Born: Feb. 1, 1974 Groves, Texas
Valerie Mahfood graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1992. She enrolled in the Kilgore Correctional Officer Academy, where she was the youngest ever to be admitted and one of only two women out of 300 applications. She was assigned to Stiles Prison, an all-male maximum-security institution, upon graduation.
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. Having caught the boxing bug, she sought out Junior Olympics boxing gold medalist Sgt. Jimmy Johnson. He agreed to train her if she would quit drinking alcohol and smoking. She did and won her first and only amateur fight by knockout.
In 1997 Valerie fought her first professional bout in New Orleans, Louisiana, capturing a win when she knocked out Jeanne Martinez. By September 17, 1999, her record was 5-3. In Panama City, Panama Mahfood avenged a previous loss to Kathy Rivers and won the Women's International Boxing Federation Light Heavyweight title, forcing a stoppage with a technical knockout 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.
She won three non-title bouts after that, and then, on August 10, 2000, she went down in weight to the Super Middleweight division to fight Mary Ann Almager for the vacant IWBF title. She won her second title, with a fifth-round knockout of Almager in Houston. With her next fight and win, she became the first and only boxer to defeat Ann Wolfe, knocking her out in three rounds.
Later that year in Houston, Texas, "The Big Bad Wolfe" won a four-round unanimous decision in a rematch with Geneva Buckhalter. The Mahfood - Buckhalter fight was the main event for the sellout crowd. In 2001, with a record of 10-3 (four KO's), she was named Fighter of the Year by the Women's Boxing Archive Network (WBAN).
Mahfood and Laila Ali (the daughter of Muhammid Ali) met in a long-awaited bout on November 8, 2002, in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was ESPN 2 Friday night fights series most-viewed telecast, and it was the first time a female world title fight was the main event on ESPN. Ali stopped a bloodied Mahfood in eight rounds in a fight that unified the IWBF and WIBA world titles. On June 21, 2003, Mahfood and Ali had a rematch in the Los Angeles Staple Center on the undercard of the Lennox Lewis vs. Vitali Klitschko World Heavyweight Title. Mahfood lost by TKO in six.
Mahfood is known for fighting with a purple mohawk and now resides in Groves, Texas. There are only three women's boxing world titles, and Mahfood is the first American woman to hold two of them. Mahfood has a record of 19 wins, 14 losses, and 1 draw, with nine knockout wins. She was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Sports Hall of Fame, in August of 2001.