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5'0" junior flyweight "Mighty" Melissa McMorrow is a Brazilian American who was born on 19 June 1981 in Palo Alto, California. She grew up in San Jose and now lives in San Francisco.  She has always been a top level athlete. She grew up playing soccer and was an All-American in college. She moved on to play semi-pro soccer in both the US and Brazil but the disbanding of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) professional soccer league left her with nothing to strive for in the sport after 18 years.

Melissa began searching for another competitive outlet. Having always been captivated by boxing, she fell in love with it by attending sparring events at King's Gym in Oakland, California. She credits the diverse, prolific, and cosmopolitan Bay Area with the impetus for pursuing a boxing career.

Melissa began boxing in March 2005. In March 2006 she won the 2006 Northern California Golden Gloves Flyweight championship by unanimous decision and on July 15 2006 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida she won the National Golden Gloves Flyweight (50-kg) Championship by RSC-2 over Aileen Viera of Florida.  By the end of 2006 Melissa was ranked third in the nation by USA Boxing.

In March of 2007, Melissa captured the USA Junior Bantamweight championship. She climbed in weight for the tournament due to a lack of opponents in her weight class. In June 2007 she competed in the Junior Flyweight (48 kg) division in the USA Nationals in Colorado Springs. but lost in the final 23-22 to national champion Marlen Esparza of Texas. The silver medal earned her a second place ranking for 2007 by USA Boxing which she retained until the end of her amateur career. At the 2008 National Championships she won by a walkover over Amber Goodwin in the 48-kg semifinal but again lost to Marlen Esparza in the final, this time by a 26-7 margin.  

Melissa made her pro debut on June 25 2008 at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California. She weighed in at 106½ lbs against Mayela Perez (106 lbs) of Saltillo, Mexico, a much more experienced pro fighter. Melissa won an action packed four-round match by a clear 40-36,39-37,39-37 unanimous decision, dropping the veteran's record to 7-9-1 (6 KO's).

On November 20, 2008, Melissa (106 lbs) fought at the "Fight Night at the Tank" series at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. Her opponent was Gloria Salas (103¾ lbs) of Desrt Springs, California who was making her own pro debut. Melissa won an exciting unanimous 40-36,40-35,38-37 decision over Gloria. .

On May 7 2009 Melissa was again scheduled to fight a four rounder at Fight Night at the Tank but with no opponent contracted for the fight, Melissa took a last minute match-up with former world champion Jolene Blackshear (105½ lbs), who was making her comeback after a nine-year absence. 

Jolene Blackshear (R) vs Melissa McMorrow in May 2009
© Copyrighted photo by Jesus Sanchez

The two boxers did not disappoint the fans, and went toe to toe with each other.  Blackshear dropped McMorrow three times in the second round and kept up the pace with her devastating straight right hand. McMorrow displayed great resilience by fighting back well after the three-knockdown round, however, and the rest of the fight was almost even. Blackshear had been deducted a point for hitting McMorrow after the younger fighter was down in the second but a shocker came at the end when the four-rounder was declared a majority draw.  It was later realized that a scoring tabulation error had been made and the correct tally was a majority decision (37-36, 37-36,36-36) for Blackshear who improved her pro record to 5-2-0 (2 KO's).  (For more photos of this fight  see Photo Gallery #501 on the WBAN Records Member Site).

On May 14, 2009, wanting vindication for her narrow loss, Melissa (107 lbs) took another last minute fight against another veteran, Suszannah Warner (106½ lbs) of New York City, this time for the NAIOP championship belt in a night of championship action at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, Califoirnia. The six round match started slow for McMorrow. McMorrow, the much shorter of the two, found her way inside after the second round and worked tirelessly for a split decision (58-56,58-56,57-57) win. Warner's record fell to 8-8-1 (2 KO's) with the loss.

QUintana vs McMorrowOn June 4, 2009 at the Four Points Sheraton in San Diego, California, Melissa (108 lbs) fought to an action-packed four-round majority draw with Amaris Quintana (107 lbs) of La Mesa, California.  The fighters traded evenly on their way to a standoff in the scorecards at 37-39 Quintana, 38-38 and 38-38.  Quintana moved her record to 1-0-1. 

On December 4, 2009 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Melissa (106 lbs) fought to a majority draw in a rematch with Glora Salas (103 lbs), who se record was then 1-3-1 (1 KO).

