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27 December 2019 Audrey Hepburn vs Moira Shearer

Page history last edited by caspian2 2 years, 12 months ago




Posted by Lookout! Boxing on Dec 27, 2019 at 5:33pm


Audrey Hepburn vs Moira Shearer (Retro Bout)




Audrey: 22, 5’7 (1.70 m)

Moira: 25, 5’5 (1.65 m)

Results: Lookout Writing: Archer

Before: USA Celebrity Boxing scholars have always been eager to learn more about the history celebrity boxing outside North America.

“We always knew they had fighters,” wrote that eminent celeb boxing scholar K.O. Kapowki, “Greta Garbo didn’t suddenly learn how to box when she got to Hollywood. Same went for the likes of Hedy Lemar and plenty of others. You would hear rumors of fights. Sometimes actual fight reports, but seeing something on film was rare as finding a Theda Bara fight from the Silent Era. Then a collector over in the UK put me onto this one—from Christmas holidays of 1951. The story goes a group of Brit film people wanted Moira Shearer in a fight. Moira had made it big in 1948 with a ballet pictures called THE RED SHOES. She never did a lot of movies but she had another out in 1951 called TALES OF HOFFMANN so maybe that’s why she wanted to promote it. So at one of those British country houses she met an up and coming former dancer turned actress named Audrey Hepburn. This was before Audrey hit it big in 1953’s ROMAN SPRING, but she had a bunch of small roles in 1951 and was a rising talent. She also had a talent for boxing. She seemed like a good opponent for Moira. Moira, at this time, was 25 and 5’5. She had gorgeous red hair. Audrey was younger, 22 at the time and 5’7. I figure Moira’s experience factor was considered to outweigh the height differential. Anyway, if you ever see the film (and it was in color, no less, somebody must have paid big bucks to get this down on film) you’ll be glad you did.”

Since that time, the color print of this fight as been highly sought after and we are fortunate that the FCBA Library was at last able to obtain a copy thanks to a generous benefactor.

The film shows Moira in a red with white trim leotard and wearing (of course) red boxing slippers. Her red hair is in a ponytail. Audrey was in a green with gold trim leotard. Her hair was in a ponytail with a green bow. Green boxing slippers and gloves for Audrey (gold laces). Red gloves with white laces for Moira. Limited narration with the film (rounds announced along with point winner of each round), but crowd (all well dressed gentlemen and ladies indicating this was indeed a VIP audience) can be heard cheering on the action. A tuxedoed announcer introduces the referee and then the fighters. Moira looks charming and confident. Audrey seems quite young and trying to hide her nervousness at being in such an unusual venue. Audrey and Moira seen chatting amiably before fight, but become serious when the referee starts his instructions. Soon enough they tap gloves and go to their corners.

“Round One,” the narrator says quietly.

Moira immediately puts pressure on the younger Audrey. Quick jabs to face to confuse the youngster and fast hooks to the midsection to rattle her. Moira doing a nice job of putting Audrey on the defensive and keeping her there. Audrey trying to jab back, but Moira’s got that dancer’s easy footwork and she’s hard for the rookie to land effectively. Audrey under pressure as Moira starts working her to the ropes, but Audrey managing to keep away from the strands. Audrey still struggling to properly deploy her jab and gets her jaw smacked but quick blows from Moira. Audrey’s legs stay firm and she does show some sharp counters at the very end of the round.

“Round wide to Miss Shearer,” the narrator says.

“Round Two.”

Audrey makes a determined counterattack in this round. Moira has come at Audrey clearly expecting to resume her control, but Audrey strikes with a hard right to the jaw and a left to the chin. Moira reels back as Audrey now advances with crisscrossing rights and lefts to the body that slash away at Moira to the ribs. Then Audrey goes to the stomach with hooks. Moira pulling away and trying to hold Audrey off. Audrey not reckless as she moves forward and shows she knows where to put a good punch. Moira finally able to get her jab going and bring Audrey’s attack to a halt. Audrey not pressing against Moira’s stronger defenses, instead circling and trying to keep the red-head off balance with surprise punches from unexpected angles. Bell sounds.

“Round wide to Miss Hepburn.”

