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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Mor Oknin to Fight on March 10 in Mexico City

Flyweight Mor Oknin is scheduled to fight on March 10 at the Ciudad Deportiva Carmen Serdán in Mexico City, Mexico. This fight is promoted by TT Boxing Promotions and will be Oknin's fourth fight in Mexico.

Oknin is from Netanya, Israel. BoxRec lists his record as 1-1, but he says it's 3-0 with 3 KOs. BoxRec only lists results given to them by the presiding commission, which Oknin says gave him an undeserved loss when he actually won back in 2022. His last fight, a stoppage victory after the third round on September 3, is not listed on BoxRec.

Oknin, a cancer survivor, works at his family's furniture store and offers personalized training sessions when not in training himself. He recently got in some work with former Olympian Yacov Shmuel, now a coach.

No opponent has yet been named.

Oknin is featured in the top row, second from the left.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Josh Feldman's All In

"Even if I don't have a fight, I can't stop training," Josh Feldman told SA Boxing Talk ahead of his March 8 bout against Sibusiso Muteleni at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa. "Right now, I feel I'm in the best shape."

The Cape Town native said he is all-in. "I'm taking this so seriously. I just care about training, watching film, and sleeping. I believe I'm going to be the best in the country soon."

Because of his commitment to training, Feldman has had no problem making the junior middleweight limit. "I don't have to cut a lot of weight. I feel strong. I definitely think I'll stay at this weight for maybe the next couple years." He told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "When I'm not in camp, I walk around at about 76 kg [about 167 pounds]." Two weeks from his third pro fight, he said he's now 162 lbs.

Feldman began his camp at home in Cape Town where he trains at Blood, Sweat, and Tears Boxing Gym. "My coaches in Cape Town at Blood, Sweat, and Tears worked me so hard," he told SA Boxing Talk's Hayden Jones. To The JBB, he added, "In Cape Town, I got some good sparring with a fighter named Dylan Prosser." A 24 year old, Prosser is a 3-0 pro.

Feldman's camp then shifted to Johannesburg where he trains at Colin Nathan's Hot Box Gym. "In Johannesburg, I'm sparring with a variety of people." He named a tough, young road warrior named Simnikiwe Bongco (4-4) and undefeated four-year pro Cayden Truter (7-0) as fighters who have given him good work. His usual main sparring partner, Almighty Creed Moyo, is missing this camp due to an injury.

The 19-year old is ready for his next opponent, Sibusiso Muteleni. "Actually, I saw a short video of his first fight," he told Jones. "He looks pretty basic, but looks like he might have a bit of fundamentals. But nothing I can't deal with. So, I'm really excited. I hope he shows up with his 'A' game. I'm ready for a hard fight."

For this camp, Feldman has been working on fine-tuning his skills and sitting down on his punches to generate more power. "I feel like I'm very fit, so I just want to properly hone my skills. I've learned to sit down on my punches more. It's really different than the amateurs."

His coaches helped him realize after his first fight last October that he need a change in style now that he's a prizefighter. "You're not just trying to outpoint the guy and land more punches, but you're trying to do damage. So when I'm working the bag, hitting the pads, sparring, I'm trying to properly sit down and pick my shots rather than throw more shots and not do any damage."

Feldman is anxious to stay active. "I would fight every week if I could," he joked. "I'd like to fight four or five times [this year] realistically." That activity will lead to longer fights, something Feldman craves.

"I feel like I'm starting to get very comfortable in the ring. I'm excited for the fights when they start getting six, eight rounds. I feel like I'm going to do better, because later into the fight I'm going to start adjusting, getting more comfortable, and that's when I fight the best," he said in the SA Boxing Talk interview.

"I'm a very skilled fighter, technical, so late into the fight, once I've found my range and I've gotten used to where punches are coming from from the opponent, I'm going to start then using my skills and picking him off, and eventually get a stoppage late."

Feldman exudes a quiet confidence. When asked about stablemate Sive Nontshinga, who just regained the IBF light flyweight world title last Friday, Josh's eyes lit up. He said of Nontshinga's inspirational win, "It's amazing to see, because he just trains so hard. You see how skillful he is in sparring and training. I knew he would do it, but it's great to see it actually happen."

