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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year That Was

As was the case last year, apologies for having a year in review now as opposed to around Rosh Hashanah. But 2011 was a year of expectations unfulfilled in Jewish boxing.

The two big fights came within three weeks of each other about nine months ago. Junior middleweight Yuri Foreman lost to Pawel Wolak in March. Foreman cited a lack of hunger and has taken the rest of the year off. In April, Ran Nakash got a surprise opportunity to fight for the WBO belt against Marco Huck in Germany. Huck won a unanimous decision in a fight that Steve Kim of MaxBoxing.com labeled as one of the four most controversial verdicts of the year. Kim wasn't the only one who felt this way.

Numerous fights involving Jewish boxers fell through this year. Nakash wasn't able to find a willing opponent after his gritty title challenge. Welterweight Dmitriy Salita saw a fight with Ismael El Massoudi nearly usurped. Alexander Frenkel, who held the European cruiserweight belt, had numerous bouts against various veteran European fighters fall through. Frenkel has since lost the fire to box and is taking time off. Max Heyman had a fight scheduled with prospect Gayrat Ahmedov, but injured his hand in training.

However, there are many positives going forward for fans of Jewish boxing. In many ways, this year signified a changing of the guard. Boyd Melson, Cletus Seldin, and Zachary Wohlman are all undefeated. The three combined to go 12-0 with seven knockouts in 2011. The three should be active in 2012 as well.

Adn there's more good news. Nakash is scheduled to fight in January. Salita is in negotiations with El Massoudi once again. Foreman has indicated that he plans on returning to the ring in the coming year.

Stay tuned boxing fans.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Foreman on His Fight with Cotto & More

Here's a fun interview for IsraelSportsRadio.com with Yuri Foreman from this past Summer. Foreman describes his fight with Cotto and journey to rediscover the fire that led him to become a world champion. Foreman has since stated his intention to fight in 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Salita on His Next Fight

Dmitriy Salita was on IsraelSportsRadio.com this month. He discussed recent developments involving musician Matisyahu, being famous, and his work with kids.

Salita also explained the circumstances with a possible upcoming fight with Ismael El Massoudi. Salita has been scheduled to fight El Massoudi in early November, but Matthew Hatton attempted to usurp the bout. Salita sued and won. Now, he is currently negotiating with El Massoudi's people once again.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Look Back: David Dusang

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

Sadly, David Dusang died last month. Dusang wasn't a world champion boxer, but he was an inspiration to many and led a truly impactful life.

David Dusang was born in 1963 and grew up in Winnipeg, Canada. His father, Ken, had had a few professional bouts and inspired David to take an interest in boxing. The son trained with his older brother in a makeshift gym Ken had set up in the family basement. David would go on to become a noted amateur.

Dusang, who would mostly fight at welterweight, made his professional debut on February 12, 1981 when he was 18 years old. Laurie Mann knocked him out in the first round. But Dusang didn't quit. He rattled off ten consecutive wins over the next two and half years.

Dusang, nicknamed the "Jewish Bomber," was known for his hand speed and his movement. Promoter Tommy Burns described Dusang as such, "He has great footwork, quick hands and lots of skill, but he’s too smart to be a boxer. He doesn’t like to get hit and when you stop and think about it, there is nothing wrong with that. You just have to find something else to do.”

The Jewish Bomber, who proudly wore the Star of David on his trunks, earned a rematch against Laurie Mann on December 6, 1983. Mann was 15-1 as Dusang hoped to avenge his only loss. But it wasn't to be. Mann repeated his earlier performance, knocking out Dusang in the first round.

Dusang had one more fight in 1984, before retiring with an 11-2 record and six KOs. His father Ken said of David, "He was a good boxer as a young man back in the day, but he was really a better adult. He had a wonderful career in business and was a great husband and father. David was a fine, fine man.”

Dusang attended the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba after his boxing career. He was a successful advertising executive, including a long stint with Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays.

On November 17, 2011, Dusang was tragically killed in a car accident when a speeding truck ran into his car near Toronto, where Dusang lived. After his death, a friend eulogized, "Dave was pure sweetness, kindness, a compassionate man, a good soul... He was sincere, dedicated, determined. He was an incredible gift to all that knew him."

