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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Year That Was

Maybe this post should have been written three months ago, but since the blog was started about a year ago, perhaps this is as good a time as any for a year in review.

On June 5, Yuri Foreman, the WBA junior middleweight champ, faced Miguel Cotto in the first fight in the new Yankee Stadium. Foreman fought well, the first Jewish boxer defending a world title in three decades (according to the oft-pedaled line), but Cotto was ahead on the scorecards after six rounds. In the seventh, Foreman, who relies on constant lateral movement, tore his ACL and his meniscus. Yet, he gallantly fought on in a stunning display of determination.

In the eighth, Foreman's corner threw in the towel, but referee Arthur Mercante refused to stop the bout. The contest wasn't stopped until Cotto threw a debilitating body shot in the ninth, in the process earning Foreman's title. Foreman has since recovered from the injuries and is back in training. There has been speculation that he could fight Pawel Wolak in March and/or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June.

On April 24, Mariano Plotinsky attempted to become the second Jewish world champion within a five month span when he took on WBO light heavyweight champion Jürgen Brähmer in Germany. Showing grit and courage, Plotinsky was ultimately overmatched, succumbing to Brähmer's pressure in the fifth. Since the fight, Plotinsky has effectively retired from the ring and now continues to train fighters.

Alexander Frenkel won twice this past year, including an honorable mention for knockout of the year against Enzo Maccarinelli in the seventh round of their September 18th bout. The Maccarinelli fight earned Frenkel the EBU European cruiserweight title. He is next scheduled to enter the ring in February.

Dmitriy Salita got back on the winning track this year. He defeated two journeymen with winning records. Salita, who has become his own promoter, hopes to fight in Israel in 2011. He has talked about battling Mike Anchondo or Ricky Hatton, among others.

Ran Nakash fought and won four times this year, including three knockouts. He's looking to face veteran cruiserweight Bobby Gunn in 2011.

And finally, Max Heyman came back after a two and a half year absence from the ring. He went 2-1 in 2010, including avenging a split decision loss against Mike Alderete.

Friday, December 24, 2010

An All-Encompassing Update

Oz Goldenburg lost a lopsided decision in a four round bout against Ideh Ockuko last month. For the bout, which took place at Coram's Field in London, England, Goldenburg weighed in at 134 pounds while his opponent tipped the scales at 143 pounds. The fight was part of a charity event for the Habad Children Aid Society and, according to promoter Robert Waterman, Goldenburg "would have been well within his rights to pull out (due to the weight difference), but he didn't want to let a community charity down." Goldenburg is now 2-1; Ockuko is now also 2-1.

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson is scheduled to fight next on April 2, 2011 at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York. Melson's only professional fight took place at the same venue, a precarious victory that saw him knocked down in the first round and come back to win the four round fight on points.

Hagar Finer (22-7-3, 6 KOs) is expected to be back in action on January 22, 2011 at Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan in Levallois-Perret, France. She will be defending her WIBF bantamweight title against Nadege Szikora (10-1, 4 KOs).

The Klinefelter sisters are scheduled to return to the ring in their familiar stomping grounds of Johnson City, Iowa on February 5, 2011. Emily Klinefelter (9-0, 3 KOs) is penciled in to take on Christina Ruiz (5-3-1, 3 KOs). Katy Klinefelter (7-0, 4 KOs) is also scheduled to fight that night, but does not yet have an opponent.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Look Back: Joe Choynski

In an effort to link the past with the present, The Jewish Boxing Blog will present monthly a short biography of notable former Jewish boxers.

"Chrysanthemum" Joe Choynski is often called the greatest heavyweight never to win a world title. Allen Bodner considers him to be the best Jewish heavyweight of all time and the ninth best Jewish fighter ever. In the outlaw days of boxing, he fought the likes of Jack Johnson, Jim Corbett (who was from the same neighborhood), Bob Fitzsimmons, James J. Jeffries, and Marvin Hart. Many of those fights were stopped prematurely by the police. But despite facing so many men who at one time held the world championship, Choynski never even fought for the belt himself.

