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Friday, November 13, 2020

Yuri Foreman to Return Next Month

Rabbi Yuri Foreman is scheduled to fight Jeremy Ramos on December 5 at the Kentucky Center for  African American Heritage in Louisville. Foreman, who is unquestionably the best Jewish boxer of his generation, will enter the ring for the first time in nearly four years.

Foreman (34-3, 10 KOs) won the WBA junior middleweight championship in 2009. All three of his losses have been to world class competition. He lost his title in 2010 to future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto when Yuri tore his ACL. He lost to Pawel Wolak just nine months after that devastating injury. In his last fight, on January 13, 2017, he fell to Erislandy Lara. Lara held two junior middleweight belts and was considered a top ten pound-for-pound fighter at the time.

An old maxim is a boxer's punch is the last thing to go. Foreman, who turned 40 years old in August, is a mover not a puncher. Typically the best older fighters resemble Yuri's namesake, George Foreman, who punched like a mule and possessed a chin of granite on his way to capture the heavyweight championship of the world at the age of 45. Yuri doesn't have a style that typically lends itself to success at an advanced age, but these days 40 is the new 30 in boxing. Another Yuri, Yuriorkis Gamboa, relies on quick reflexes but as he pushes 40, he has remained competitive with some of the best in the sport. In December, Gamboa made it into the 12th against a top ten pound-for-pound foe Gervonta Davis, and last Saturday he went the distance with one of boxing's brightest young stars, Devin Haney. 

Jeremy Ramos is a barber that sports a record of 11-9 with 4 KOs. Yet the Puerto Rican native based in Colorado is much better than his record and alternate profession suggest. He's had a Dickensian boxing career thus far. After winning nine of his first ten bouts, he has lost eight of his last ten, including his last three. Recently, Ramos is the type of fighter who does just enough to lose nearly every round close. That's what he did last year against undefeated prospects Alex Rincon and the late Travell Mazion, who tragically died in car accident this summer. Ramos was competitive this summer against Shane Mosley Jr., the son of the legend, though he was shutout on two of the judges' cards.

Ramos, who is 33 years old, has fought against an opponent with a winning record in all but four of his 20 fights. His best win was his last one, a unanimous decision victory in March of 2019 against Neeco Macias. Macias, who was 17-1 at the time, was known for throwing hundreds of punches a round. Ramos sent the Rooster into retirement. In Foreman, Ramos couldn't face a fighter with a style more different than Macias. Macias stood in front of his opponents constantly firing shots without the slightest concern for defense. Foreman is the consummate boxer.  Yuri will try to avoid duplicating the performance of Jamar Freeman, the last pure boxer Ramos fought. In their 2017 clash, Ramos outhustled Freeman, who didn't do much more than offer the occasional jab in losing a unanimous decision to Ramos in Jamar's home state.

In his prime, Foreman would likely box circles around a game Ramos. But, even more than his age, Foreman's inactivity may prohibit him from returning to his peak. Ramos has fought six times with a 21-month layoff sprinkled in since Foreman last participated in a prize fight. In fact, Yuri has fought only three times in the past seven years. But he has been steadily training and has been enrolled in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association for the past couple of years- something every boxer should do- an indication of his seriousness in returning to the ring. Ramos is a perfect test for Foreman at this stage. Jeremy has only lost to fighters who are a level below world class, so if Yuri wins in impressive fashion, we'll know this comeback is serious. But it won't be easy.

The rabbi and the barber are slated to tussle in an eight round affair.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Ostroumov Wins Grueling Bout

Mikhael Ostroumov defeated Vasily Shtyk be way of decisive decision last night at USC Soviet Wings in Moscow, Russia. In a battle of southpaws, Ostroumov’s relentless pressure and volume punching carried the fight.

Shtyk, a 26 year old based in Russia, impressed in the opening round. In his previous fight against Shamil Khataev, Shytk boxed, but he stood his ground early in this contest. Shtyk connected with solid power jabs as Ostroumov came straight forward with his hands up. While the 22 year old Israeli-native bullied Shtyk and landed a solid left in the first, Shtyk landed the best punch of the round, a right hook that wobbled Ostroumov. Shtyk followed up with some additional clean punches but soon backed off.

