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Mickey Rourke may have hung up his gloves 20 years ago, but in Moscow Friday night he proved his boxing mettle in an exhibition match where he beat a man more than half his age.
Rourke, 62, who was nominated for a best acting Oscar in 2009 for playing an aging sportsman making a comeback in The Wrestler, took on Elliot Seymour, a former California Golden Gloves champion 33 years his junior.
In a match at Moscow’s downtown Rossia concert hall, the actor — who has been in intensive training in the Russian capital under the guidance of Mike Roach, a former coach for boxers Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya — sent Seymour crashing to the canvas twice in the second round before the referee stopped the match.
Rourke was an amateur boxer before turning to acting and before finding Hollywood fame in Adrian Lyne‘s 1986 erotic thriller Nine 1/2 Weeks. He did not explain why he wanted to get back in the ring, but organizers said that both competitors had been paid handsomely for the bout, though they declined to give precise figures.
Russian television reported that Rourke remarked that boxing had “sort of saved me from myself.” The actor lost more than 33 pounds for the fight, weighing in at 179.2 pounds, the same as Seymour.
Rourke courted controversy earlier this month when he was filmed purchasing a T-shirt in Moscow with an image of Vladimir Putin and told Sky TV he considered the Russian president a “good guy.”
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