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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back: Bruce Strauss

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

Bruce "The Mouse" Strauss was never a world champion. "I never aspired to be a world champion or even a contender for that matter. I just wanted to be an opponent. See the world, make some money, and have a good time," he once said. Strauss will be remembered as one of the all time characters in the sport of boxing.

Born on February 6, 1952, Bruce Strauss grew up in New Milford, New Jersey. He earned a wrestling scholarship to the University of Nebraska, but dropped out of school following his sophomore year. He then became a truck driver for Allied Van Lines.

The origin myth of Strauss's boxing career is that one June evening in 1976, an inebriated Strauss filled in for a boxer who had cancelled at the last minute and Bruce actually won his first pro bout without any experience. Incidentally, Strauss fought in Kansas the next night and won that one too.

In reality, Strauss had 15 amateur fights and won silver at the Maccabiah Games. Tired of getting hit in the head without pay, Strauss turned professional. His dream was to be a professional opponent; the guy who takes on the hometown fighter. He knew he lacked experience, so he traveled the country collecting losses under fake names while he learned how to fight a bit. "In order to even get to be an opponent, you have to start out with a good record," Strauss explained. "If I had had a 2-30 record I could never have become an opponent. It wasn't until I was good enough to win preliminary fights that I started fighting under my own name."

Strauss has won plenty of fights under his own name, but he's far more famous for his numerous losses. The Mouse has bragged that he's been knocked out on every continent except for Antarctica, forgoing that continent because he doesn't like the cold. He fought over 200 times, was knocked out three times in one week, and twice in a night. After being knocked out in a preliminary bout, Strauss begged the promoter to let him replace a last-minute cancellation in the main event. Strauss fought under a pseudonym and was stopped in the third round.

Strauss perfected a formula to make a nice living as an opponent. "I have a little bit of a trick. I punch as hard as I can for as long as I can." Strauss contends that his opponents would pace themselves for ten rounds while Strauss had enough to go about three. After three rounds, Strauss says, "I run out of gas and look for a soft spot on the canvas." Not a mere punchline, the Mouse would actually investigate the ring before the evening's fights commenced looking for that elusive soft spot. Strauss had another shrewd ploy. "I don't train... If I train, I'm going to be in shape to go more rounds. If I go more rounds, I'm going to have to sustain more punishment," he said tongue-in-cheek.

The Mouse is a great storyteller and has the quick wit of a man who has been knocked unconscious only half as much. He was knocked out by contender Bobby Czyz in 1980 on a televised card. He fought the next night and, as he was making his way to the ring, someone in the crowd yelled out, "Is that the bum I saw get knocked out last night on TV?" Bruce shouted his response, "No, that was the Moose. I'm the Mouse!"

At about 5'6", Strauss was a natural 154 pounder, but to get more fights, he fought in many different weight classes. Whenever he fought someone larger, he utilized a pair of trick pants and hid weights in them to help him reach the minimum weight. During one weigh in, Strauss waited in vain for his opponent to arrive. It was only later that Strauss realized the opponent's name was one of his own pseudonyms.

During a 1981 bout against Jimmy Baker, Strauss perched himself in one spot on the ropes over commentator Al Bernstein for the entire six rounds. He won a decision victory. Bernstein later asked Strauss about his motivation for staying on the ropes the entire fight. Bruce answered back, "To be honest, I didn't want to miss any of your commentary. I could hear it from that spot."

Among the many aliases Bruce used were the names of people he disliked. He'd fight under their name, get knocked out, and mail the despised person the newspaper clipping.

Things often got rough for the Mouse in the ring. During one bout, a hometown referee blatantly favored Bruce's opponent to the point where he would dig his nails into Strauss's chest when breaking the two fighters. The ref drew blood with the maneuver. Strauss knew under the circumstances that he had to go for the knockout. He loaded up with a big right and landed the punch.. The unconscious referee hadn't seen the punch coming.

During a fight against a prolific middleweight in Africa, Strauss dropped to a knee in order to take an eight count and recover from some punishment he had just received. "While I was on one knee," Strauss explains, "he pushes the referee away, winds up, and the last thing I remember thinking was: This is really gonna hurt." He woke up a half hour later in the locker room.

Despite his notoriety and constant travel, things were rough out of the ring too. He often hitchhiked to fights and would sleep on park benches or in homeless shelters to save some money.

Not everyone found Strauss's antics amusing. In a congressional hearing edited by Senator John McCain, sportswriter Jim Brady argued, "Bruce Strauss profanes the prize ring. He is a diver." Strauss has claimed on many occasions that he never took a dive. "If I could beat a guy, then his manager and promoter should know about it. Then they can stop putting money into him as a prospect."

But, Bruce admitted, "I don't go down from a shitty punch. I go down from the right punch. If the crowd buys it, I stay down. If the crowd doesn't buy it, I get up and keep fighting. I never disappoint a crowd. They never boo when I lose."

Based in Omaha, Nebraska, Strauss earned a record of 77-53-6 with 55 KOs under his own name. His overall record- regardless of the name he used- is unknown. Strauss gave up the sport of boxing in 1989 when boxing commissions turned to computerized methods of keeping track of fighters. A movie called The Mouse based on  Bruce's life was released to mixed reviews in the mid 1990s.


Bibliography
Bernstein, Al. 30 Years, 30 Undeniable Truths about Boxing, Sports, and TV. 2013.
Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Late Night with David Letterman. 1986.
United States Senate. "Oversight of the Professional Boxing Industry: hearing before the Committee on Commerce , Science, and Transportation." 1997.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Michael Brooks vs. Karl Dargan

November 16, 2013
Turning Stone Resort and Casino
Verona, New York



Brooks: camouflage trunks, yellow trim
Dargan: black trunks, gold trim

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Danny Ahrens vs. Duane Green

November 18, 2013
Park Plaza Hotel
London, England



Ahrens: black trunks, white trim
Green: black trunks, green trim

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ahrens Moves to 5-0

Danny Ahrens remained undefeated with a points victory over Duane Green last month. The fight took place at Park Plaza Hotel in London, England.

Ahrens started the first round by landing his jab before adding combinations. He was on the attack early as the crowd chanted his name. Reports claim that Ahrens hurt his right hand in the first round, but he continued to use that hand throughout the bout.

Ahrens, a 20 year old from Tel Aviv, won the second round on the strength of his body punching. Green hit Ahrens with a solid low blow in that round and it clearly took something out of Ahrens. Danny spent too much of the third round with his back to the ropes. Green was still not very accurate even with Ahrens in such a vulnerable state. Ahrens boxed effectively in the fourth.

Referee Robert Williams scored the bout 40-37 in favor of Ahrens. In Britain, only the referee scores non-title fights.

The impressive thing about Ahrens is he improves every fight. His punches were straighter, his aggression was more controlled and effective, and he was off balance less compared to previous outings. But Ahrens has an annoying habit of switching to southpaw with limited results. In the first round, when Ahrens turned lefty, it allowed Green to have his only success of the round. When Ahrens did land with overhand lefts, they had far less steam that his punches have from the orthodox stance.

After the fight, Ahrens improved to 5-0 with one KO and Green moved to 1-4-1 with zero KOs.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tony Milch vs. Bheki Moyo

September 27, 2013
Camden Centre
London, England



Milch: white trunks
Moyo: gold trunks, black trim

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Carolina Duer vs. Estrella Valverde

December 13, 2013
Polideportivo Municipal La Patriada
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Duer Defends Bantamweight Title

Carolina Duer defended her WBO bantamweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over Estrella Valverde at Polideportivo Municipal La Patriada in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Duer outboxed Valverde throughout the fight.

During the first two rounds, both Duer and Valverde both were content to counter, making for a slow fight. Valverde was rarely on the attack throughout. Duer found her rhythm in the third round and boxed in and out beautifully. She was taller than her opponent and her hands were faster.

Valverde's right hand was quite competent and she landed it against Duer's face numerous times. But her left hook was a wide slapping punch and she virtually never jabbed. She showed good upperbody movement and controlled the middle of the ring. But Duer simply was too swift of foot for Valverde.

In the third round, Duer was spun around after a clinch and her back was turned to Valverde. Valverde unleashed three punches to the back of Duer's head and lost a point for the effort. She immediately felt contrition and touched Duer's glove after the offense. In the eighth, Valverde lost a point for casting her head toward Duer as Estrella rushed in. In the tenth, Duer landed a right and then subtly pushed Valverde to the ground. Valverde vehemently argued against the knockdown call.

Duer, who switched southpaw on occasion with limited success, dictated the pace of the fight. In the ninth round, Valverde became frustrated that Duer took the round off and motioned for Duer to fight. But by the tenth, Valverde was tired and her punches seemed slow. Duer was clearly in better condition and coasted to the victory.

The judges' scores were 97-90, 99-88, and 96-91. Duer improves her record to 16-3-1 with 5 KOs. Valverde is now 7-4-1 with one KO.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Duer to Defend Title on Friday

Carolina Duer, the WBO bantamweight champion, is slated to defend her title against Estrella Valverde on Friday at Polideportivo Municipal La Patriada in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Duer is coming off a decision victory over Mayra Alejandra Gomez in July.

Duer (15-3-1, 5 KOs) is 13-0-1 in her last 14 fights, all of which have taken place in her home country of Argentina. This is her first defense of the WBO bantamweight crown.

Valverde (7-3-1, 1 KO) is from Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl Mexico. She won her last fight, but the three before that were less successful. All three were against undefeated fighters and Valverde came away with two losses and one draw.

Duer and Valverde have a common opponent. Duer fought to a draw against Sabrina Maribel Perez by unanimous decision in May while Valverde lost by unanimous decision to Perez in May of 2012.

The title bout is scheduled for ten two-minute rounds.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Melson Outboxes King

Boyd Melson outboxed Gundrick King to win a unanimous decision at BB King Blues Club. Melson's hand speed and accuracy were impressive in the win.