On April 8, 2010 at the Four Points Sheraton in San Diego, Melissa (105 lbs) fought to a six-round split (55-59,57-57,58-56) draw in a rematch with Amaris Quintana despite delivering strong blows that left Quintana with one eye swollen shut. Quintana's record was then 2-0-2 (0 KO's). [Video]

On May 13, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine, California, Melissa (106½ lbs) won a six-round unanimous (59-55,59-55,58-56) decision over Gloria Salas (106½ lbs) in defense of her NAIOP championship belt. Salas fell to 2-4-1 (1 KO).

McLeod Wells vs McMorrow

On February 9, 2011 at the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in New York City, Keisher McLeod-Wells (107½ lbs) of New York won a six-round unanimous (58-55,57-56,57-56) decision over Melissa (108 lbs). Former Golden Gloves champion McLeod-Wells used her jab to keep McMorrow at bay while Melissa tried to work under it to land punches from the inside. As described on WBAN by Bernie McCoy: "McMorrow was the aggressor from the first minute of the bout, employing a walk-in, straight ahead style that contrasted markedly with McLeod-Wells' stick and move tactics and gained McMorrow an edge in the first two rounds as McLeod-Wells had some difficulty locating her left jab, allowing the shorter fighter to work effectively inside. In the third round McLeod-Wells began to find the range with her long left and her side/side movement permitted more time in the middle of the ring, an effective tactic against the ever aggressive McMorrow. Rounds four and five, both closely contested, saw McLeod-Wells maintain a very slight edge in each stanza, with her fluid movement and long range jabs and left hooks. McMorrow, continually in a low crouch, minimizing the target for the taller boxer, continued launching bell/bell left and right hooks at her opponent.
The final round, while similar in style to the previous five, proved critical to the decision, when referee, Arthur Mercante, one of the best arbiters in the sport, awarded a knockdown to McLeod-Wells when McMorrow, coming out of a clinch, seemed to touch the canvas with her knee, after an inclose exchange of punches. McMorrow closed the bout with furious attacks, attempting to overcome the knockdown."
 McLeod-Wells advanced her pro record to 4-1-0 (1 KO) with the win,

On June 24, 2011 at Cordon Bleu in Woodhaven, New York, Melissa (111 lbs) won the vacant New York State Flyweight title with an eight-round split (74-78,79-73,78-74) decision over WIBA Flyweight champion Eileen Olszewski (110½ lbs) of New York. It was a close fight with McMorrow bobbing and weaving her way inside to work Olszewski's body at close quarters while Olszewski tried to control the action from the outside  Olszewski fell to 7-3-2 (0 LO's).

McMorrow vs McLeod Wells rematch

On July 30, 2011 at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York, Melissa (111 lbs) won an eight-round split (78-74,75-77,78-74) decision over Keisher McLeod-Wells (109 lbs) defending the New York State flyweight title, dropping Mcleod-Wells's record to 4-2 -0 (1 KO).  Marc Abrams described the fight for 15rounds.com: "McMorrow showed the same determination she showed in her title winning effort when she defeated Eileen Olszewski a month ago in Queens. McMorrow bobbed and weaved her way inside very effectively through and under jabs and right hands of McLeod-Wells. In the middle rounds McLeod-Wells landed a few nicely timed uppercuts while McMorrow tried to get inside and even made McMorrow take a step backwards for the first time in the fight. That didn't last long as McMorrow had the fighting spirit and was undaunted by continuing to get inside and land combinations to any area that McLeod-Wells left unblocked. It was a a crowd pleasing and close fight that saw McMorrow get the verdict by scores of 78-74 on two cards while McLeod-Wells took a card at 77-75."

McLeod-Wells later told WBAN: "We are now 1-1 with one another and the final re-match is in negotiation now."