Rosen, Harvey. "In Memory of David Dusang." The Canadian Jewish News. 2011.
Taylor, Scott. "Former boxer David Dusang dies in car crash."  The Jewish Post & News. 2011.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Melson Ends Year with a KO

Boyd Melson, a junior middleweight, ended 2011 with another victory, his sixth of the year. Melson stopped his opponent, Danny Lugo, 2:01 into the third round of their scheduled six-round affair at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday night.

A quick right hook following a break put Lugo down and ended the contest. Melson advances to 7-0 and stacked up his fourth career KO. Lugo falls to 1-3. It was the first time Lugo has been stopped.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nakash to Return in January

Former world title challenger Ran Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) is scheduled to return to action on January 21, 2012 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York. This would be Nakash's first fight since facing Marco Huck for the WBO cruiserweight belt last April.

In that fight, Nakash gave a good account of himself. Many observers felt he did enough to earn a draw as he dominated the first half of the contest. The Krav Maga expert from Israel ran out of gas during the second half. Since the fight took place in Germany, the hometown Huck got the benefit of the doubt, winning a unanimous decision by a wide margin.

No opponent has been named for Nakash as of yet. This would be the first fight of his career in New York.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Melson to Face Lugo

Boyd Melson (6-0, three KOs) is scheduled to face Daniel Lugo (1-2) in a six-round junior middleweight affair this Saturday in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This is will be Melson's sixth fight of 2011.

Melson defeated Russ Niggemyer by way of six-round unanimous decision on October 1, a fight that also took place in Atlantic City. Lugo earned his only career victory on the same night in the same building. He outpointed Kevin Rooney Jr., the son of the famed trainer, in an upset win. Lugo, a 33-year old from Pennsylvania, lost a four-round decision to Frank Galarza later that month.

As always, Melson will represent Team Fight to Walk.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Foreman Video

According to Fox 5 New York, Yuri Foreman is planning on making his ring comeback in 2012. He is also about six months away from finishing rabbinical school.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Zachary Wohlman vs. Ricardo Malfavon

December 1, 2011
Club Nokia
Los Angeles, California

Wohlman: black trunks
Malfavon: black trunks with silver trim.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Rumblings of a Foreman Comeback

Yuri Foreman is apparently preparing to make a comeback in 2012. Nothing is set yet, however. Foreman hasn't fought since March, a bout against Pawel Wolak in which Foreman admits he was flat and unprepared.

Foreman told Michael Woods of ESPN New York that he would welcome a rematch against Wolak, who lost to Delvin Rodriguez last Saturday in a rematch of their epic draw this summer.

Of that first Wolak fight, Foreman said, "Against Wolak, that was just my body in it. I had no motivation, I was not present. Boxing is the kind of sport, either you are 100 [percent] in or you better not be there."

Woods reports that Foreman will likely reunite with his old trainer, Joe Grier, the man who was in Yuri's corner when the Jewish boxer won the junior middleweight title in 2009 against Daniel Santos.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wohlman Cruises to Win in Debut

Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman won his debut by unanimous decision over Ricardo Malfavon tonight at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California. Wohlman garnered scores of 40-35 on each of the three judges' cards.

Kid Yamaka looked quite competent and composed for his first professional fight. He utilized the jab early and never wavered from the game plan. He dominated Malfavon with his boxing skill and his ability to glide away from the 29-year old veteran's punches. Malfavon came forward the entire fight, but was rarely able to land on the defensively proficient 23-year old Jewish boxer.

Malfavon's best moment came in the beginning of the third round, but Wohlman showed no distress in eating a few punches. Through three rounds, it appeared that though Wohlman was winning easily due his boxing, he wasn't able to hurt Malfavon.

Twenty seconds into the fourth and final round, Wohlman loaded up with a left hook that set Malfavon on his trunks. Zachary kept his jab active for the rest of the round to cruise to the win. Malfavon, who has faced good competition despite the poor record, fell to 1-7-1 with one KO. Wohlman hugged his trainer, Freddie Roach, considered the best in the game, after the victory.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Zachary Wohlman to Make Debut Tomorrow

Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman is scheduled to take part in a welterweight bout against Rocardo Malfavon (1-6-1, one KO) tomorrow at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Netzer Wins Debut

Danny Netzer won his professional debut, a super middleweight affair against Eric Roy, this past Saturday night in New Brunswick, Canada. Netzer, who is a Krav Maga expert in the Israeli Defense Force, stopped Roy in the second round.