Feldman has the mindset to reach his goals one day. "I'm not getting worn out by the sport. I'm just getting hungrier."

When asked about opponents down the road, Feldman responded, "Roark Knapp is the main guy. In the next couple years, I'd definitely love to fight him if he's still active. He's an inspiration to someone like me to see him climb the ladder."

He has a message, not just for Knapp, but for all potential opponents, "Catch me now, because I'm just getting better."

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Benny Nizard to Make Pro Debut

Junior middleweight Benny Nizard is scheduled to make his professional debut on March 9 at Palais des sports Marcel Cerdan in Levallois-Perret, France. He will face Avend Yassin, a 33 year old with a 1-0-1 record.

Nizard is a 19 year old from Paris. The two-time French amateur champion is the son of Stephane Nizard, a popular boxer in Paris during the 1990s. Benny had his first amateur fight at 15 years old and has fought out of Maccabi Paris under the tutelage of Michael Cohen.

After winning the French amateur title late last year, he has been living in Israel the past couple of months. A southpaw, Benny won't have to cut much weight to make the junior middleweight limit. He typically walks around between 160 and 165 pounds.

Yassin is a tough opponent for Benny's pro debut. Born in Iraq, he took up boxing in 2013 in France. Yassin is from Ploufragan and trained at the nearby Plérin Boxing Club. A veteran of 45 amateur bouts, he currently owns a couple of men's hair salons in addition to his boxing exploits.

On September 29 last year, Yassin fought fellow debutant Dylan Coquillant to a draw in a four-rounder. On December 9, he beat Miguel Dumail by majority decision.

Nizard-Yassin will be promoted by Y12 Boxing and is scheduled for four rounds.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

In His Brother's Shadow: A Profile of Joey Silver

Joey Silver was a popular fighter in San Francisco during the 1920s, but he never reached the heights of his older brother Jack. Though Joey was considered a good prospect, a three-year hiatus quelled his career's momentum. After a brief comeback, he retired at the tender age of 25.

Joseph Silverstein was born in the Portola district of San Francisco, California in 1907. The seventh of eight children born to Morris and Molly, he was three and half years younger than the sixth child, Jacob. Jacob, who would go by Jack, entered the Navy where he learned to box. He turned pro in 1922 and he became extremely popular in San Francisco.

Younger brother Joey hoped to follow in Jack's footsteps. He even shortened his surname to Silver, just as Jack had done. Joey turned professional on January 22, 1926 at Dreamland Rink in San Francisco. Jack had headlined at Dreamland countless times over the past few years.

Turning Pro
Joey Silver won his first bout unimpressively but stole the show in his second against Jack Colotta in February. Joey was caught flush four or five times, but he just shook his head, smiled, and fired back. The crowd loved it. Quickly, Joey built up a good record, albeit against inexperienced opponents and mediocre journeymen. By 1927, the press began calling him "promising." In May and June of that year, Silver faced Pete Meyers in a controversial trilogy.

Joey had been friends with Meyers, who grew up in the nearby Potrero neighborhood. On May 24, referee Benny Wagner raised the arms of both fighters after a tough six-round battle. Once the fans realized Wagner had called it a draw, most "hollered themselves hoarse at the referee. They thought Silver won." On June 7, Meyers was given the decision by an unnamed referee in a six-rounder. The San Francisco Bulletin felt Meyers's hand was raised "for no reason if the fight were judged on execution." It was only Joey's second loss in twenty pro fights.

Silver finally earned his revenge on June 21 over the "Potrero Pole." Benny Wagner gave the verdict to Silver after the ten-rounder. Three years later, Wagner and fellow referee Toby Irwin went public with allegations against Tom Laird of the San Francisco News, claiming the sports editor had tried to influence their decisions in certain matches, including Silver-Meyers.

"Meyers is a swell fellow. Get his hands up tonight," Laird allegedly told Wagner before the third fight. "I'm interested. You'll be taken care of." Publicly, Wagner only mentioned the third fight; the one he called for Silver. If Laird had pressured Wagner before the third fight, it's hard to imagine he didn't do so before the earlier fights as well. Apparently, nothing came of it as Laird was celebrated upon reaching his thirteenth anniversary at the paper in 1941.