Joe Choynski was born on November 8, 1868 in San Francisco, California. He grew up in a middle class household, working in a candy factory before he went into boxing. His father, who was an immigrant from Poland, graduated from Yale and his mother was a writer. Choynski (pronounced coy- EN-skee) began boxing at the age of 16 and turned pro in 1888.

Early in his career, he faced a young Jim Corbett. Their first bout in 1889 was stopped by the police in the fourth round. Corbett KOed Choynski in the 27th round of their second match, which took place a month later. That bout was one of the most brutal in the history of the sport according to ringside observers. It took place on a barge outside of San Francisco in oppressive heat. In 1891, he fought in an exhibition against John L. Sullivan. An 1894 fight with Bob Fitzsimmons was stopped by police in the fifth round. In 1897, Choynski battled James J. Jeffries. Though he gave up five inches and fifty pounds, and was knocked down in the fifth round, Choynski salvaged a draw when the bout was called to a halt after the twentieth round.

Standing only 5'10", Choynski never weighed over 172 pounds for a fight. Yet, he was considered a devastating puncher. Jack Johnson contended, "Choynski could paralyze you even if he didn't catch you flush." In retrospect, his greatest victory was over a young Johnson on February 25, 1901 in Galveston, Texas. Choynski knocked out the future legend in the third round. Much later, Johnson claimed that Choynski was the hardest hitter of the previous fifty years, stating, "I think his left hook was much more effective than Dempsey's or Louis's." Both Choynski and Johnson were arrested after the fight and spent 28 days locked up in prison before making bail.

Choynski retired from the ring in 1904. According to Boxrec.com, "The California Terror" finished with a record of 55-15-5 including 36 KOs (1-3-1 in newspaper decisions), although records from that era are notoriously sketchy. He was elected to the Ring Hall of Fame in 1960 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998. Choyinski died on January 24, 1943 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Bodner, Allen. When Boxing Was A Jewish Sport. 1997.
Century, Douglas. Barney Ross. 2006.
Riess, Stephen A. Sports and the American Jew. 1998.
Somrack, Daniel F. Boxing in San Francisco. 2005.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kedem to Return

Eilon Kedem is scheduled to box on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn, New York. Kedem had been scheduled to fight last Thursday at the Roseland Ballroom on the Salita-Wayka undercard, but did not appear in the ring.

This would be the first fight for Kedem (11-4-4, 7 KOs) since losing a majority decision to Elton Dharry this past April. No opponent has been mentioned as of yet.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Salita-Wayka Post-Fight Interviews

An interview with a focused Dmitriy Salita

An interview with a gracious James Wayka

Friday, December 17, 2010

Salita Scores a Knockout

Dmitriy Salita defeated James Wayka by TKO in the third Thursday night in the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York. The fight was televised on The Jewish Channel. Salita claimed the New York Welterweight title with the victory.

Salita walked to the ring with Matisyahu, who serenaded the fighter with his song King Without a Crown. Wayka, a late replacement for Mike Anchondo who withdrew due to illness, was made to pace the ring as he waited for Salita to enter.

The first round was slow as both combatants took three minutes to feel each other out. The action sped up in the next stanza. After an early headbutt, Salita unintentionally hit Wayka low. That seemed to be the turning point in the bout. Salita knocked Wayka down soon after and once Wayka rose, he was rocked by an overhand right. Just before the round ended, Salita put Wayka down again.

At that point it was clear that Salita threw the straighter punches and possessed the quicker hands. In the third round, Salita continued his effective body punching and overhand rights. After Wayka was felled a fourth and final time, referee David Fields stopped the contest at 1:53 of round three.

Salita advances his record to 32-1-1 and earned his 17th knockout. According to Boxrec.com, Wayka's record tumbled to 16-10-1 with 8 KOs, although his record was introduced as 18-8-1 with 8 KOs at the fight.

