Have news relating to Jewish boxers? Email the editor here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lazarev Stopped, Ismailov Wins Debut

Lightweight Igor Lazarev suffered his first professional defeat in a bout against Binali Shakhmandarov in Tirana, Albania this past Sunday. After a close first round, Igor was stopped in the second.

Each judge scored the first round differently. One gave it to Lazarev, the other to Shakhmandarov, and the third scored it even. Lazarev suffered the worst of his 31 professional rounds in the second. He was knocked down on a couple of occasions before his corner asked referee Marsel Dhima to halt the contest a minute and 17 seconds in. The 34 year old Lazarev is now 6-1 with two KOs. Shakhmandarov, a 21 year old Ukrainian-born resident of Istanbul is 1-0-1.

Sagiv Ismailov debuted impressively on the same card in Tirana, Albania on Sunday. He stopped a 17 year old Albanian debutant named Flori Hoxhallari earning a TKO victory. Coincidentally, Ismailov's fight stopped at one minute and 17 seconds of the second round, the same second as Lazarev's fight completed.

Ismailov is an 18 year old super middleweight who worked in Tony Milch's Gloves and Doves program. According to Milch, Ismailov is from Bnei Ayish, Israel. The town is mostly made of Jews from Yemen and the former Soviet Union. Though Ismailov just turned 18 last month, Milch notes he is "good enough skill wise and now mature enough to box professionally."  Milch describes Ismailov as "very strong" for his age, but someone his team will build up slowly.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Ostroumov Saddled with Draw, Deserved to Win

The judges ruled Mikhael Ostroumov's fight with Ravshan Ergashev today at the USC Soviet Wings in Moscow, Russia a majority draw. Both boxers kept their undefeated records. Contrary to the official result, Ostroumov deserved his second career victory in as many pro fights.

Ostroumov, a southpaw super middleweight, set the tone in the opening second of the fight with a straight left. He outboxed Ergashev using that straight left as the Russian-based Uzbek brawler rushed in. Nicknamed "The Babyface Assassin" Ostroumov effectively ducked Ergashav's wild left hooks.

In the second, the 22-year old from Israel landed a left that forced Ergashev to perform an impromptu chicken dance. Throughout the round, Ostroumov went to the body effectively with both hands. At the end of the stanza, he took a half step back to avoid an Ergashev onslaught and countered beautifully. By the third round, Ostroumov bullied his usually aggressive volume-punching opponent. Ravshan was visibly frustrated when the bell rang to signify the end of the third.

Mikhael was extremely impressive against a tough foe. He looked like a 15-fight veteran, not a novice in his second pro fight. Ostroumov boxed when he wanted and forced an ineffective Ergashev on the backfoot when he desired. Four of Ravshan's five wins have come against opponents with a winning record, but Ostroumov made him look like an amateur. But Mikhael, who looks like a real climber, needs to improve his stamina.

Ergashev is a rugged brawler. He often led with his head, which bloodied Ostroumov's nose in the second round. By the fourth, Mikhael showed signs of exhaustion, and he held much more than he had previously. Ergashev landed a nice short right and a right uppercut in the round. Ostroumov had a better fifth, but his body language was unmistakable. Weariness was his toughest foe of the night. Though he landed some nice straight lefts and controlled center ring for some of the round, Ergashev kept flinging his wild punches, outworking the Israeli southpaw.

Boxing judges are supposed to score clean effective punching, ring generalship, and defense. If they had done so, Mikhael Ostroumov would be 2-0. Instead, these judges scored the sixth by using the criteria of 1980s Hip Hop. A tired Ergashev waved his hands like he just didn't care and then he screamed. The sight of Ergashev wildly swinging his arms with no intent to land punches while shouting can only be described as bizarre. As the seconds rolled by, the 28 year old's plan became apparent: he was attempting to con the judges into believing he was fresh and busy. In reality, if he landed a punch in the last round, it was by accident. A visibly worn down Ostroumov landed clean straight lefts so regularly that blood trickled from around Ergashev's eye.

When the first score was read- Ergashev by a point- Mikhael was confused. When the next two scores were read- 57 even- he was disappointed. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the fight 58-56 for Ostroumov, who is now 1-0-1 with 1 KO. Ergashev is 5-0-1 with 2 KOs.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Ostroumov in Tough against Ergashev

Israel-born super middleweight Mikhael Ostroumov is scheduled to face Ravshan Ergashev on September 4 at USC Soviet Wings in Moscow, Russia. Russia has had nearly a million cases of coronavirus and 16,000 deaths. Over 4,000 new cases and 100 death were reported today. If it takes place, this will be a battle between undefeated fighters just starting their professional careers.

Ostroumov, a 22 year old southpaw based in Russia, won his pro debut by TKO in June against a journeyman. Ergashev is 5-0 with two KOs. Born in Uzbekistan, the 28 year old fought for Russia as an amateur.

Uzbekistan has been a hotbed for prospects recently producing Israil Madrimov, Bektemir Melikuziev, and Murodjon Akhmadaliev to name a few. Ergashev fought Madrimov in the amateurs. Madrimov outboxed a game and competitive Ergashev to win by decision.

Ergashev is an aggressive pressure fighter and volume puncher. In his five pro fights, he has shown an indomitable determination and a propensity to wear down his foes. He is far from the most accurate puncher, but his misses often set up his best shot, a chopping counter right. Defensively, he keeps a high guard when pressing forward, and bounces and wiggles his upperbody so he's not a stationary target. In his first four fights, Ergashev's opponents all entered with a winning ledger, combining for a 9-1 record.

The tough Russian has experience against southpaws as well. Madrimov, the amateur standoff, is one. In Ergashev's debut, Rustam Svayev switched stances, but Svayev had been worn down by the second round and spent most of the fight squared up. Ergashev's third opponent, Artem Sarbei, was a full-fledged lefty. In a tiny ring, Sarbei used the ropes to scratch his back for most of the fight, so Ergashev hasn't truly been tested by a southpaw such as Ostroumov in the pros.

Ergashev has his flaws which Ostroumov can exploit. In the fifth round of his fight against Cuban Raiko Santana, Ergashev became frustrated with Santana's movement and slipperiness. Santana's problem was he only occasionally threw a potshot or a counter. The Uzbek Russian has already been cut twice as a pro, once in his second fight against Ilya Baladin and again against Santana. Ergashev has a bad habit of yelling when he punches which requires him to open his mouth. That leaves him susceptible to a broken jaw if Ostroumov can land on the chin as Ergashev yelps.

None of Ergashev's opponents have targeted his body, the typical way to slow down a pressure fighter. A body attack is likely Ostroumov's best hope. He showed a willingness to punish the midsection in his pro debut. Though Ravshan has boxed 25 pro rounds to Ostroumov's one and change, he hasn't stepped in the ring for money in over a year and has fought just under three minutes in the past two years. Though he turned pro in 2017, strangely he has been active as an amateur boxer in the past year as the lines between pro and amateur continue to blur.

This bout is set for six rounds. Ergashev has fought two six-rounders and one eight-rounder, but he did fade late in two of those contests. Ostromouv has fought for a total of three minutes and 34 seconds.