“Round Three.”

Moira Shearer showing respect as she and Audrey Hepburn circle each other at mid-ring, Moira cautious, looking for the right opportunity to strike but Audrey not giving her the chance. Audrey moves forward attacking Moira to the flanks, driving hard rights and lefts into Moira’s side ribs. Moira hooks Audrey to the midsection, but then Audrey strikes with a strong right to the chin and then a left to the chin. Moira looking wobbly as she falls back. Audrey now driving rights and lefts into the red-head’s body as she works her to the ropes. Moira sliding along the ropes, trying to hold Audrey off, but taking rights to the side of the head as it looks like Audrey’s trying to take her down. Moira able to stay up, but looks much the worse for wear at the bell.

“Round wide to Miss Hepburn.”

“Round Four”

Moira Shearer’s been roughed up two straight rounds by a little-known rookie and she doesn’t look happy about it during break. Moira comes out at the bell with much more aggression and she catches Audrey with a bell-ringer right to the jaw early on in the new round. Audrey goes rubbery-legged from the right and Moira goes after her with some very hard shelling punches that bust up Audrey’s face. Audrey covering up and trying to counter, but Moira is going all-in as she fires in waves of punches to the head and then down to the body. Audrey looking swamped trying to cope with all the incoming and repeated blows to jaw and chin shake her up with each new impact. Audrey finally pushes against the ropes and she puts her face in gloves and tries to turn away as Moira works her over with all the power she can muster. Audrey is sagging under the pressure, but she still stays up to the bell. Moira steps back, blows a stray tendril of red hair away from her mouth and nods with satisfaction before returning to her corner. Audrey not looking good as she peels herself off the ropes, but she still has a determined look on her face as she walks stiffly back to her own corner.

“Round to Miss Shearer--wide.”

“Round Five.”

Audrey Hepburn responds to the beating she endured in R4 by going fearlessly right at Moira Shearer and launching slashing rights and lefts at her head. These first punches do land effectively and Moira is shaken. However, the red-head only retreats a few steps before fighting back with her jab. Audrey now getting hit to the face, but she keeps pressing forward. Now the two fights are banging away at each other to the body. Piston-like arms moving in an out as they bring fresh punches slamming into straining bodies as Audrey and Moira blaze away at each other. Punch rates are very close most of the way, but then Moira steps back and drives a right into the point of Audrey’s chin. Audrey recoils and Moira strikes at her again to the head. Audrey counters with a right to Moira’s chin, but Moira isn’t halted. Audrey backing up, fighting stubbornly with the jab as Moira continues to press. Bell ends the round with both fighters looking winded and perspiring.

“Round to Miss Shearer—close.”

“Round Six.”

Both Audrey and Moira are out of their corners quick, clearly eager to resume the battle. Moira going for the body with her first punches. Audrey takes the punches and replies with a right to the chin that puts Moira on her heels, Then Audrey swiftly pours right and lefts punches into Moira’s chin. Moira stumbling back and Audrey then puts the right cross/left hook combination between Moira’s eyes. Moira lifted off her feet, her red slippers go flying and crashes hard to the canvas. Audrey walks coolly to the neutral corner as the referee commences to count. Moira struggling to rise on her elbows, but they give way and she is left sprawling on the canvas as the counting goes on above her:

“NINE!...TEN!...OUT!” the referee can be heard to declare.

“The winner is Miss Hepburn by Knockout in Round Six,” intones the remarkably calm voice of the narrator. Remarkable because the crowd is showing great excitement and loudly cheering the upset winner.

Audrey herself goes over to check on the fallen Moira and helps her to her feet. A ring attendant returns the red slippers to Moira, but she gives them to Audrey who bursts into tears and they hug. The crowd can be heard warmly applauding this.

The film ends at this point. K.O Kapowski notes that Moira Shearer did continue her boxing, though not many of these often private fights have surfaced. She’s said to have to have several bouts with the American dancer Cyd Charisse and French actress/dancer Leslie Caron, but not much is known about them.

And Audrey Hepburn, of course, went on to a notable celebrity boing career both in Europe and the USA. We are fortunate to have been able to view this fight which must be judged as an important one in her overall career.




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