Melson controlled every round. Midway through, the fight had to be stopped due to a ring malfunction, but when the fight resumed, Melson continued to dominate. He won with three scores of 80-72. Melson climbs to 13-1 with 4 KOs while King falls to 18-11 with 11 KOs following his second straight shutout defeat to a Jewish boxer.

Boxing writer Ryan Bicvins had a harsh critique of Melson before the fight, tweeting, "Boyd Melson will probably win this fight clearly. But his career has no upside." After the fight Melson, tweeted to his fans, "Wanted a knockout bad, but dude had a hard head!"

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Melson to Face King

Junior middleweight will face Gundrick King at a catchweight tomorrow at BB King Blues Club in New York, New York. Both southpaws weighed in at 158 pounds.

Melson (12-1-1, 4 KOs) is coming off of a rematch victory over Jason Thompson in August. Boyd, who donates his purses to fund stem cell research for spinal cord injuries is an aggressive fighter who can also box from the outside. He'll want to do the latter against King.

King (18-10, 11 KOs) is coming off of a loss to Yuri Foreman in April. King is a short southpaw who prefers to fight from the outside. The straight left is King's best punch and he prefers to counter punch.

The Melson-King bout is scheduled for eight rounds.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tony Milch Moves to 3-0

Welterweight Tony Milch is now 3-0 after a fourth round stoppage against Gareth Shove on November 21 at the Savoy Hotel in London, England. Milch, a 32-year old from Bushey, England, has been boxing since he was 13 years old.

As an amateur, Milch said of himself, "I wasn't great, but was pretty good," to JewishNews.co.uk. While in his mid 20s, Milch had a chance to go pro, but decided to move to Canada and become a trainer instead. In 2011, Milch felt he was ready to begin the steps necessary to turn professional.

Thus far, Milch has been successful against limited competition. In his debut, the lean and lanky righthander with the shaved head won on points against Danny Donchev in July. In September, Milch was busier against his defensive-minded opponent, Bheki Moyo, who hadn't won a fight in 63 tries when the two met. Milch cruised to another points win.

Milch is scheduled to fight in January and February. Nicknamed "Two Guns Tony," Milch hopes to fight for a British or Commonwealth title by the time he hangs up the gloves.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Look Back: Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom

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

Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom was one of the best defensive fighters of all time. A character in and out of the ring, Rosenbloom became light heavyweight champion of the world and a beloved figure among fellow Jews.

The year of Max Rosenbloom's birth is a bit of a mystery, but it likely occurred between 1904 and 1907. His birthday is also up for discussion. Maybe it was March 6. Or perhaps November 1. Or it might have been November 6. It could have even been September 6, depending on who you ask. Whenever it was, Rosenbloom was born in Leonard's Bridge, Connecticut and raised in Manhattan, New York.

In fifth grade, Maxie was expelled from school for loosening two teeth owned by his teacher. She was likely the only person the light-hitting Maxie ever hurt with a punch. Rosenbloom learned ballet as a kid, but eventually got into boxing. Initially, as an amateur, Maxie was terrible, losing 20 of his first 25 bouts until he was taught how to fight and became a proficient amateur.

As a professional, Rosenbloom actually started out his career as a brawler. He didn't much like getting punched in the face, so he transformed into an awkward defensive fighter. He rarely made a fist and used slaps to keep his opponents off balance.

Rosenbloom fought the likes of Yale Okun, Tiger Flowers, Young Stribling, Ted 'Kid' Lewis, and Jim Braddock before becoming light heavyweight champion of the world on June 25, 1930. Rosenbloom had fought middleweights, light heavyweights, and even smaller heavyweights during his six and half years in the ring to that point.

When Rosenbloom defeated Jimmy Slattery that June night in Buffalo by split decision, it began one of the most noteworthy reigns of any champion ever. In four years, Rosenbloom fought over 100 fights, although he made few title defenses during that time.

In the ring, Rosenbloom was a cerebral fighter who understood angles. Outside of the ring, Rosenbloom was less intelligent. He was a womanizer who loved to gamble. A handsome man with a rugged face, Maxie was more successful with the former than he was with the latter. As a result, Rosenbloom was often broke. On one occasion, he rented a chauffeur, but ran out of money midway through the rental. Rosenbloom told the driver to get in the backseat, Rosenbloom would chauffeur him around as payment for the ride.

Rosenbloom was thought of as a clown prince in and out of the ring. He hated to train and stayed in shape by dancing. But in a 1933 bout, the stakes in the ring were quite serious. He faced a German, Adolph Heuser, in Madison Square Garden, fewer than two months after Adolph Hitler's Nazi party took power in Berlin. Reportedly, Rosenbloom's defeat of Heuser convinced Hitler to ban Jewish athletes in Germany because the Fuhrer feared Jewish athletes would disprove his theory of Aryan superiority..

The famed writer Damon Runyan nicknamed Rosenbloom "Slapsie Maxie." Rosenbloom once said, "I didn't want to hurt anybody," in his thick New York accent. After his boxing career was over, Rosenbloom would open his live shows at his night club in L.A. by saying, "I never liked to hit very hard."

After facing the likes of John Henry Lewis, Slattery again, and Mickey Walker, Rosenbloom, who also nicknamed the Harlem Harlequin, fought Bob Olin. Olin wrestled the title away from Rosenbloom by split decision on November 16, 1934. Rosenbloom blamed the loss on a pretty dame sitting in the stands who had caught his eye and distracted him during the fight.

Rosenbloom fought for five more years, often as a heavyweight. He defeated Kingfish Levinsky in 1937, even knocking the much bigger man down in the fourth round. BoxRec lists Rosenbloom's record as 207-39-26 with 19 KOs and only two KO losses. In newspaper decisions, he was 16-4-4.

After his boxing career, Rosenbloom ran a nightclub named after himself and was featured in countless movies. He also did a traveling live show with Max Baer. In the 1940s, Slapsie Maxie's was a haunt for noted gangsters. On one memorable night, famed gangster Mickey Cohen helped Zionist activist Ben Hecht collect a ton of money toward the fight for Israel's independence.

In 1968, Rosenbloom was hit on the head with a pipe during a mugging in Los Angeles. He never recovered his senses and wound up in a sanatorium. He died of Paget's disease on March 6, 1976. Rosenbloom is a member of the boxing Hall of Fame and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Bibliography
Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Medoff, Rafael. Militant Zionism in America: The Rise and Impact of the Jabotinsky Movement in the United States, 1926-1948.
Talbot, Paul. "The Harlem Harlequin." Scandal Park. 2010.
Wheelwright, Jeff. "How Punchy was Slapsie Maxie?" Sports Illustrated. 1983.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Zachary Wohlman vs. Steve Conkin

November 14, 2013
Florentine Gardens
Hollywood, California


Wohlman: white trunks
Conkin: green trunks

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wohlman on His Last Fight and His Future

Welterweight Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman talked to The Jewish Boxing Blog about his last fight and his future. Wohlman outboxed Steve Conkin on November 14 and won a unanimous decision to move his record to 6-1-1 with one KO.

Of his opponent, Wohlman said, "I've got to give him credit. He was tough. He was crafty. I talked to him after the fight and he said he had 70 fights amateur fights." Wohlman, who took the fight on one and half week's notice, said he was initially scheduled to face former Dmitiriy Salita victim Roberto Valenzuela, but the California commission did not approve the bout.

Wohlman was pleased with his performance, "I worked on the inside. I felt comfortable. I boxed early, then I went off on him. Then I boxed again when I realized I wasn't going to get him out of there." Wohlman was satisfied with his stamina. In his lone loss, which took place a year ago, Kid Yamaka punched himself out in the first round and was stopped afterwards.

Wohlman was offered a spot on a Salita Promotions card in New York in December, but he said there were logistical issues. Nevertheless, Wohlman anticipates his next fight will be six rounds. He said he doesn't foresee any stamina issues and is excited because, it takes him a couple of rounds to warm up, so, as a boxer, if there are more rounds scheduled, he has a better chance to succeed.

Zac also had kind works to say about other Jewish boxers, specifically Salita, Yuri Foreman, Boyd Melson, and Cletus Seldin.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Zachary Wohlman on Freddie Roach's Comments

Last Wednesday, Freddie Roach made an off color comment about reporter Elie Seckbach calling him a "fucking Jew." Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman has trained in Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California with the five time BWAA trainer of the year for six years. The two men are close; Roach even attended Wohlman's Bar Mitvah celebration.

Of Roach, Wohlman told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "He doesn't have a racist bone in his body." Wohlman noted that Roach has worked with and cared for people of all different races and faiths.

Zac believes that Roach doesn't argue well and isn't always calm and levelheaded in a confrontation. He went on to explain that people in boxing have also been brought up in places of hardship and that can color how they handle conflict. Often in boxing, people are defined by their ethnic or racial makeup, and that may have also played a role into the insults hurled during Wednesday's altercation.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Freddie Roach's Jewish Problem

Freddie Roach is unquestionably a legendary trainer. Roach is a five-time "BWAA Trainer of the Year" award winner and has led his prized pupil, Manny Pacquiao- who fights tonight in Macau, China- to world title belts in a record eight different weight classes. But an altercation between Roach and the camp of Pacquiao's next opponent, Brandon Rios, has raised questions about Roach's attitude towards Jews.

After a dispute on Wednesday between the two camps over use of a shared gym, things turned violent and epitaphs were spewed. During the spat, Freddie Roach yelled at video reporter Elie Seckbach, who is Jewish, calling him a "fucking Jew." Roach also yelled a similar remark at a man he believed to be Mexican. Those in Rios's camp, including strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, mocked Roach's Parkinson's Disease, yelled a homophobic slur, and threatened him during the scuffle. Ariza took things even further when he viciously kicked Roach.

On Roach's comments toward him, Seckbach told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "He could've said, 'Get this idiot / clown / ass out of here.'" It's a great point and it begs the question: Why did Roach attack Seckbach's Jewishness?

Perhaps Roach linked Seckbach with Rios's camp, who mocked Roach's Parkinson's Disease in a 2010 video shot by Seckbach. But it still doesn't explain why he went after Seckbach's Jewishness?