The second round featured a similar flow as the first except Ostroumov was more effective. He continued to press forward and Shtyk spent most of the round with his back on the ropes. Ostroumov is a body basher, and his assault to the midsection wore down Shtyk and took away his will.

Shtyk rabbit punched incessantly beginning in that second round and continuing throughout the fight. Ostroumov landed a retaliatory low right, and Shtyk reacted as if he had forgotten his cup. It was a telling moment. Ostroumov never complained as he continued to eat headbutts, endure shots to the back of his head, and receive punches on the break. Instead, he stayed focus on the goal. Shtyk, on the other hand, wasn’t as stoic. He opened the third with a good jab as Ostroumov carelessly rushed forward, and a bit later he landed a check right hook, but that was essentially his last gasp.

Shtyk had another dramatic reaction to a low right in the third. In the next round, he lost a point for hitting on the break, which didn’t deter him from continuing to foul. Incongruously, Shtyk looked for a way out of the increasingly ugly beating he absorbed while remaining in the fight, taking his licks, and even fighting back, albeit to an ever-diminishing degree.

The final two rounds constituted a showcase for Ostroumov. He wouldn’t stop punching and he kept landing more crushing blows. His overhand left was particularly fetching. He threw powerful combinations, turned to another angle, and hit Shtyk some more. The referee was well within his right to stop the fight in the first minute of the final round. Though Shtyk resorted exclusively to illegal punches by the sixth, and the ref had to remind him to turn around and fight after a break, he was physically very tough, and survived the battering. His heart might not be made of iron, but his chin is.

The ring announcer declared Ostroumov the winner without reading the scores, but the The JBB had it 59-54, only giving Shtyk the first. Ostroumov is now 2-0-1 with one KO and Shtyk falls to 1-2 with one KO.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Ostroumov Scheduled to Fight Vasily Shtyk on Friday

Super middleweight Mikhael Ostroumov is scheduled to face Vasily Shtyk on Friday at USC Soviet Wings in Moscow, Russia. Ostroumov is 1-0-1 with one KO while Shtyk is 1-1 with one KO.

Ostroumov is a 22 year old southpaw who fought to a disputed draw against Ravshan Ergashev, who was 5-0, on September 4. The JBB scored the bout for Ostroumov. All of the Israeli native's pro bouts have been held at this same arena.

Shtyk's shtick is boxing behind the stick. Though he owns an even record, he's no stiff. A 26 year old southpaw born in Belarus who fights out of town near Ikutsk near the Mongolian border, Shtyk was a decent amateur who had some success within Russia. Two years ago, Shtyk defeated Dmitriy Belykh in Irtusk by way of third round TKO. That has been Belykh's only pro fight.

Last month, Shtyk took on 3-0 Shamil Khataev, who had some international success as an amateur. In the bout, Shtyk used his jab to keep distance early. He doesn't possess the fastest hands or perfect punching technique, but he showed a potentially dangerous left hand. Vasily can loop the left and throw it straight down the middle effectively. He didn't throw any right hooks or uppercuts, he ignored the body, and didn't look to counter. Though only one judge gave him as much as a round, Shtyk was competitive during the first four rounds of an eight-round affair against Khataev.

Ostroumov is listed as three inches taller, and he is four years younger. Mikhael showed impressive skill and toughness in his last bout. Shtyk came apart a bit in the second half of his fight against Khataev. He didn't show the necessary mental toughness beginning in the fifth round. He often ignored the most important rule of boxing: protect yourself at all times. He constantly complained to the referee when he felt he was hit low, throwing his hands down and stepping back, leaving himself exposed. He suffered a bad cut by his right eye in the eighth round- fewer than two months ago mind you- and didn't handle it well. Shtyk spent the final round either running or holding. He turned his back to his opponent several times after breaks indicating he didn't want to be there.

This bout is now scheduled for six rounds.