Retired NYPD detective Bob Duffy has been involved in boxing for much of his adult life. After serving as the director of boxing for the New York State Athletic Commission for many years, he and Tony Mazzarella, the owner of the Waterfront Crab House in Long Island City, Queens, formed Ring Promotions in 2000.
(The Crab House, which is home to the Ring 8, Veteran Boxers Association, hosts that organization’s monthly meetings).
Recently the two have been making quite an impression on the local boxing scene by promoting shows throughout the New York metropolitan area. Of their three most recent three, two were at Monticello Raceway and the other was at the Huntington Town House on Long Island, all been sellouts.
Their next show is scheduled for Friday, February 10, at Iona College in New Rochelle, which is located just north of the Bronx in Westchester County.
The very competitive main event features junior middleweight prospects Maximo Cuevas, 6-2-1 (2 KOs) vs. Allen Conyers, 8-1 (6 KOs). In the co-feature, junior welterweight Ann Marie Saccurato of the Bronx, 10-1-2 (5 KOs) engages in a ten-rounder against Victoria Cisneros, who is 3-2-2.
“Both of these bouts are very strong,” said Duffy. “So far there has been a lot of positive feedback for the show. We expect a very lively crowd.”
One of the reasons for that expectation is the presence of 25-year-old lightweight Maureen “Moe” Shea, an English major at Iona who is best known right now for being Hilary Swank’s primary sparring partner when she prepared for her Academy Award winning role as boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in “Million Dollar Baby.”
Shea, 3-0 (2 KOs), is trained by the esteemed Hector Roca, who also received wide praise for training Swank. She will mix it up on Friday against debuting Salena Hayden in a four round special attraction.
As much as Shea, the daughter of an NYPD detective who is of Mexican and Irish descent, enjoyed the limelight she garnered from her work with Swank, she is now determined to carve out her own legacy in the sweet science. The amount and intensity of work she puts forth daily at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn is nothing short of astounding.
“I work much too hard to be best known for being someone else’s sparring partner,” she said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Hilary as an actress, a person, and an athlete, but right now I need to concentrate on my career.”
It is apparent that boxing is more than a means to an end for Shea. She is the first to admit that it has given her the much-needed sense of focus and purpose that was missing in her life prior to her first lacing up the gloves five years ago.
According to her website, “Maureen initially pursued boxing as a means to channel her energy away from the tremendous difficulties in her personal life.”
From all indications it has worked and Shea has never looked back. As an amateur she won no shortage of accolades and was ranked as high as seventh in the nation at 125 pounds. Between her own ring accomplishments and her work with Swank, she created quite a legacy for herself.
Among the excerpted accolades that have been written about her are:
The New York Times: “The TV cameras and celebrity magazines love a hard luck story, but they love a pretty face even more.”
Star Sports: Shea, a college student has become world renowned for her role as Oscar winner Hilary Swank’s chief sparring partner under the tutelage of Hector Roca, both of whom Swank thanked pointedly.”
Reporting on a Golden Gloves bout, the New York Daily News wrote: “[She] came at her foe from every angle and hit her with every punch in the book.”
With her own movie star good looks, intelligent, articulate and thoughtful persona, and supreme skills in the ring, there is no question that Shea is a star in the making. Her fight on Friday will be just the next stop in what should be a tremendous career that will probably not just end with a boxing belt around her streamlined waist.
It is easy to see her making strides in whatever other avenues she chooses as well.
Regardless of what happens, there is little chance that the emotionally grounded Shea’s head will get too big for her shoulders. In addressing her fans on her website, she writes, “I will always stay true to myself and to my fans and fight every fight to my fullest ability. I will always leave my heart in the ring.
“Although this journey may have just begun, I am glad that I have such wonderful people to walk alongside me. Some of you may know me personally and some of you may not. But you will see what I am truly about in time.”
Also scheduled to appear on Friday’s show are super featherweights Pasquale Rouse vs. Juan Carlos Santiago; junior welterweights Wes Hobbs vs. Ron Lewis and Deon Nash vs. Eduardo Torres; heavyweights Darnell Peacock vs. Victor James; and middleweights Richard Pearson vs. Awardo Ortiz.
Tickets range from $30 to $100. Iona students with identification can purchase tickets at a special $20 rate. Tickets can be purchased at Souler Gym, which is located at 170 East Post Road in White Plains, phone 914-946-3500 or by also calling 914-235-2325 or 516-313-2304.
Doors open at 6 P.M. The fists start flying at 7:30 P.M.
Maureen Shea’s website is www.sheaboxing.com.