As reported by Michael Woods of The Sweet Science, Roach explained after the incident on Wednesday, "I said something about the Jewish kid because that's all I know him as." Roach is also quoted as telling Seckbach, "I don't know your name, I just know you as the Jewish kid," after Seckbach accused him of racism.

Seckbach, who has interviewed Roach numerous times, was unconvinced, telling The JBB yesterday, "To me he is racist [because] he also said things about Mexicans."

However, Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, who is Jewish, told Seckbach, "The one thing about Freddie, he treats all people well and he is not anti-Mexican or anti-Jewish. And I would vouch for that 100%."

Jewish welterweight Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman trains in Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California, wrote on Twitter about Roach, "He's a good person. It's boxing, tempers flare."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Seldin Wins by Decision

Cletus Seldin won an eight round decision over Gilbert Venegas in his first bout since suffered a shoulder injury. The bout took place at the Paramount Theatre in Long Island, New York.

Seldin won with scores of 79-73, 78-74, 77-75. Seldin is now 12-0 with 9 KOs while Venegas falls to 12-12-4 with 8 KOs.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Brooks Shows Determination in Loss, Chilemba Decisions Gbenga

Michael "Lefty" Brooks lost a wide unanimous decision to Karl "Dynamite" Dargan today at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. Dargan's counters and lead rights were impressive in taking the victory.

Brooks is not a pressure fighter, which was a problem in this fight, because he needed to adopt that technique to be successful. He started a majority of the rounds out strong. He'd bolt out of the corner and tag Dargan with a leaping overhand left or lunging right hook. At that point, Dargan would find range, counter effectively, and move fluidly. Brooks desperately wanted to get on the inside in the first round, but Dargan's movement was too quick. Brooks ate straight rights and check hooks before Dargan glided out of the pocket. Brooks was often left swinging at air.

In the second and third rounds, Brooks did a better job of making it past Dargan's barrage and getting to the inside. But as soon as he did, he'd throw a counter and leap out. Brooks landed an occasional overhand left or a wide right hook, but Dargan's punches were sharper and straighter. By the end of the second, Brooks began beating his stomach, hoping to induce Dargan into a toe-to-toe clash, but Dynamite stuck to the game plan.

In the sixth, Dargan changed the tenor of the fight. He suddenly began coming forward. Lefty was backing up, a dangerous position to be in. Midway through the round, Michael had changed the fight back into what it was before: Dargan sticking and moving as Brooks came forward.

Despite the obvious frustration Brooks was experiencing by not being able to tag Dargan, he never relented. Brooks's determination was inspiring. He even landed more punches than Dargan in the eighth round after being thoroughly dominated through the first seven. Dargan attempted to get the knockout in the tenth, but Brooks landed two hard lefts that made Karl change his mind.

Dargan looks like he could be a future champion. He has the ring intelligence to go for the boxing equivalent of a  PhD. His hand speed and crisp punching were astounding. Brooks, who showed a good ability to take  punch, is not on that level, but it was clear that he learned a lot from this fight. He often pushed his jab, rending the punch slow and ineffective. Meanwhile, Dargan's jab was biting and quick. Dargan's hooks were much shorter; Brooks threw his right hook from his shoulder, something he'll need to correct. But Michael showed the proper fortitude and perseverance to go far in boxing if he can hone his skill.

The judges scores were 99-91 twice and 98-92, all for Dargan who advances to 14-0 with 7 KOs. Brooks falls to 10-1-1 with 2 KOs. The two men hugged after the decision was read. Brooks verbally congratulated Dargan on a good fight and applauded for his opponent. Michael also smiled and gave the television audience thumbs up.

Isaac Chilemba fought earlier in the day on the card. He won a wide unanimous decision over Michael Gbenga. Chilemba outboxed Gbenga, staying away from the latter's powerful right for most of the bout. Isaac's jab was sharp and he countered well. Gbenga landed hard punches in the fifth round, Chilemba's toughest stanza of the fight.

Chilemba won with scores of 80-72, 79-73 twice. Chilemba is now 21-2-2 with 9 KOs. Gbenga falls to 16-10 with 16 KOs.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wohlman Wins Second Straight

Welterweight Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman defeated Steve Conkin by unanimous decision at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood, California. Wohlman is now 2-0 in 2013 after returning from a broken jaw.

Wohlman weighed in at 146.5 pounds, seven more than his opponent, who took the fight on short notice. The pace favored Wohlman who controlled the action from start to finish.

Sporting a thick beard, Kid Yamaka established range with his jab in the first round. At one point in the round, he threw a double jab and landed a hard right that sent Conkin stumbling backwards. Wohlman also connected with a combination that featured a left hook to the body and then one to the head.

Conkin, who showed good upperbody movement, had no answer offensively in the first round. In the second, Conkin was busier with his hands, but Wohlman outboxed him from the outside with his jab. Wohlman found Conkin's feints unconvincing because the latter did not possess the hand speed or punching power to bother Zac. Wohlman landed a couple of nice left hooks in the round.

In the third, Wohlman knocked Conkin back with a combination and then attacked the body. Conkin was pinned against the ropes as Wohlman fired away. But Conkin landed a right to the top of Wohlman's head and Zac realized the knockout wasn't coming. He spent the next round and a half controlling the fight from range with his sharp quick jab and intelligent lateral movement.

Wohlman won with three scores of 40-36. Conkin (4-7-1), from Canada, has now lost six fights in a row after starting his career with four straight victories. Wohlman advances to 6-1-1 with one knockout.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Brooks-Dargan Preview

Michael "Lefty" Brooks takes on Karl Dargan on Saturday at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. Heading into the bout, Dargan must be considered the favorite. These two men were scheduled to fight in August, but Dargan backed out of that one.

Dargan (13-0, 7 KOs) is a fast-handed counterpuncher from Philadelphia. When not in the pocket looking for a counter, the former amateur standout is able to box effectively from the outside. Nicknamed "Dynamite," Dargan was a sparring partner for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez when the Mexican champion was preparing to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. this past September. It was a good choice by Canelo's camp because Dargan utilizes the same shoulder roll defense as Mayweather.

Dargan is three inches taller than Brooks, has faster hands, a more notable amateur pedigree, and a more renowned trainer- his uncle Nazim Richardson. Describing himself, he told The Ring this autumn, "I have good defense, great reflexes, good hand speed, good ring generalship, and a good knowledge [of] the game." Dargan's two best punches are the counter left hook and the straight right; both are effective against southpaws. In addition, Dargan is relatively experienced against southpaws in his young career.

Brooks (10-0-1, 2 KOs) is two years younger than Dargan and has been more active of late. Brooks last fought in August while Dargan hasn't fought since March. Brooks can box or stalk and has good power to the body. Both men have a similar reach.

Dargan will want to box from the outside and counter when Brooks comes into punching range. That will allow him to use his hand speed advantage. When Dargan has fought on the inside, he's been less successful, so Lefty's plan will be to come forward and cut off the ring.

Getting to the inside will be a challenge for Brooks. If he jabs in, he opens himself up to Dargan's left hook. If he barrels his way in, Dargan will pick him apart with the straight right. Brooks will have to eat punches either way in order to get inside. Once there, Lefty will want to attack Dargan's body. Not only is a body assault Michael's best weapon, but it will slow Dargan down in the later rounds.

This fight will likely go to the cards. If Dargan can stick and move, he'll cruise to an easy decision. If Brooks can continuously throw combinations on the inside, he'll have a chance to pull off the upset. Dargan can score a knockout with a well-timed counter as Brooks rushes in. The best chance for Brooks to stop Dargan is with a liver shot.

The bout can be seen at 2:30pm eastern time on NBC in the United States (NBC, not NBCSports the cable channel). It is scheduled for ten rounds. Dargan has never fought beyond the sixth round; Brooks has fought one eight rounder, in scorching heat, and he stayed strong throughout that fight.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chilemba-Gbenga Preview

Light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba takes on Michael Gbenga at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York on Saturday. This is Chilemba's first fight since two controversial decisions against Tony Bellew last spring.

Chilemba battled Bellew to a draw in their first fight in March and a unanimous decision loss in their second fight in May. The Jewish Boxing Blog was not the only publication that thought Chilemba deserved the victory both times. Bellew is now scheduled to take on light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson on November 30 on HBO, while Chilemba faces a journeyman in order to get back on the winning track.

Though Gbenga, who was raised in Ghana and now lives in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is not in Chilemba's class, he's a dangerous opponent. Gbenga is 16-9 and all of his wins have come by knockout. But those 16 KO victims had a combined one win when they faced Gbenga. Nevertheless, Gbenga has a heavy right hand and possesses a lot of power when he sits down on the punch.

Chilemba (20-2-2, 9 KOs) is a slick boxer from South Africa by way of Malawi. He is a slithery defender and is best offensively when he's coming forward. Isaac holds a number of advantages in this fight. At 26, Chilemba is eight years younger. He's two inches taller, has faster hands, and is more skilled in the ring. Gbenga, for his part, has one more fight of experience and his wingspan is four inches longer.

Gbenga is an awkward fighter, but so is Chilemba. Gbenga is awkward because he's often out of control and off balance; Chilemba is awkward precisely because he's in control. The Ghanaian utilizes a wide stance and constantly paws with his jab. He lunges forward with his right at certain moments and cannot box off the back foot. Gbenga's lunges can produce three results: 1) he lands a big right hand, 2) he connects with his head, or 3) he bends at the waste and is forced to hold his opponent around his midsection.

There are two ways Chilemba can attack Gbenga and hurt him. Isaac's hand speed will be a huge advantage. If Chilemba throws quick combinations- something he didn't do against Bellew- and then moves to his right, away from Gbenga's right, and continues to throw, Gbenga won't last long. Chilemba can also throw uppercuts as Gbenga lunges in. Otherwise, Chilemba will likely coast to a comfortable unanimous decision.