Mucino vs McMorrow
Mucino vs McMorrow in February 2012

On February 25, 2012 at Coliseo Olimpico in Guadalajara, Mexico, Arely Muciño of Monterrey, Mexico won a hard-fought split decision (97-93,98-92,93-97) over Melissa for the WBA Interim World Flyweight title. Muciño started the fight in her usual aggressive style but soon discovered that McMorrow was not to be intimidated. Much of the fight then took place with Muciño uncharacteristically counterpunching while McMorrow came forward trying to corral her against the ropes. Mucino's defense was tested hard by McMorrow's relentless aggression but she used her hand speed and punching accuracy from a variety of angles to keep the fight close on the scorecards.  Most of the rounds were closely contested and there were no knockdowns or injuries, resulting in a badly split verdict among the the judges and much talk about the need for a rematch that would certainly be popular with fight fans after this barn burner.  Muciño improved to 15-1-1 (8 KO's) while McMorrow slipped to 6-3-3 (0 KO's). [Video]

Kentikian vs McMorrow taken by Klaus Frevert
Kentikian vs McMorrow in May 2012
© copyrighted photo by
Klaus Frevert / boxfotograf.de

On May 16, 2012 at the Brandenburg Halle in Frankfurt, Germany, Melissa (111¼ lbs) won a ten-round majority (95-95,96-94,96-94) decision over previously undefeated local favorite Susianna Kentikian (112 lbs) for the WBA, WBO and WIBF Flyweight titles. McMorrow won the opening rounds with her consistent attack and relentless combination punching, then held off a determined comeback by an increasingly aggressive Kentikian, who said in a post-fight interview: "I am very very sad. Melissa was a lot of pressure. I did not think that I laid back. I want a rematch." 

On October 10, 2012 at the Civic Center in Kissimmee, Florida, USA, Melissa (110¾ lbs) TKO'd Yahaira Martinez (111¾ lbs) of Aguillada, Puerto Rico at 1:29 in the ninth round of a scheduled ten defending the WBO Flyweight title.  Martinez fell to 7-4-0 (4 KO's) with the loss.

On March 23, 2013 at GETEC Arena in Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, Melissa (110¾ lbs) won a hard fought ten-round split (99-91,96-94,94-96) decision over Nadia Raoui (109¾ lbs) of Essen, Germany defending the WBO and WIBF Flyweight titles,  As described by Ryan Songalia for The Ring: "McMorrow came out aggressively as usual, working the midsection of Raoui. Raoui took advantage of McMorrow's eagerness with counter uppercuts, but was met by a flush McMorrow right cross to punctuate the first round. McMorrow found success upstairs at well to the head, particularly in round four as her Joe Frazier-like bobbing and weaving opened up opportunities for her overhand right. Raoui, whose lone previous defeat came via a split decision to Kentikian in 2010, landed good right hand counters in round five but, without significant power, they failed to halt the momentum of the incumbent champion. McMorrow continued to press the action for the remainder of the ten-round bout."  McMorrow, who scarcely took a backward step during the entire fight, improved her record to 9-3-3 (1 KO) while Raoui fell to 5-2-1 (13 KO's).

On February 22 2014 at Gimnasio Miguel Hidalgo in Puebla, Mexico, Melissa (112¼ lbs) lost a hard fought ten-round unanimous (94-96 x 3) decision to Mariana Juarez (114¾ lbs) of Mexico City for the WBC International Junior Bantamweight title. Melissa's record fell to 9-4-3 (1 KO) while Juarez improved to 39-7-3 (16 KO's)

Melissa trains six days a week at Eddie Croft's B Street Boxing Gym in San Mateo, California. Melissa is a very self demanding and persevering athlete. She is a strong, hard hitting, high activity, and relentless fighter. Her endurance, mental strength, confidence, and dexterity are powerful assets to her boxing skills.

Outside of boxing, Melissa works full time for SolarCity, a growing company in the alternative energy sector focused on solar panel installation, where she manages commercial projects and is pursuing an architecture license. She has an architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon University, a prestigious school whose architecture department stresses sustainable building and building applications. Melissa is extremely dedicated to creating a better world through sustainable buildings, alternative energy, and other environmentally friendly practices. 

Melissa McMorrow with WBO and WIBF belts

McMorrow with title belts in May 2012
© copyrighted photo by Klaus Frevert boxfotograf.de

Melissa strives for excellence in everything she does - which has earned her the nickname of “Mighty”. She hopes to send the message to everyone, especially women, that you can indeed make dreams a reality. Melissa is especially dedicated to this cause and hopes to inspire people to dream big through her boxing.

Melissa also works with various non-profits to help promote education for women and children so they can have a good basis to fulfill their own dreams.

Other Melissa McMorrow links

Page last updated: Saturday, April 12, 2014


WBAN Boxer Bio by Dee Williams


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