After two more wins, Silver beat the Hawaiian champ Johnny Priston when the latter broke his hand in the fourth round. Two weeks later, in September of 1927, Toby Irwin disqualified Silver for a low blow in the second round against Billy Adams. "Billy Adams missed his vocation," wrote Alex X. McCausland. "He should have been an actor, not a fighter." It amounted to another frustrating loss for the man known mostly as "Jack's brother."

Facing the Best
Silver next fought the reigning Olympic featherweight champion and future two-time welterweight world champion, Jackie Fields. It would be Joey's toughest test. Fields had knocked out his brother Jack the previous year. The fight against Joey was almost nixed at the last moment. The headliner, welterweight world champion Joe Dundee, wouldn't fight until he received his guarantee in cash before the fight. The promoter asked if Fields could fill in for Dundee and fight in the main event, but Fields's manager was opposed to the last minute change. With all the commotion, the fight was delayed a couple of hours.

Silver had some good moments in his biggest fight. He hurt Fields twice during the ten rounds, but Fields opened up a cut over Joey's left eye and split his lip. Fields won seven of the rounds in a fight that was overshadowed by the Dundee affair. After snatching revenge from Billy Adams, Silver closed out the year by facing the other toughest opponent of his career.

Hyman Gold fought under the name Oakland Jimmy Duffy. He had amassed a hundred wins in his career by the time he faced Silver late in 1927. Duffy came in overweight, six and half pounds heavier than Silver for their bout in Oakland. Duffy outboxed Joey to win by decision, but he was later suspended for missing weight so badly.

By 1928, Silver was considered a rising young welterweight. He didn't pack a powerful punch nor was he the nimblest boxer. Joey's popularity was due to his gameness. On March 14, he fought Jimmy Evans. Silver was the favorite, but Evans whipped him. Joey didn't fight again for five months, and when he did, he lost twice. Then, he retired.

Two Retirements
Even in retirement, his brother stole the headlines. Jack and Joey retired together, which earned Jack top billing. A desire to make a steady income was the reason given for their retirement. But it was likely more. Their mother had died that year. And Joey's year in the ring had been exasperating; ridiculous decisions and a spate of losses likely contributed to his impulse to do something else.

In his time away from the ring, Joey drove a truck, worked as a clerk, and became a patrolman. Failing to settle on a career, he came back to boxing in 1931 and gave a good account of himself in a draw against veteran George Brazelton. Joey scored three wins before the comeback fizzled.

Early in 1932, Silver retired again, this time for good. He felt he couldn't get the big names into the ring. "What's the use of remaining in the racket," he wondered. "Every time I try to get 'em into the ring with me they play the duck." He finished with a record of 25-10-4 with 9 KOs.

By 1935, Joey moved to Reno, Nevada and worked as a dealer at the dangerous Bank Club Casino. At some point before 1940, he married Catherine, a New Yorker who had moved to San Francisco. He spent some time serving as a judge for amateur boxing tournaments. In 1944, he was working as an electrician in a local war plant. After the war, he returned to his job as a dealer at the casino.

In 1962, Joey got into a car accident. On February 2, he tragically died of his injuries caused by the wreck. Survived by his wife and three children, his obituary described him as "a prominent San Francisco boxer in the 20's and a brother of Jack Silver, well known referee." Jack Silver's brother was 55 years old.

Baum. A.T. "Irwin, Wagner Aver Approach Made by Same Newspaperman." The San Francisco Examiner. Sep. 11, 1930. Pg. 21.
"Evans Winner over Joey Silver in Ring." Los Angeles Times. Mar. 15, 1928. Pg. B1.
"Joey Silver Dies at Age 55." The San Francisco Examiner. Feb. 4, 1962.
"Joey Silver Vows He Will Whip Meyers." San Francisco Bulletin. Jun 20, 1927. Pg. 12.
McCausland, Alec X. "Adams Declared Victor on Foul over Silver." The San Francisco Examiner. Oct. 1, 1927. Pg. 30.
"Sports Notables Fete Tom Laird, S.F. Sports Writer for 30 Years." The Fresno Bee. Feb. 11, 1941.
“Title Bout is Flop." Los Angeles Times. Nov. 4, 1927. Pg. 1.
U.S. Censuses from 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950.