Three days after Million Dollar Baby star Hilary Swank picked up her Best Actress Oscar, one of the sparring partners who helped Swank get into fighting trim enjoyed a spotlight moment herself. At the Copacabana in Manhattan on March 2, Maureen Shea won her opening bout in the 2005 New York City Golden Gloves. "Hilary's been telling me for weeks, 'This is going to be our year,'" Shea, 24, said after beating Sofia Gegovic by decision. "'We're going to be golden together.'"
As the only fighter in the competition who had been thanked in an Oscar acceptance speech, Shea was the focus of attention. Flashbulbs lit the ring like a red-carpet premiere when the 125-pound Iona senior stepped through the ropes in a wrap fashioned from the flags of Mexico and Ireland, representing her parents' heritage.
Shea lived up to the hype, throwing combinations relentlessly, and was named the card's Boxer of the Night. She's the favorite to win the women's 125-pound final at Madison Square Garden in April. And Swank, who attended Shea's 2004 Gloves bouts, might be there. The actress phoned Shea's trainer from a plane to say she couldn't make it to last week's fight, but, says Shea, "I felt her energy." --Aimee Berg
ANGEL CHEVRESTT/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS (SHEA)
After making Swank look good on film, Shea (left) made Gegovic look bad in the ring.