Gbenga's best hope is to land a big right hand and knock Chilemba out, but that will be difficult against an athletic defender such as Isaac. Gbenga will need Chilemba to lose focus for a moment. Michael will also want to make it a rough fight by leading with his head and hitting on the break, infractions he has committed repeatedly in recent fights.

Whatever happens, Gbenga will try to win as long as the fight is still going on. After former world champion Andre Dirrell sent Gbenga to the canvas at the end of the first round of their clash in February, Gbenga never went into survival mode and kept throwing punches.

Chilemba-Gbenga is scheduled for eight rounds.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Foreman KOs Gomez in the First Round

Junior middleweight Yuri Foreman earned his ninth career knockout by stopping Javier Gomez at 1:56 in the first round tonight at the Seminole Hard Rock and Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

Before the fight, Foreman told The Jewish Boxing Blog that he wasn't looking for the knockout in this fight, "Why would I put extra pressure on myself? As my coach says, 'If it comes, it comes.'" Tonight, it came.

Foreman (153.75 lbs.), the consummate boxer, jumped on Gomez (156 lbs.) from the outset. He landed a hard left hook to the head that dazed Gomez. Another left hook sent Gomez down to the canvas on his back. Gomez, who had no idea what hit him, was badly dazed, and was counted out in the first round.

This was Foreman's first KO since 2006 when he stopped Jimmy LeBlanc in the first round. Gomez (14-12, 10 KOs) has now been stopped in nine of his losses. Foreman advances his record to 32-2 with 9 KOs.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Salita Falls to Bracero

Welterweight Dmitriy Salita dropped a unanimous decision to Gabriel Bracero tonight at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York. Bracero was the aggressor for much of the fight and landed a number of eye-catching left hooks.

Salita entered the ring first, wearing his customary Star of David on his trunks. Bracero's trunks featured the Puerto Rican flag. In the first round, both men jabbed early and Salita began backing up. Salita was able to duck Bracero's power punches, but wasn't in position to counter.

In the second, Bracero landed a hard left hook that wobbled Dmitriy. Bracero did the same in each of the next several rounds. Salita jabbed effectively and stuck rights into Bracero's body during the quiet moments, but the shots that made the crowd gasp were all owned by Bracero.

There were more quiet moments in the sixth and seventh rounds than there had been previously and Salita should have carried those. Dmitriy continued to be successful early in the eighth, but then a left hook knocked him down. From that point forward, Bracero punished Salita for most of the round, though Salita had his moments at the end.

The ninth was a good comeback round for Salita, who landed some rights throughout the night, but Bracero punctuated the round with an uppercut. Bracero was aggressive and controlled the action for much of the contest. He showed good power as well.

The fight was taken in by Paulie Malignaggi, Buddy McGirt, and the Amazing Kreskin, among others. After the fight, Bracero told Steve Farhood, "I give Dmitriy all the respect in the world," noting that they have known each other since childhood. Bracero moves his record to 22-1 with 4 KOs and Salita falls to 35-2-1 with 18 KOs.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Salita-Bracero Preview

Welterweight Dmitriy Salita faces Gabriel "Tito" Bracero at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York tomorrow. Both men are fighting int heir home borough and are stepping up the quality of competition relative to recent fights.

Salita (35-1-1, 18 KOs) has won five fights against journeymen since his 2009 defeat to Amir Khan. Bracero (22-1, 4 KOs) has won four fights since his 2012 loss at the hands of DeMarcus Corley. Save Khan, Bracero is Salita's toughest opponent; a case can be made that Salita is a tougher challenge for Bracero than was Corley, a former champion who was 37 years old and had lost six straight heading into the match with Tito.

Salita comes into the fight with a number of advantages. He's the bigger man, weighing in at over 147 pounds in each of his last five bouts. Bracero has never weighed as much as the welterweight limit in any pro fight. Salita is a couple of inches taller, a year younger, and has more experience in the ring.

Dmitriy's best punch is his jab. He's also a devastating body puncher, having knocked down James Wayka several times with body shots in 2010 and sapping Roberto Valenzuela's will to fight the following year. As the taller man, Salita will want to jab early and often against Bracero, who has been known to vary his attack between coming forward and boxing from the outside. Salita will only want to tag Tito's body when the two are on the inside since he'll otherwise have to reach for the shorter man's midsection from distance, exposing his chin to a counter.

Salita possesses good hand speed and decent power. Against Wayka, Salita landed a number of overhand rights that opened up Wayka's body for punishment. Against Brandon Hoskins last October, Salita saw an opportunity for his left hook to land. It will be important for Salita to initiate the action with his jab and punctuate it with head shots early to open up the body. Salita's KO power is to the body.

Salita's main problem is that he's a slow starter. He was knocked down once in the first round against Robert Frankel in 2005, twice in the first against Ramon Montano in his next fight, and three times in the first against Khan. When facing fighters not on his level such as Hoskins, Valenzuela, and Wayka, it still took a little time for Salita to find his grove.

It would thus behoove Bracero, who spent six years in prison, to come forward and attack early. His best punch is the right which he throws off the jab. Bracero however sometimes becomes too square after throwing his right and it can be countered. His defense will need to improve against Salita because he's been cut early in each of his last two fights against men who were not throwing many punches.

Tito has shown fortitude throughout his career. Corley nearly blasted Bracero out of the ring in the second and third rounds of their fight, but Gabriel came back and even knocked Corley down later in the fight. He's often cut over the eyes in his fights, but it rarely seems to bother him.

Bracero's primary advantage though is activity. Bracero has fought once this year and was in four fights in 2012. Salita hasn't fought in over a year and has only been in the ring twice in 19 months. Since Salita's lone loss to Khan in 2009, he has fought only five times while Bracero has fought 17 times in the same span.

Bracero has more power than his four KOs suggest, but when he's ahead, he doesn't go in for the stoppage. At that point, he prefers to box. It's unlikely that Bracero, whose punches can be too mechanical, will be able to outbox the more fluid Salita. Bracero's best hope is to constantly pressure Dmitriy in order to wear him down and frustrate him.

The match is scheduled for ten rounds. The winner of this crossroads bout hopes to get a significant fight on a major television network in the U.S. There has been some talk that the winner could face the winner of December's clash between Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Danny Ahrens vs. Lewis Van Poetsch

October 17, 2013
Park Plaza Hotel
London, England



Ahrens: black and white trunks
Van Poetsch: dark green, orange, and black trunks

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Look Back: Ben Bril and Nathan Shapow

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

This series so far has been reserved for professional Jewish boxers, but Ben Bril and Nathan Shapow, though neither ever fought professionally, are two amateurs who deserved to be remembered for the horrors they endured outside of the ring. Both men survived the Holocaust.

Ben Bril was born on July 16, 1912 in a poor Jewish section of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He was one of six children born to a fisherman father. Bril began boxing at an early age and made the 1928 Summer Olympics, held in his hometown, Amsterdam. A flyweight, he was only 15 years old at the time.

Bril was good enough to make the 1932 Olympics, but was barred by the Dutch Olympic committee because Ben was a Jew and the committee was led by an anti-Semite. Bril earned a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games in 1935. He boycotted the 1936 Olympics held in Nazi-governed Berlin.

On May 10, 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Things soon became progressively worse for Dutch Jews. In 1941, the new German-led government began deporting a small number of Jews and the deportations only rose in size as time passed. Bril was deported to Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp in Germany, with his wife and son. Amazingly, the trio survived the war. But almost all of the rest of Bril's family died in the Holocaust. Only one brother survived.

Bril would eventually become a boxing referee, officiating fights in the Netherlands, Germany, England, and Spain among other places. He oversaw separate fights involving heavyweight contenders Henry Cooper and Karl Mildenberger.

Bril, who died in 2003, has been honored with a movie and a biography in the Netherlands, but there is still too little about his life in English. The Ben Bril Memorial, featuring a series of boxing matches, is held every year in October in Amsterdam. Junior welterweight Barry Groenteman, a native of Amsterdam, has participated in the memorial multiple times. "It means a lot to me," he said.

"Ben Bril is a Jewish boxing legend in the Netherlands. It's a honour for me to carry his legacy. My biggest motivation is to tell our story to the world. I'm a very proud Jewish person and very proud to be a Jewish boxer." Barry continued, "It's important for me that in 2014 I will win all my fights. And to keep Jewish boxing in Europe alive."

Nathan Shapow was born on November 6, 1921 in Riga, Latvia. He had two brothers and lived in a two-bedroom house with his parents, Mordecai and Chaye. Shapow's boyhood hobby was boxing, a sport in which he honed his skills at local Jewish youth clubs. He soon fought in amateur bouts.

As the situation worsened for Latvian Jews throughout the 1930s, Shapow became more political. Keeping the family tradition, Shapow was a follower of Vladimir Jabotinsky, as is current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Shapow would become a member of Betar, a right-wing militant organization that believed in Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionism.

Latvia was contested ground between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Both countries occupied Latvia in the early 1940s. While in the Nazi-controlled Riga ghetto, Shapow was a member of a group called the "Strong Ones." These men stole what they could to stay strong in order to protect their fellow Jews from the anti-Semitic authorities. At one point, with a crunching straight right Shapow killed an SS officer that had come to kill him.

Throughout the Holocaust, Shapow was transferred to numerous work and death camps. He miraculously avoided certain death on countless occasions. One time he was saved by a man who he had known from his boxing days. During the hell he endured, Shapow's ability to steal food kept himself well-fed relative to other starving Jews. He was also generous with his filched bounty, giving away sustenance to fellow interred Jews.

In the camps, Shapow was forced to engage in boxing matches with other inmates for the enjoyment of gentiles. In his book, he claims he was quite successful against even professional fighters because of his tremendous power.

After the war, Shapow managed to make it to Palestine illegally and fought in the notorious Irgun and with the Stern Gang in the years before Israel's independence. After independence, he fought in the new nation's early wars. By  the 1960s, he had grown tired of fighting constantly and took part in a few different professions. He soon moved tot he United States, where he still lives.