Eilon Kedem and Boyd Melson were originally scheduled to fight in separate bouts, but neither made an appearance in the ring.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Salita Weighs In

Dmitriy Salita and James Wayka weighed in for their fight tonight which will take place at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York. Salita weighed in at 147 pounds; Wayka weighed in at 145.25 pounds. The fight is now scheduled for ten rounds.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Anchondo Withdraws

Dmitriy Salita (31-1-1, 16 KOs) was scheduled to face former world champion Mike Anchondo (30-3, 19 KOs) for the vacant IBA welterweight title this Thursday. But Anchondo pulled out of the fight citing illness. Instead, Salita's new scheduled opponent is James Wayka.

Wayka, from Wisconsin, is 16-9-1 with eight knockouts in his nine year career. He has been stopped eight times. He last fought in October of 2009, a first round KO loss to Jesse Lubash. Wayka began his career 11-0, but has gone 5-9-1 since and is winless in his last three bouts. All of his professional losses have come against fighters with a winning record.

The fight is scheduled for 8 rounds in New York's Roseland Ballroom this Thursday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Salita and Anchondo Looking to Rebound

Both Dmitriy Salita and Mike Anchondo have been maligned by the boxing public of late. Salita was knocked out in 76 seconds by Amir Khan a year ago. Anchondo was knocked out by Freddie Hernandez in the fourth round this past September.

On December 16, in the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York, they fight for the vacant IBA welterweight championship. That this fight is for a world championship is one of those cruel jokes that modern boxing tends to play on its followers. Boxing people realize that the winner of the bout cannot claim to be the best in the division. In fact, a win will assuredly not land either in the top ten.

But it remains a potentially intriguing contest between two veterans looking to redirect their careers.

Salita (31-1-1, 16 KOs) was knocked down three times, the first coming ten seconds after the opening bell, against Khan, the WBA junior welterweight champ. He has since won a unanimous decision over journeyman Franklin Gonzalez in September. Against Anchondo, he will have a significant height and reach advantage. Salita, who is trained by Nirmal Lorick, has worked out with Emmanuel Steward for the bout. Steward said of Salita, "I think he can be very good, can make a good comeback, and become champion. He's a very special talent." The fight is in Salita's hometown.

Salita has to be considered the favorite in the fight, but Anchondo, who is trained by Justin Fortune, is confident. He told Thomas Gerbasi, "[Salita's] gonna come in and do the old school style and try to pepper me with as many punches as he can, and that's fine. I'm fast too and we're working on that. You'll just see."

At one point, Anchondo (30-3, 19 KOs) who is a former junior lightweight champion, had a seemingly bright future in boxing. While everyone acknowledges that he is one of the nicest guys in boxing, not many foresee much of a future in the sport for the California resident anymore. At 5'5" he is a tiny welterweight. At 147 pounds, he has not retained the power and speed that he possessed at 130 pounds. He looked overmatched against Hernandez three months ago, a loss that increasingly looks worse. Hernandez was recently victimized by a first round knockout against Andre Berto, the WBC champ and a top five welterweight.

It is easy to dismiss this bout because of the bogusness of the belt. But, in reality, with a win either man would be able to put a recognizable name on the resume and take another step closer towards returning to boxing relevance.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Frenkel to Fight in February

Alexander Frenkel- along with his frightening left hook- is scheduled to defend his European cruiserweight belt on February 26, 2011 at Stechert Arena in Bayern, Germany. Frenkel is coming off an impressive victory over Enzo Maccarinelli this past September.

In the seventh round, Frenkel ducked a Maccarinelli punch and poetically rose to unleash a wondrous left hook. The fight ended soon after. Frenkel earned Maccarinelli's EBU belt in the victory.

Frenkel had hoped to stay busy after the win, and fight in November, but that turned out not to be the case. Frenkel does not yet have an opponent.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saperstein is Still Undefeated

Laura Saperstein advanced to 10-0-1 with two knockouts thanks to a six round decision over Milena Koleva last night in the Doncaster Dome in Doncaster, England. It was the third win in four fights this year for the London-based featherweight who is 39 years old. It was the first time in her career that she has beaten a fighter with a winning record. Koleva, from Bulgaria, fell to 3-1.