Mickey Rourke's first professional boxing match since 1994 has been clouded by controversy amid claims opponent Elliot Seymour was paid to lose in Moscow.
The Daily Mail reported that Seymour was told to throw the fight, allegations he has now supported.
Continue for updates.
Seymour Performs U-turn, Claims Fight Was Fixed
Tuesday, Dec. 16
A little over two weeks since Seymour denied taking a dive in his high-profile bout with Rourke, he has now 'confessed' to being offered money in exchange for a second round defeat. TMZ provides the detail:
Elliot Seymour tells TMZ Sports the deal was he would go down from a body shot in the 2nd round ... and he would get $15,000 -- $10k up front and the rest when he got back to the U.S.
TMZ later reported he has been banned from boxing in New Jersey:
Elliot Seymour -- the boxer who admits throwing his fight against Mickey Rourke -- will be banned from getting in the ring again in New Jersey, and most likely in California too.
Now, boxing officials in Cali and NJ tell us there's no way they would sanction another one of his fights. Commissioner Larry Hazzard Sr. of the NJ State Athletic Control Board says, "He admitted that he took a dive. I would not issue him a license based off that admission."
Seymour Denies Being Paid to Throw Fight
Monday, Dec. 1
TMZ passed along comments from Elliott Seymour after allegations surfaced that he was paid to take a dive vs. Mickey Rourke:
Mickey Rourke's 29-year-old opponent Elliott Seymour is adamant he wasn't paid to take a dive in their big boxing match in Russia this weekend .. telling TMZ Sports Mickey beat him fair and square.
But Seymour -- who returned to L.A. after the Crumble in the Kremlin -- says, "The fight wasn't thrown. I only had one month to train."
Seymour confirmed reports that he's struggling financially and has been living on the streets -- but says he was paid to fight ... not to lose.
Seymour Reportedly Paid To Throw Fight
Sunday, Nov. 30
Hugo Daniel of The Daily Mail reported on Elliot Seymour following his fight with Mickey Rourke:
The fighter who lost a controversial boxing bout with Hollywood star Mickey Rourke is homeless and was ‘paid to throw the fight', MailOnline can exclusively reveal.
Elliot Seymour, the man who lost to Rourke on Friday, is a homeless drifter who trained at the same Hollywood gym Rourke and was paid to fly to Russia to make the actor 'look good’.
In an exclusive interview, a source close to Seymour’s family, said: 'It was clearly a fixed fight. The whole bouncing off the ropes, hands down, punches were not landing and they were intentionally hitting each other’s gloves.
'There are people at Wild Card gym who know that Elliot’s in a really terrible situation and pretty much living on the streets, these are Mickey Rourke’s people who Elliot’s been around and known for some time.
'I’d be surprised if they didn’t know something about his situation but they have decided to put him in the ring against Mickey Rourke.
'I think it was just an ideal situation where Elliot has a title, he’s desperate and clearly his boxing career isn’t going anywhere and he’s pretty much living on the streets, so for him it’s a win because gets off the streets for a while.
'One of the well known boxing reporters writing about the fight said they might as well have got somebody who was sleeping on the subway and it would’ve been a better opponent, well what he doesn’t know is that’s pretty much what happened.'
Rourke Knocks Out Seymour in Exhibition
Friday, Nov. 28
The 62-year-old star of The Wrestler went up against a 29-year-old opponent and knocked him down twice before the referee stopped the fight, according to The Associated Press (via Yahoo).
Per Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, those in attendance weren't quite sure what to do after Rourke improved his professional record to 7-0-2:
Many observers, including ESPN.com's Dan Rafael, viewed the fight as a publicity stunt. The respected boxing journalist was disgusted by the notion of Rourke and his physically compromised opponent going at it:
His opinion didn't exactly change after watching the first round:
Early in the second round, Rourke knocked Seymour down with a body shot. Seymour got up but was back on the mat just seconds later, and the referee called the fight in Rourke's favor.
Deadspin shared footage of the "pro" fight.
Despite the sideshow qualities of this particular bout, it was certainly a successful return to the ring for Rourke. According to Ryan Songalia of Ring Magazine, Rourke's previous fight resulted in the Schenectady, New York, native having to undergo major facial surgery:
Per the AP, Rourke viewed his boxing comeback as an escape from some difficulties in his personal life.
"I've got some things going on in my life so that [boxing has] sort of saved me from myself," Rourke said. "And for a man like me, it's better to live in fear than go on in shame."
According to Fox Sports, Rourke's dedication to boxing resulted in him losing 35 pounds prior to the fight.
While some might maintain that the fight itself was shameful, Rourke can hold his head high knowing that he took care of business regardless of his opponent's quality, or lack thereof. Seymour had a 1-9 professional record coming into the bout against Rourke.
Don't think this will be Rourke's last fight either. According to the AP, Rourke plans to fight four more times in Russia.
Rourke has likely proved something to himself with this win. We'll see if he can maintain this level of success in the rest of his bouts.
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