Valerie Mahfood

Born: Feb. 1, 1974 in Tyler, Texas

     Valerie Mahfood graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1992 and went directly to Kilgore Correctional Officer Academy where she was the youngest to ever be admitted, and one of only two women out of 300 applications. Upon graduation, she was assigned to Stiles Prison, an all-male maximum security institution.


     Her boxing career began in 1995 after a friend dared her to enter an upcoming local Toughwoman Contest. Mahfood knocked out all her opponents and was invited to the national contest in Detroit where she lost on points.  She had caught the boxing bug, and Junior Olympics boxing gold medalist Sgt. Jimmy Johnson agreed to train her.  He had two provisions, quit drinking alcohol and quit smoking. She did, and won her one official amateur fight by knockout.


     Mahfood's professional career began in 1997 in New Orleans, Louisiana when she KO'd Jeanne Martinez. By September 17, 1999, her record was 5-3.  In Panama City she avenged a previous loss to Kathy Rivers and won two world titles (Women's International Boxing Federation (WIBF) and International Women's Boxing Federation (IBWF) Light Heavyweight) at the same time by TKO'ing Rivers at 0:32 in the 10th round.  It was the first women's title match to be the main event on a Panama City card.


     Later that year in Houston, Texas, "The Big Bad Wolfe" won with a four round unanimous decision in a rematch with Geneva Buckhalter. The Mahfood - Buckhalter fight became the main event for the sellout crowd. In 2001, her record was 10-3 with four KO's and she was named Fighter of the Year by the Women's Boxing Archive Network (WBAN).


     There are only three women's boxing world titles, and Mahfood is the first American woman to hold two of them.

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Museum Address: 700 Procter, Port Arthur, TX 77640

The Museum of the Gulf Coast is administered by the Port Arthur Historical Society in partnership with the City of Port Arthur.  

Hours of Operation:
Monday to Saturday

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Closed Sundays and Holidays



Walk-in Admission
Adults - $8
Senior Citizens (62+) - $6
College Students w/valid ID - $4
Children 4-18 - $3  //  Children 0-3 - FREE

Parking and Entrance on 4th Street

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