jaw. With McGowan hurt, Mahfood unloaded a sustained barrage before the referee moved to stop the fight and McGowan's corner threw in the towel. Valerie Mahfood's trainer Harry Murdock told the Women's Boxing Page that "Monica was by far the strongest girl we have fought. She just lacks some skill." Mahfood improved her own record to 8-3 (5 KO) with the win.

On June 22, 2000 in Midland, Texas, Monica (173 lbs) moved to 2-1 with a fifth-round TKO over Karen Bill (171 lbs) of Lawton, Oklahoma who fell to 1-5.

On November 17, 2000 at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston, Rhode Island, Kathy Rivers (172 lbs) of Woonsocket moved her pro record to 12-2 (4 KOs) by TKO when Monica (172 lbs) was unable to answer the bell for the fourth round. McGowan held her own against Rivers until the third round when she was overwhelmed by an aggressive attack by Rivers.

On January 9, 2001 at Rice Ballroom in Houston, Texas, Monica TKO'd Brenda Cooper of Houston in the first round. Cooper fell to 2-3 (2 KO), and hasn't fought since.

Suzy Taylor vs. Monica Mcgowan
Suzy Taylor trades with Monica McGowan
© Copyrighted photo taken by Mary Ann Owen

On April 6, 2001 at Texas Station in Las Vegas, Nevada, Monica (181 lbs) won a clear six-round unanimous decision over IBA Middleweight champion Suzy Taylor (175 lbs) of Las Vegas, who fell to 10-5-1 (7 KO's). All three judges scored the fight for McGowan 59-55. Las Vegas photographer Mary Ann Owen, who was at ringside, told me "Suzy ran out of gas in Round 1 ... Monica McGowan fought with commitment and heart, even though she was visibly overweight for her frame she was in better condition than Taylor. She brought the fight to Taylor and continuously tagged her."

On September 22, 2001 at Galveston Island Moody Convention Center, Galveston, Texas, Monica (192 lbs) improved to 5-2 (4 KOs) with a TKO of Renee Torres (216 lbs) of Galveston at 0:41 of the first round.

On November 20, 2001 at Convention Center in Humble, Texas, Monica (183 lbs) advanced to 6-2 (4 KOs) with a four-round unanimous (40-36) decision over Tina Miller (6'2", 185 lbs), who fell to 2-1. McGowan appeared to be in better condition in this bout. Miller had the reach advantage but McGowan easily won the last two rounds.

Monica faces 6'6" Vonda Ward for the IBA Heavyweight belt
(Photo courtesy Team Ward)

On July 16, 2002 at Civic Center in Canton, Ohio, Vonda Ward (6' 5˝", 191½ lbs) of Macedonia, Ohio won a ten-round unanimous decision over Monica (195 lbs) in a bout for the IBA Heavyweight title. Ward advanced to 14-0-0 (13 KO) in her first pro bout to go the distance. McGowan took the fight inside to Ward in the early going and worked past Ward's jab with hard shots and plenty of aggression. Ward then stepped up the pace and began to trade with the hard-hitting McGowan in the second. Vonda opened a small cut above Monica’s left eye in the fourth. McGowan said that was a turning point for her. "I’d never been cut. I was trying to see outta my left but the blood was running down and sorta making my vision blurry. I could see her upper cuts coming, but was having a hard time judging them when I couldn’t see them the way I needed to".
It was a brawl until the sixth, but then both began to fade. Ward hung on better to get a unanimous decision at 99-91,98-92,98-92. Both gave it their all in a first-rate tussle that my correspondent said "may have been the best female heavyweight battle yet". Ward said after the fight that she would be happy to give McGowan a rematch.

On November 14, 2003 at 610 Arena in Houston, Texas, Monica (226˝ lbs) won by a first-round TKO over unranked Lisa McFarland (205˝ lbs) of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who fell to 2-5-0 (1 KO).

On January 27, 2004 at Pavilion Stadium in Houston, Texas, Monica (217 lbs) won a six-round unanimous (60-54,58-56,60-54) decision over Cassandra Geigger (202˝ lbs) of Fayetteville, Arkansas in an exciting, hard-fought bout. McGowan backed Geigger up with body shots and uppercuts and combinations to the head in the second round. Geigger countered by trying to tie McGowan up to smother her attack and trade with her at closer quarters. This was successful in the fourth and especially the fifth, where Geigger applied good pressure with McGowan against the ropes. In the final round, McGowan's power showed again as she picked up her pace and landed the more telling blows. Geigger slipped to 6-2-0 (6 KO).

On April 23, 2004 at the Radisson Hotel in Wichita, Kansas, Monica (215 lbs) TKO'd Mona Nelson (201 lbs) of Houston, Texas at 0:55 in the third round of a scheduled six-rounder.  McGowan improved to 9-3-0 (6 KO) while Nelson dropped to 1-2-0.

On May 29, 2004 at the Stafford Centre in Houston, Texas, Monica (207˝ lbs) pounded Lisa McFarland (210 lbs) of East Point, Georgia to a TKO at 1:16 of the first round to win the Texas state Heavyweight title. McGowan fought from a left-handed stance "because she went southpaw on me. In order to fight a southpaw, I've got to get unorthodox to throw my right hand, so it counts." The bout was the co-main event on a card titled "Battle of the Lone Star State" staged by promoter Roy Foreman. McFarland fell to 2-6. "It feels almost as good as having my first kid," McGowan told reporters, smiling. "This feels good."

On November 18, 2006 at Cut Off Youth Center in Cut Off, Louisiana, Monica (221 lbs) won a four-round unanimous (40-33 x 3) decision over Mona Nelson of Houston, who fell to 1-3-0.

On June 9, 2007  at Cut Off Youth Center in Cut Off, Louisiana, Monica (229 lbs) won by a TKO in the first round of a scheduled four-rounder with Celeste Smith (241 lbs) of Tupelo, Mississippi, who fell to 0-3 with the loss. McGowan improved to 12-3 (8 KO's) with the win.

On June 19, 2008 at the Bricktown Plaza Hotel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Monica (212˝ lbs) stopped pro debuter Gayle Eidschum (196˝ lbs) of Fort Smith, Arkansas at 0:25 in the first round. McGowan improved to 13-3 (9 KO's) with the easy win.

Monica McGowanMonica trains by running 3 miles then puts in at least 3 hours in the gym every day after work. She says the most difficult part of boxing for her was getting hit hard and learning how to take it. "Working with the guys really helps me with my speed and strength. If I can take (their punches) I can handle anything I get in the ring".

She also stays busy at home, raising two children of her own and two step-children.

Monica graduated from High School in Rusk, Texas in 1990 and studied Criminal Justice for 18 months at TJC. Although her mother is skeptical about her chosen sport, her father, a Baptist minister and disabled veteran, strongly supports her and is her biggest fan.

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Page last updated: Sunday, May 30, 2004


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