Bibliography
"Ben Bril Memorial." benbrilboxing.com (in Dutch).
Shapow, Nathan. The Boxer's Story: Fighting for My Life in the Nazi Camps.2012.
Shoah Foundation. "Holocaust Survivor Nathan Shapow Testimony." 1994.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ahrens wins Fourth Fight

Junior middleweight Danny "Kid" Ahrens defeated Lewis Van Poetsch on October 17 by way of four-round points victory at the Park Plaza Hotel in London, England. After an eight and a half month layoff, Ahrens was more aggressive and landed the hard punches throughout most of the fight.

Van Poetsch, a British soldier and competent boxer, jabbed early in the fight. But he quickly cast aside that plan when Ahrens rushed him with power punches. Danny had the faster hands and Van Poetsch soon made sure his gloves were high in a defensive position for much of the first three rounds.

Ahrens attacked the body early with both hands. His looping overhand right rocked his opponent on several occasions in the first three minutes. Van Poetsch tagged Ahrens with a solid left hook towards the end of the opening round, but, to that point, he had been thoroughly outworked.

Van Poetsch tried to jab early in the second, but soon covered up instead. Ahrens overwhelmed Van Poetsch in the third round with left hooks to the body, Danny's relentless pressure and constant combinations forced Van Poetsch to focus on avoiding the punches rather than firing back.

Ahrens seemed to fade in the fourth. Van Poetsch, far and away the toughest opponent Danny has faced, went for broke in the final round. Ahrens continuously backed up and was often on the ropes. Van Poetsch landed a hard right in the round, his best punch of the contest.

After the fight, Danny acknowledged to Barry Toberman of The Jewish Chronicle, "The last round could have been better. I was a bit tired and my hand was a bit low, but this is something I’ll work on when I am back in the gym. I've had a long break since my last fight and it was difficult getting back into a rhythm."

Referee Robert Williams scored the bout 40-37; three rounds for Ahrens and one even. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 39-37 for Ahrens (4-0, one KO), giving the final round to Van Poetsch (3-4).

Ahrens is only 20 years old and has tremendous power and hand speed. He possesses a fighter's mentality and is willing to throw numerous combinations. However, he rarely jabbed and switched to southpaw to little avail.

Van Poetsch never threw a punch while Ahrens was in a  left-handed stance, but Danny throws slow arm punches as a lefty; he's much better from the orthodox stance. Defensively, Kid wasn't as open while throwing a punch as he's been in the past. He crouched under punches, which was effective in avoiding the blows, but didn't put Ahrens in good position to counter. Save for a couple of sharp one-two combinations during this last fight, the young man throws looping punches.

Criticism aside, Ahrens is a decorated amateur with the makings of an outstanding professional. If he can continue to improve, the expectations for Danny are very high.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Two Movies About Jewish Boxers

A movie chronicling the life of Victor 'Young' Perez hits the theaters in Israel next month.



Next year, a movie about Daniel Mendoza is slated to hit the big screen. Here's a clip:



And here's the story of Mendoza:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Seldin to Return on November 22

Cletus "Da Hamma" Seldin is scheduled to return to the ring on November 22. The bout will be held at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington, New York. This be Seldin's seventh fight at Paramount.

Seldin is coming off of a shoulder injury. He hasn't fought since February and he is currently experiencing far and away the longest layoff of his career. The 11-0 had nine knockouts including eight in a row.

No opponent has as of yet been named to face Seldin in the scheduled eight round affair.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mike "Lefty" Brooks Video

Here is an interview Mike "Lefty" Brooks (10-0-1, 2 KOs) had with RingKingTV. He talks about Karl Dargan backing out of their scheduled fight in August and fighting Chip Perez instead. Brooks is scheduled to face the undefeated Dargan on November 16.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Groenteman Falls on Points

Junior welterweight Barry Groeneteman lost a surprise decision against Vango Tsirimokos earlier today. The fight took place at Theater Carré in Amsterdam, Netherlands as part of the Ben Bril Memorial.

The judges scored the fight 78-74, 77-76, 77-75 for Tsirimokos. After the fight, Groenteman vowed to be back and better than ever. Barry's record falls to 9-6-2 with 2 KOs. Tsirimokos moves to 5-2 with one KO.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Foreman, a Pillar of Discipline, to Fight in November

Junior middleweight Yuri Foreman is scheduled to get back into the ring on November 12 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. His opponent is slated to be Javier Gonzalez.

Foreman is coming off of an eight-round decision against Jamal Davis last July. In that fight, Foreman, who is the consummate boxer, threw right hand leads and led more with power punches than he normally does. In a phone interview with The Jewish Boxing Blog, Foreman said he knew Davis would continue to come forward and put pressure of Foreman, so Yuri wanted to be more aggressive.

Foreman constantly moved, waiting for the moment that Davis was slightly off balance to strike. There were moments when Foreman was able to trap Davis in the corner or push him against the ropes, but Foreman usually waited for the referee to break the two men. Yuri noted that he used this strategy because "Davis has decent power and is a good inside fighter."

Yuri stayed disciplined throughout the bout and stuck to his strategy. "I'm always working to perfect my own style," he said, "I'm not going to play by the rules of my opponent. I'm in control; I'm going to do my own thing."

Foreman's next opponent, Javier Gomez, sports a 14-11 record with 10 KOs, but he's been stopped eight times. Gomez has been knocked out by some good fighters such as Eddie Gomez and Victor Cayo, but he has also been stopped by men who have very little experience and didn't having winning records. Foreman said he doesn't feel any pressure to knockout his opponent, "Why would I put extra pressure on myself? As my coach says, 'If it comes, it comes.'"

Foreman has been in rabbinical training and has submitted his final exam answers to his rabbi; he's now waiting for a response. When asked which he more identifies himself as, a boxer or a rabbi, he said, "It's not one or the other. There are times to be a boxer and there are times to be a rabbi."

There is clearly some overlap between the two professions. Foreman described boxing as "a thinking man's game. The goal is to outsmart the other guy." He also noted, "A good boxer can control his emotions. He can think calmly in a difficult situation." Rabbis need some of the same skills.

A month before his next fight, Foreman isn't yet thinking much about that night. He's focused on the physical and mental development it takes to train for the contest. With regards to fighting away from his New York home in Florida, Foreman says it's simply part of the profession. "I'm a boxer; the job requires traveling," Foreman said matter-of-factly. His wife will likely stay in New York for the fight and Foreman will miss what he describes as her "good analytic eye."

This will likely be Foreman's final eight-rounder before he moves up to ten rounds. About future fights, Foreman explained, "The goal is to win on November 12. We'll see from there."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brooks and Chilemba to Fight on November 16

Michael "Lefty" Brooks and Isaac "Golden Boy" Chilemba are scheduled to fight in separate bouts on November 16 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. Brooks is slated to face fellow undefeated prospect Karl Dargan while Chilemba does not yet have an opponent scheduled.

Brooks was supposed to fight Dargan in August, but the latter backed out of the fight. Brooks (10-0-1, 2 KOs) won against replacement Chip Perez. Perez, whose opponent also dropped out on the same card, is a good fighter, but was too small for Brooks. While Dargan (13-0, 7 KOs) marks a big step up for Brooks, Brooks also marks a step up for Dargan. Dargan hasn't fought a southpaw since 2009 win over Rynell Griffin and no lefty near the caliber of Brooks.

Chilemba (20-2-2, 9 KOs) is returning to the ring for the first time since his disputed loss to Tony Bellew last May. Chilemba signed with the promotional company Main Events earlier this month and hopes to work his way back into the top ten in the light heavyweight division.

Select fights from the card will be shown on NBC Sports Network in the U.S. Both fights are scheduled for eight rounds.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Salita to Face Bracero

Welterweight Dmitriy Salita is scheduled to face Gabriel Bracero on November 9 at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York. Both men are from Brooklyn and both have only one career loss apiece. The winner could earn a fight against a contender.

Bracero marks Salita's toughest opponent by a good margin since his 2009 world title challenge against Amir Khan. Salita (35-1-1, 18 KOs) hasn't fought since last October 20. Dmitriy had two fights with Hector Camacho Jr. cancelled over the past year.

Bracero (22-1, 4 KOs) has fought three times since last October, winning all three against journeymen with winning records. His lone loss came at the hands of DeMarcus Corley, a former world champion who had lost his previous six bouts at that point. On paper, Salita will be the toughest opponent of Bracero's career.

Despite Bracero's paltry KO percentage, he's not a boxer. He prefers to come forward and pressure his man. He has more power than his knockout total suggests, but he doesn't have a finishing impulse. His best win came against Danny O'Connor, a good boxer who has less power than Bracero. In the loss to Corley, Bracero was confused by his opponent's southpaw stance. Int he second round of that fight, Corley hesitated in mid-punch freezing Bracero before landing a straight left that badly hurt the Brooklynite. Bracero was knocked down three times in the fight, but showed the courage and toughness to fight back in losing a decision.

Salita is the bigger man and the bigger puncher. While Bracero has never weighed in over 146 pounds for a fight, Salita has done so in each of his previous five bouts. Salita is also two inches taller and has more experience in the ring although he's a year younger.

Bracero will need to come forward, get inside, and be busier than he usually is to be successful in this fight. As long as Salita can keep Bracero away with his jab, his best punch, Salita will have a great chance to win. If Salita is then able to walk Bracero down, a stoppage could be in the works.

The fight is scheduled for ten rounds.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Groenteman to Face New Opponent

Barry Groenteman was originally scheduled to face Innocent Anyanwu on October 14 for the Ben Bril Memorial at Theater Carré in Amsterdam, Netherlands, but Anyanwu pulled out. Groenteman's new opponent is now slated to be Belgian Vango "The Greek" Tsirimokos.

Tsirimokos has far less experience than Anyanwu (21-10-3, 13 KOs), but in some ways, he's a tougher opponent for Groenteman. Anyanwu is 1-10-1 in his last 12 fights, the one win coming against a 2-24 fighter. Tsirimokos is 4-2 with one KO in his career. He lost his last two fights against opponents with a combined 15-2-2 record, but his wins came against opponents with a combined two victories, including the aforementioned fighter Anyanwu beat.