Roy, who falls to 6-3 (3 KOs), got the better of Netzer in the first stanza. But Netzer was able to get inside and hurt Roy to the body in the second. It was a body shot that put Roy down in that round. Roy was not only more experienced than Netzer, but was bigger too, holding a 168.5 to 164 pound advantage.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Look Back: Victor "Young" Perez

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

Victor "Young" Perez was a flamboyant ladies man, who won the flyweight championship in the early 1930s. Perez was a victim of the Holocaust, interred in Auschwitz and died during the Death March. But during that tragic period, Perez was able to display uncommon heroism. A movie of his remarkable life is reportedly forthcoming.

Victor Perez was born on October 18, 1911 in Tunis, Tunisia. His family was of modest means and his parents were merchants. Perez, who was a small kid, loved boxing. He took up the sport at age 14 and dreamed of becoming a world champion.

It was then that Perez adopted the moniker of "Young." Perez stood only 5'1" and weighed between 110 and 118 pounds during his career. Young began his professional career before his 17th birthday. In the beginning, he fought in Tunisia and Algeria. Within a year, he had moved to Paris, France in order to further his boxing career.

In Paris, Victor sold shoes and trained. He lost his first attempt at the French flyweight title in 1930 when he claimed Kid Oliva fouled him in the fourth round, but the referee ruled it a TKO. A year later, Perez had another shot at it. He had gone 16-0-2 since the disputed loss to Oliva. In 1931, he won a 15 round decision over Valentine Angelman to take the French crown.

After two more wins, Perez earned his shot at the world flyweight championship against Frankie Genaro. Perez cruised, taking a two-round KO victory and the championship. After winning the title, Perez's training habits became lax. He spent most of his time partying and cavorting with his girlfriend, the beautiful French actor, Mireille Balin.

Perez lost twice within the next year, but neither bout was for his title. His fight against Jackie Brown on October 31, 1932, however, was. Brown beat Young by way of 13th round TKO. Perez would not win another title during his career.

The rest of Victor's boxing career saw mixed success. He had two shots at the bantamweight title, but both 1934 bouts resulted in losses to Panama Al Brown. Perez's third to last pro fight took place in 1938 in Berlin. He proudly wore a Star of David on his trunks as the Nazi crowd booed him. Perez called it a career that year after his seventh consecutive loss. According to BoxRec, Perez finished with a record of 91-28-15 including 27 KO victories.

But the Victor Perez story does not end there. He became caught in Paris when the Nazis invaded France and was soon arrested. From the Drancy transit camp, he was sent to Auschwitz in 1943. He performed slave labor in Auschwitz-Monowitz. When a Nazi prison guard realized who he was, Perez was forced to fight in brutal boxing matches for the Nazis' enjoyment. Perez showed uncanny success in these matches.

Inside the camp, Victor was a hero. He smuggled food to starving prisoners as often as he could. Noah Klieger, who was in the camp with Victor, attests to his courage. At one point, Perez attempted to escape from Auschwitz, but was caught and tortured. In 1945, with the Soviets in hot pursuit of the Nazis, the concentration camp prisoners were forced to endure the "Death March."

Most prisoners died during these Death Marches, because they were fatally hungry, forced to walk ungodly distances, and were already near death due to their time in the concentration camps. When the group reached Gleiwitz, near the Czech border, on February 4, 1945, Perez crept into the kitchen and found some bread for his starving people. A Nazi officer spotted him and shot him dead.

Perez knew the risks that came with his heroic actions. But Victor would simply shrug them off and respond, "Human beings were created in order to help others. We live in order to help."

Katz, Yossi. A Voice Called: Stories of Jewish Heroism. 2010.

*Note* The two articles above may contain some inaccuracies.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Boyd Melson's Thanksgiving Letter

Below is a letter penned by undefeated junior middleweight Boyd Melson.

With my 30th Thanksgiving on G-d’s Green Earth finally here, I have more to be thankful for than ever before.

The Clinical Stem Cell trial I’ve supported throughout my career is headed in the right direction and could help millions of Americans suffering from Spinal Cord Injuries. I owe a special thanks to Dr. Wise Young, the Muhammad Ali of spinal cord procedures, and Dr. Patricia Morton, an elite neuroscientist who has been the backbone of justadollarplease.org since day one.