Groenteman (9-5-2, 2 KOs) and Tsirimokos have a common opponent. Both faced Andrea Carbonella and both dropped split decisions. The bout in October is scheduled for eight rounds.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Look Back: Al Friedman

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

Heavyweight Al Friedman was something of a renaissance man outside of the ring. A contender, his life was tragically cut short.

Al Friedman was born on May 25, 1908 in Roslindale, Massachusetts. He lived most of his life in nearby Boston. Friedman turned to professional boxing at the age of 18 and the 5'10 1/2" fighter won his debut against Bull Mason on March 15, 1926 by second round KO. Al won his next six fights, all by knockout.

Four and half months after his debut, Friedman lost his first fight, a ten round decision against Joe Monte. Friedman had never fought passed four rounds before that fight. He dropped his next two fights, including a rematch against Monte.

On December 13, Friedman received a beating from 1924 Olympian Charles Peguilhan until the eighth and final round. Al needed a knockout to win and managed to knock Peguilhan to the ropes with body and head punches. The 1924 Olympian then fell to the canvas and couldn't beat the count. Friedman had won, but the price was his opponent's life. Peguilhan died the next day due to injuries suffered in the ring.

Friedman was initially arrested for manslaughter, but the charges were soon dropped. He wouldn't fight again for three months when he took on another Jewish heavyweight, Jack Gross. A southpaw from Philadelphia, Gross defeated his co-nationalist by way of six-round decision. Friedman faced contender Ernie Schaaf in two of his next three bouts and lost them both. He'd lose another three times to Schaaf, who beat the likes of Max Baer, James Braddock, and Tommy Loughran.

In addition to boxing, Friedman was an intellectual. He was a bible scholar familiar with Talmudic lore who was fluent in eight languages. In 1929, he defeated a man named Chuck Wiggins who had been arrested two days before the fight for driving drunk into a police car and then knocking down the arresting officer with a punch. It is rare to see two opponents of such different character.

That same year, Friedman won a fight against Tony Two-Ton Galento in the first of two bouts they would split. After a couple of years of limited success, Friedman fought for the last time in January 1932, a decision loss to Jack Roper.

According to Ken Blady, Friedman set the record for most fights in a one-year span with 54. But BoxRec has his record as 35-36-6 with 14 KOs and 3-6-1 in newspaper decisions, although his true record likely will never be known. Two years later, at the age of 26, Friedman was struck by a car in Los Angeles and died from his injuries.

Bibliography
Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Groenteman Wins By Decision

Junior welterweight Barry Groenteman defeated Patryk Wolke by six round unanimous decision at Wellness Profi Center in Purmerend, Netherlands on Saturday night. This was Groenteman's fifth fight at the Wellness Profi Center in six fights. He's 4-1 in his last five fights at that venue.

Groenteman told The Jewish Boxing Blog on Twitter, "It was a good test for my title fight in October. I'm in great shape." Barry is scheduled to defend his Dutch junior welterweight title against Innocent Anyanwu on October 14.

Groenteman moves to 9-5-2 with 2 KOs; Wolke falls to 1-8 with one KO.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Look Back: Abraham Rosenberg

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

Abraham Rosenberg only had two professional fights, but was a well-regarded amateur. His career is all the more impressive considering he survived the Holocaust.

Rosenberg, sometimes spelled Rozenberg, was born in Sosnowiec, Poland in 1928. Raised Orthodox, he spent part of his childhood surviving the Holocaust. There is some dispute about his experience during the war. In one account, he entered labor and concentration camps at the tender age of 11 and was shipped between Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, Markstädt, Gross Rosen, and Fünfteichen before fleeing to Scotland and attended school in Glasgow by the time the war ended in 1945 (The Jewish Criterion, 1955). In another account, Abraham was part of the kindertransport and was transported to Glasgow before the war began (AJR, 1950).

In either case, Rosenberg was in Glasgow- where he learned to box- as World War II ended; there he figured his family had all perished in the Holocaust until he discovered that his father was living in Frankfurt, Germany. Abraham then joined his father in Germany.

Rosenberg was a heavyweight who was a respected amateur. By 1950, he was living in Friedberg, Germany and had won the Hessian Amateur Boxing Tournament held in Kasse, representing the Frankfurt Boxing Club. On July 29, 1951, he lost to Lothar Rau on points in the finals of the German amateur championships in Hamburg.

On August 27, 1951, Rosenberg lost to Norvel Lee by decision in a bout in Germany. Lee, who went on to win a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in the light heavyweight division, fought and soundly defeated future heavyweight champion Ingemar Johannson four days after defeating Rosenberg. On October 17, Rosenberg defeated an Englishman named R. Miles in London, England. That same year, Rosenberg's father moved to Philadelphia. Abraham was stuck behind in Germany because of bureaucratic obstacles.

Rosenberg won the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the fourth Maccabiah Games in 1953. Because Germany did not field a team, Rosenberg represented France in the Games.

In 1955, he made it to the semifinals of the German amateur championships where he lost by way of third round TKO to former national champion, Horst Witterstein. By that point, Rosenberg had fought in 110 bouts and the loss to Witterstein was only the second time he had been stopped.

On January 16, 1956, Rosenberg made his professional debut. He fought in St. Nicolas Arena in New York, New York. Outweighed by 17.5 pounds, Rosenberg lost a six round decision to an experienced fighter with a losing record, George Washington. As of this writing, a ticket to the fight is being auctioned on ebay. Washington would later become a trainer and a couple of his notable charges include heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe and Olympic gold medalist  and world champion Mark Brelan.

Rosenberg's next fight didn't come for another two years. Rosenberg, nicknamed Romme, dropped a four round decision to a winless fighter, Walter Hauff, in Berlin, Germany on February 28, 1958. He never fought professionally again

Not much is known of Rosenberg's life after boxing. A Shoah Foundation entry fits his description and asserts Abraham Rozenberg lived in Germany and gave an interview about his experiences in the war in 2000.

Bibliography
"Concentration Camp Graduate Reaches Boxing Semi-Finals." The Jewish Criterion. June 3, 1955.
"From My Diary." AJR Information. August, 1950. Page 6.
Shoah Foundation entry on Abraham Rozenberg. This entry fits what we know about Abraham Rosenberg from Sosnowiec, Poland from other sources. Rozenberg (from the entry) was born in 1928, date unknown. The Jewish Criterion article claims Rosenberg was 11 when he was first taken to a labor camp and since the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, the dates match. The interview was conducted in German in Germany, which fits because Rosenberg was in Germany well over a decade after the end of the Holocaust, unusual for most survivors. The entry seems to second The Jewish Criterion article that Rosenberg was interned in several labor and concentration camps, although the article says he escaped to Glasgow before the end of the war while the entry claims Rozenberg was in a displaced person camp after the war. An AJR article claims Rosenberg was shipped to Glasgow as a child before the war.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Melson Earns UD in Thompson Rematch

Boyd Melson won a unanimous decision victory over Jason Thompson at BB King Blues Club and Grill in New York, New York tonight. The fight marked the first time that Boyd has fought at BB King's since suffering his lone career defeat to Delen Parsley in March of 2012. Melson won by landing counter right hooks Thompson's wide shots.

This bout was a rematch of a dubious draw that took place in the first ever boxing match at Barclays Center last October. In the first fight, both men scored knockdowns, although Melson seemed to control the action for the vast majority of the six rounds.

Thompson jabbed early and landed body shots throughout the fight, but after the second round, he fell back into a pattern of looking to land a big right. That right shook up Melson in the fifth round, but Boyd stayed on his feet.

After landing a couple of straight lefts in the first round, Melson found his money punch, the right hook, in the second round. Melson dominated the third and fourth rounds by boxing, but he went back to counterpunching the rest of the way.

In the sixth, Melson was cut over the right eye by a Thompson punch. Blood poured down his face. Referee Ricky Gonzalez paused the action and brought Melson over to the ringside physician. Boyd immediately blurted out, "I can see!" The fight continued.

In the seventh, blood gushed for the corner of Thompson's right eye. Melson used his right hook to target the cut. That punch landed all round long. When the eighth round started, Boyd looked distracted and Thompson rushed at him. A right stunned Melson, who held. Melson let go and landed a right hook that put Thompson down. Melson kept up his success with the right hook in the final round.

The judges' scores were 78-73 twice and 77-74, all for Melson. After the fight, actor Cuba Gooding Jr entered the ring and gave Melson a big hug. Promoter Lou DiBella said, "I've never promoted a guy with a bigger heart than Boyd Melson."

Melson moves to 12-1-1 with 4 KOs while Thompson falls to 5-7-3 with 4 KOs. Boyd came in at 156 pounds for this bout while Thompson was 153. Melson is considered a junior middleweight, but he has come in over the 154 pound limit in his last four fights. In his 13 pro fights, he has weighed in at 154 pounds or less only four times, while his opponents have done so ten times.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Brooks Wins by UD

Michael "Lefty" Brooks defeated Joseph "Chip" Perez by way of entertaining unanimous decision last night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The judges scored the bout 60-53, 59-54, 57-56.

Brooks was able to nail his shorter, smaller opponent early and land his customary vicious body shots throughout the bout. But Perez wouldn't quit. He managed to get inside and land his rights during the middle rounds, but he didn't stay and trade enough.

Brooks has come forward aggressively in his last few bouts, but he relied on his boxing ability from the outside this time. In the sixth and final round, Perez lost a point for shouldering Brooks.

This fight was contracted at a catch weight of 134 pounds this week after both fighters' opponents dropped out of their scheduled contests. Lefty is usually a lightweight, while Perez splits his time between junior lightweight and lightweight. Brooks advances his record to 10-0-1 with two KOs and Perez is now 10-3 with three KOs.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Brooks Has a New Opponent

Michael "Lefty" Brooks was originally scheduled to face undefeated prospect Karl Dargan tomorrow, but Dargan was forced to back out. Brooks is now scheduled to face Joseph "Chip" Perez from Connecticut. The bout is set for the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Perez (10-2, 3 KOs) was stopped in his last bout against Jason Sosa in January, snapping a five bout win streak. His last win came against Chazz McDowell, who coincidentally was scheduled to fight Brooks in May before Lefty bowed out with an injury. In that fight, Perez started slowly before taking a controversial majority decision.

That fight featured a number of headbutts, something both men will have to look out for tomorrow as Lefty is a southpaw and Chip takes an orthodox stance. Against McDowell, Perez was able to land overhand rights consistently during the second half of the fight. Against Brooks, he'll need to straighten out his right.

Brooks (9-0-1, 2 KOs) is coming off of a technical draw in March. This bout will be a contest for control of the middle of the ring. Whoever is pushing forward will likely grab a points victory.

Brooks weighed in 134 pounds and Perez was 133.75. This fight is scheduled for six rounds.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Look Back: Eddie Leonard

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

Eddie Leonard was a good Baltimore-based fighter who fought exclusively in the Mid-Atlantic region during his career in the 1920s. His legacy, however, stems from his career after boxing.

Benjamin Simon was born May 17, 1905 in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was raised. He became a professional boxer as a teenager. As with the great Benny Leonard, who purportedly took his surname from the famous minstrel actor, Eddie Leonard, so that his mother would not discover his new profession, it's likely that Simon took his new moniker from the same man for the same reason.

In fact, there were a few Eddie Leonards fighting during the 1920s, which makes it difficult to pin down this Eddie Leonard's actual record. BoxRec lists nine fights in New York on Leonard's record from 1921 to 1922. Another Eddie Leonard probably took part in those fights, because our Eddie Leonard would have been 15 years old for his first fight. BoxRec admits that the identity of the true Eddie Leonard is in question for these fights.

Leonard likely partook in his pro debut in August 1923 against Porky Flynn in Baltimore at the age of 18. A flyweight, he stood 5'4" and fought with his hair slicked and parted in the middle. He wore a Star of David with the letters "EL" inside it on his trunks over his left thigh

Managed by Max Weinman and trained by Heine Blaustein, Leonard built up his record against inexperienced opponents early in his career. He was 12-0-1 when he suffered his first loss to Battling Frye. In their many duels, Leonard went 3-2 against his fellow Baltimore native with four of their fights taking place in 1924.

Leonard's best wins came against a fellow Jewish Baltimorean, Marty Gold, who he defeated twice, once in 1926 and again in 1927. Leonard's biggest fight came against a Londoner and former title challenger, Ernie Jarvis. Jarvis won an eight-round decision in that one. In 1928, Leonard fought for the last time, a loss to Troy Ross.

Leonard's record was somewhere in the ballpark of 45-4-1 with 6 KOs and three newspaper victories, although Thomas Scharf asserts that "Leonard fought around 50 battles during his first two years after turning professional in 1923." Eddie was never stopped.

Comedian Dick Curtis claimed that Leonard was owned by the mob. After his boxing career, Eddie became a referee and judge. He was in the ring with the likes of Joe Louis, Archie Moore, and Willie Pep. Eddie also ran a few businesses. Kliph Nesteroff explains, "As the Mob's pugilists aged they were often granted their own nightclub, as casually as a retiring office worker receives a gold watch."

Eddie opened Eddie Leonard's Spa in Baltimore. This was no day spa; it was a strip club. Curtis described it as one of the worst strip joints in the world. He explained, "I opened at Eddie Leonard's Spa in Baltimore on Christmas Eve. This was in 1952. Can you imagine who would go to a strip joint on Christmas Eve in 1952?"

Curtis's material was clean, much to the chagrin of the angry audience. Leonard came over to Curtis during an interlude and said, "Hey, kid. Don't you know nothing dirty?" Curtis retorted, "No, I don't do that, Eddie. People tell me I look like a choir boy." Eddie answered, "You better learn something dirty or you're on your way out of here."

Curtis did, but the audience continued to viciously heckle him. Leonard came over to him during another interlude and said, "Hey, kid. Don't do those dirty jokes in here 'cause you look like a choir boy." Curtis later asked Eddie why he hadn't been fired in the wake of the patrons' reaction to his comedy. Leonard snapped, "Shut up. You got a tuxedo. You make my show look good."

Leonard also opened a line of carryout establishments, typically in poor neighborhoods, in the 1950s called Eddie Leonard's Sandwich Shop. A number of them are still open in the D.C.-Baltimore area, although they've all been bought out by immigrants from Asia. Of all the fights Leonard- who died in May of 1983- took part in, the sandwich shops have become his lasting legacy.

Bibliography
Debose, Brian. "Eddie Leonard's - 63 years and still going." Be About Design. February 8, 2012.
Nesteroff, Kliph. "An Interview with Dick Curtis - Part One." Classic Television Showbiz. September 24, 2011.
Nesteroff, Kliph. "The Comedians, The Mob and the American Supperclub." WMFU's Beware of the Blog. February 19, 2012.
Scharf, Thomas. Baltimore's Boxing Legacy, 1893-2003. 2003.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Carolina Duer vs. Mayra Alejandra Gomez

July 26, 2013
Club Deportivo San Vicente
Buenos Aires, Argentina
WBO bantamweight championship


Duer: white top, black skirt
Gomez: blue top, blue trunks

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Duer Wins Vacant World Title

Carolina Raquel Duer won the vacant WBO batamweight title by way of unanimous decision over her co-nationalist, Mayra Alejandra Gomez, at Club Deportivo San Vicente in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Duer, who wore a black skirt with a white top, dictated the action. Depending on her mood, she alternated between boxing on the outside and charging at Gomez, who wore a blue top and blue trunks with slits. Duer's hands were faster and her punches were hard enough to grab Gomez's attention from the outset of the fight.

Gomez chose a curious strategy. She wanted to pressure Duer, but as soon as Duer stopped boxing and charged at Gomez, Mayra fled to the other side of the ring. The result was Gomez countered very rarely and her pressure was ineffective. Gomez bizarrely taunted Duer virtually every time she ran.

Gomez was at her best when Duer stood in front of her and didn't throw, which didn't happen often. Gomez connected with a few eye catching shots, such as a right at the end of the fourth and a hard right towards the end of the ninth. But Duer's defense was as good as it's been in recent years. Her running charges thwarted Gomez's offense, she was effective to the body, and threw a ton of combinations.

With Duer firmly in charge, Gomez became frustrated in the seventh round. In the eighth, Gomez became combative with referee Jorge Basili. She accused Duer of hitting low and rabbit punching, but those accusations were a defense mechanism since things were not going Gomez's way. To her credit, Gomez fought back and had her best round in the ninth. But by the tenth, Duer was back on the attack.

Two judges, Roberto Rilo and Jorge Millicay, scored the bout 96-94 and a third judge, Héctor Miguel, scored it 98-92. Miguel's score was a far more accurate depiction of the bout.

This is the second weight division in which Duer has won the world championship. She is now 15-3-1 with 5 KOs. Gomez falls to 13-3 with 4 KOs. This was Duer's second attempt at the title. Two months ago, Duer drew with Sabrina Maribel Perez for the same vacant title.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Foreman Shuts Out Davis

Yuri Foreman defeated Jamaal Davis by way of unanimous decision at Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York last night. All three judges scored the bout 80-72. Foreman moves his record to 31-2 with 8 KOs, while Davis falls to 14-10-1 with 6 KOs.

Foreman arrived at Roseland at 7:30 in the evening; his fight didn't begin until 10:30. During the hours of waiting in the dressing room, Foreman tried to stay positive. His trainer and manager exchanged funny stories as Foreman kept telling himself, "Stick to the plan. I've done the hard work. It's just another day at the office." He also calmed himself spiritually by reading passages from the Book of Psalms.

Foreman's routine in the dressing room before his fight tends to be the same whether he's facing an opponent he's expected to defeat, as was the case with Davis, or a bout for the championship against Miguel Cotto in Yankee Stadium. He feels just as much pressure against a fighter of the caliber of Jamaal Davis because Yuri has "everything to lose" as a decided favorite. The only difference is the amount of people hanging around the dressing room, which depends on the prestige of his opponent.

Foreman didn't know what to expect from Davis coming into the bout because he didn't have a lot of information about the Philadelphia native. Foreman said his strategy was to box and use lateral movement. Yuri felt he was more aggressive than in recent fights, he went to the body more, and mixed up his punches well. When Foreman had Davis on the ropes, he didn't preferred to allow Davis off the hook rather than press his advantage.

Foreman was proudest that he was able to implement what he and his trainer had worked on in the gym in the fight against Davis. Foreman was fluid throughout the bout while Davis was hesitant.

The former world champion described Davis as "a rugged fighter." He felt Davis was "good at landing combinations when he doesn't have to look for the opponent." Davis attempted to throw combos in the clinches against Foreman, something Yuri did his best to avoid. But after applying early pressure int he first round, Davis couldn't find Foreman because of the latter's movement and, as a result, was reluctant to throw punches.

In the fifth round, Davis was cut over his eye due to a clash of heads. Foreman began to target the eye with left hooks. Yuri sensed that Davis became more intense and applied more pressure in the aftermath of the cut. Foreman simply tried to stay in control in the face of Davis's perceived increase in aggressiveness.

Matt Richardson of FightNews.com was one of a smattering of Foreman critics following the fight. He characterized the bout as "a fairly dull fight" and a "snoozer." Richardson claimed a woman fell asleep in the front row during the contest and believes Yuri "has decent boxing skills but elects to run far more than punch, resulting in less than aesthetically pleasing performances."

To the general criticism that Foreman is a boring fighter, Yuri explained, "I like boxing. I like to use my brain [in the ring] and not use my brain as a punching bag. I like to outsmart my opponents." He added that if people don't appreciate that style, they don't have to watch. "They can turn the channel," he remarked.

One day after the fight, Foreman doesn't feel any soreness, but he is tired. "My fight was late last night and I had to wake up early for my kids. They don't care that I won last night. They won't let me sleep in." When asked if he told his eldest son Lev about the his victory, Yuri said that some friends had made a video of the bout for him and he showed it to his son. Lev then began throwing punches, but likely didn't understand that it was his father fighting and winning on the tape.

Foreman said his trainer believes he'll fight one more eight rounder and then move up to a ten round fight. For now, Foreman is taking a week off and going on vacation with his family. He'll be back in the gym in a week.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Foreman-Davis Weigh-In

Yuri Foreman (30-2, 8 KOs) and Jamaal Davis (14-9-1, 6 KOs) weighed in ahead of their clash tomorrow. The bout is scheduled for 8 rounds and will be held at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York.

Foreman weighed in at 154 pounds, winking as he left the scale. Davis was 155 pounds. The two men shook hands after the staredown and parted ways.



Davis weighs in at 1:59 of the video. Foreman comes in at 2:13. The staredown comes at 2:30.

Here is an interview Foreman gave to The Jewish Boxing Blog last week.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wohlman "Felt Amazing" in Last Fight

Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman grabbed his first win in a year on July 13 when he defeated Omar Avelar by way of unanimous decision. Wohlman advanced his record to 5-1-1 with one KO with the victory.

Wohlman hadn't fought since his first career defeat lat November. In an interview with The Jewish Boxing Blog, Wohlman described being back int he ring, saying it "felt amazing... I had a blast in the ring."

When asked if he was nervous, Wohlman admitted, "I wasn't concerned with the opponent; I was concerned with myself." He explained that while in the dressing room, "The thoughts that were going through my head was the real fight."

Zac also noted that he has made certain lifestyle changes since the loss and has developed a new confidence as a result.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Melson-Thompson Rematch Set

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson is scheduled to face Jason Thompson on August 14 at BB King Blues Club in New York, New York. The two fought to a controversial draw last October in the first ever bout at Brooklyn's Barclays Center last October.

In the first fight, Melson (now 11-1-1, 4 KOs) was nailed by a Thompson (now 5-6-3, 4 KOs) right and fell to the canvas in the first round. Without the flash knockdown, Melson would have won the round. From that point forward, Melson seemed to carry every round and he even knocked Thompson down in the third.

But each of the three judges scored the bout a 56-56 draw. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 58-54 for Melson. At the time, Melson told The JBB that he was "highly frustrated with the decision."

In a press release for the rematch, Melson commented, "Regardless of how I feel I performed or what I and others believe the outcome of the fight should have been, it was ruled a draw." Melson has shown respect for Thompson's ability and for the quality of opposition he's faced, but Melson asserts, "On August 14th, I will be special. I will look different in the ring."

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lefty Brooks to Face Undefeated Prospect Karl Dargan

Lightweight Michael "Lefty" Brooks is scheduled to face his toughest opponent to date, undefeated prospect Karl "Dynamite" Dargan. The battle is scheduled to take place on August 3 at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut on the undercard of card televised by NBC Sports Network that includes Tomasz Adamek and Eddie Chambers in separate bouts.

Dargan (13-0, 7 KOs), who is from Philadelphia, must be considered the favorite. A decorated amateur, Dargan has boxed in three more fights for a total of 13 more rounds than has Brooks. The great trainer, Nazim Richardson, is in Dargan's corner. Featuring superior hand speed and fleetness of foot, Dargan is also three inches taller than Brooks.

But Dargan's game does feature a few flaws. Against Ramesis Gil in February, Dargan suffered a flash knockdown almost immediately after the opening bell rang. Dargan often found himself square in that bout and was susceptible to body shots.

Brooks (9-0-1, 2 KOs) is a proficient body puncher. Though he can box, Brooks prefers to come forward at his opponents. Lefty, who is three years younger than Dargan, is coming off of an injury suffered in May. Dargan has faced the slightly tougher competition of late.

For Brooks to pull off the upset, he'll need to focus on Dargan's body. Once his opponent brings his hands down, Brooks may be able to hurt Dargan with a right hook and left cross when Karl squares up. Michael will need to keep his hands active and be the aggressor. Dargan's key to success will involve negating Lefty's body attack with movement and using his faster hands to land the harder punches during exchanges.

Both men signify each other's toughest test to date. This fight is scheduled for six rounds.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yuri Foreman on Jewish Boxing

In an interview with The Jewish Boxing Blog, former world champion Yuri Foreman discussed why his favorite Jewish boxer of all time is Barney Ross and what being a Jewish boxer means to him.

Foreman explained that Ross is his favorite Jewish boxer because of the latter's background. Ross, born in New York, grew up in Chicago as the son of immigrants. Foreman admired Ross's character. A three-division world champion, Ross fought in World War II. Foreman sees similarities between himself and the late legend.

Yuri declared that being Jewish has not hindered his boxing career at all. He noted that big fights are usually on Saturday night and promoters tend to be respectful of Foreman's observance of Shabbat. His fights are scheduled for after sundown when they take place on a Saturday night. Foreman believes that his observance of Shabbat is in fact an advantage. It allows him to have a day of rest before his fight.

Foreman believes that being a Jewish boxer, he is in an important position to inspire Jewish kids. he contends, "Maybe they see me and say they can be whatever they want to be."


Note: Yuri Foreman was asked for his favorite Jewish boxer and non-Jewish boxer for The Jewish Boxing Blog Presents: The Fights. The favorites of eight Jewish boxers are featured in the book along with any explanations they provided.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Groenteman to Return on August 31

Junior welterweight Barry Groenteman is scheduled to return to the ring on August 31 in Pumerand, Netherlands. This will be Barry's first fight since a January victory over Samir Boukrara. In April, he had to pull out of a fight due to injury for the first time in his career.

The battle in August is preparation for Groenteman's defense of the Dutch junior welterweight title. Barry is scheduled to face Innocent Anyanwu at Theater Carré in Amsterdam, Netherlands with the belt at stake.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yuri Foreman's Ready to Continue His Comeback

Junior middleweight Yuri Foreman is scheduled to face Jamaal Davis on July 24 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York. In a phone interview with The Jewish Boxing Blog- as dishes clanged in the background- Foreman (30-2, 8 KOs) said of Davis (14-9-1, 6 KOs), "He's been around, has decent speed, good combos, and knows how to box." Foreman said training was going well, but was hard. He's working on developing his skills and is not worried about his opponent's style, although he does have a Plan B if something goes wrong.

Foreman is coming off of a six-round unanimous decision victory over Gundrick King in April. For that fight, Yuri said he started boxing early to feel out his opponent. He labeled King a "strong guy with a tight defense" and noted that King threw dangerous counters. King's southpaw stance was not an issue for Foreman who had won the world championship against a southpaw, Daniel Santos, in 2009. In the sixth round against King, Foreman pressed the action, but the knockout didn't come.

The King fight was his second comeback victory following a two-year layoff. When asked why he lost motivation after reaching the high point of his career following his courageous performance against Miguel Cotto, Foreman enumerated a few reasons. There were a few changes including the absence of his familiar trainer, Joe Grier. He felt his new training camp did not have the same energy as Grier's normally did.

As a result, Foreman struggled to recapture the love of boxing he once had. He tried to convince himself that his lack of desire would fade, but it didn't. He admitted he needed to be honest with himself and he hadn't been. Foreman attempted to explain, "I was feeling- what's the word?" His wife then called out from across the room, "Burnout."

Foreman found the motivation to return to the sport because he "missed the action. I was going to the gym regularly and became energized again." Yuri continued, "I was doing roadwork and imagining my next fight, but I didn't have one." He realized his love for the sport had returned.

When asked about the perception within the media that Foreman has "no power" and is "feather-fisted," Yuri joked, "It doesn't bother me. Then my opponent shouldn't be afraid of [my] punches." But he then added, "I'm not going to make any predictions, but that's going to change."

His next bout against Davis is scheduled for eight rounds. Yuri hasn't fought as many rounds since his loss to Cotto in June of 2010, but Foreman claimed the distance wouldn't be an issue, because sparring has prepared him to go eight rounds.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wohlman Wins Comeback Fight

Zachary Wohlman earned his first win in a little over a year with his unanimous decision victory over Omar Avelar at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California last night. Wohlman outboxed Avelar on his way to winning with three scores of 40-36.

This win against an over-matched opponent is just the first step for Zachary towards recapturing the status he held before last November's loss. Wohlman advances his career mark to 5-1-1 with one KO. Avelar falls to 2-8 with one KO.

Before the fight, Wohlman was featured in an article in The Hundreds.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wohlman to Face Avelar

Zachary Wohlman's opponent for his comeback fight is scheduled to be Omar Avelar at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California. The bout is scheduled to take place tomorrow and is slated for four rounds.

Wohlman (4-1-1, 1 KO) suffered his lone career defeat in his last fight, a fourth round stoppage at the hands of Alonzo Loeza. That contest took place last November. So far in 2013, Wohlman has had two fights cancelled.

Avelar (2-7, 1 KO), a 23-year-old, is from the Lummi Reservation in Washington. He's lost his last four fights, all stoppages, including one in May and is a couple of inches shorter than Wohlman. Against Javier Garcia in March, Avelar often rushed in off balance, leaving his head exposed while he wildly threw wide punches. He was stopped in the second round of that bout.

Avelar is also an MMA fighter. In that sport, he's had more success than he's had in boxing, but he's lost two  fights in 2013, both first round submissions. His last bout was just three weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chilemba Wins Medal

Light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba was awarded a medal by the president of Malawi, Joyce Banda, at the country's 49th anniversary celebration last weekend. Chilemba (20-2-2, 9 KOs) is coming off of two controversial matches with Tony Bellew this past spring.

In the estimation of many pundits, including The Jewish Boxing Blog, Chilemba deserved victory in both fights, but the two contests were admittedly hard to judge. Bellew is now in line to face the recognized light heavyweight champion of the world, Adonis Stevenson.