Through the tireless efforts of both doctors, donations from thousands of gracious people and the money I’ve contributed, I’m extremely thankful that this groundbreaking clinical trial is slated to begin in 2012. The trial will provide a glimmer of hope for those who thought they may never walk again.

To be able to enhance my boxing ability under the guidance of a former world champion is something that most fighters will never have the opportunity to do. I owe a special thanks to Joey Gamache, the mastermind behind me, as well as Bernie Lenahan, my assistant trainer. My strength and conditioning coach Steve Feinberg is not only a dear friend to me, but also the man responsible for getting me in tip top shape. He’s done a fantastic job and I’m grateful to have him on my team.

Earlier this year, my publicist and I created Team Fight to Walk. Together, we were looking to get fighters to help support the case both through charitable contributions and added publicity about the cause. I’m overwhelmingly thankful to say that this project has been a huge success and I owe it all to the fighters that joined out of the goodness of their hearts.

Most of all, I’m thankful for the great fans that buy tickets to my fights and the media members who’ve given me the opportunity to tell my story. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to make the necessary progress both in my career and educating the boxing world about the pending trial.

Thanks to everybody who has supported my career, the trial and other members of Team Fight to Walk. Have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.

Truly yours,

Boyd Melson

Melson, 6-0 (3 KO’s), returns to action Saturday, December 17 at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall as part of the Carl Froch-Andre Ward undercard. Tickets are available on teamfighttowalk.com and following the bout, Melson will make a contribution to Justadollarplease.org.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hatton Won't Fight El Massoudi

BoxRec is reporting that Matthew Hatton will not fight interim beltholder Ismael El Massoudi. That should open the door for Dmitriy Salita to face El Massoudi, with a tentative location and date being New York's Madison Square Garden in January.

More on the controversy can be found here. A victory over El Massoudi (36-3, 14 KOs) would mark the biggest of Salita's career. El Massoudi won the belt when his opponent, Souleymane M'baye, suffered a knee injury in the final minute of their bout this past summer. Salita (33-1-1, 17 KOs) is looking to work his way back to the world scene after a disappointing loss to Amir Khan in 2009.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Seldin Earns Another KO

As usual, welterweight Cletus Seldin gave his all in earning a TKO last night against Rashad Bogar in Long Island, New York. After a sluggish first round, Seldin utilized his customary attacking style to overwhelm Bogar. Seldin focused his attack on the body and, despite a closing left eye, managed to stop Bogar.

Before the third round, Bogar and his corner argued that Seldin had an illegal foreign substance on his gloves. They implored officials to smell Seldin's gloves. Officials did, but did not find anything fishy. After the stoppage, Bogar and his corner maintained that Seldin had cheated, contrary to reality.

By stopping Bogar at 1:35 of the third round, Seldin advanced to 5-0, earning his third KO. Bogar falls to 3-3-1 with two KOs. This was Seldin's fifth fight since July.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yuri Foreman Update

Yuri Foreman currently spends his time in Yeshiva school. He also mentioned that he boxes three times a week just in case he wants to come back. Foreman is currently taking some time off following last March's defeat to Pawel Wolak in order to see if he has the required passion for the sport.

Foreman also wishes much success to two New York Jewish fighters, Boyd Melson and Cletus Seldin, in their young careers.

Michael Woods of ESPN New York has ranked Foreman as the ninth best pound-for-pound fighter in the city, despite the layoff and two consecutive losses.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Melson Will Now Fight on December 17

Boyd Melson (6-0, three KOs) was slated to fight on Thursday, but the bout was cancelled. Melson is now scheduled to enter the ring on the Andre Ward-Carl Froch undercard in Atlantic City, New Jersey. That event will take place on December 17.

Melson responded to the situation by saying, "I’m disappointed that I won’t be fighting because I am in great shape." Nicknamed "The Rainmaker," Melson donates all of his purses for stem cell research relating to spinal cord injuries.

Links to support Melson's cause can be found here: Teamfighttowalk.com and Justadollarplease.org

Monday, November 14, 2011

Duer Defends Title

Carolina Raquel Duer, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, defended her WBO super flyweight belt this past Friday night. In her hometown, she defeated Maria Jose Nunez by way of third round TKO. Duer advances her record to 10-3 with her third career knockout.

This fight marked Duer's third successful title defense since winning the vacant belt about a year ago. The 33 year old, nicknamed "The Turk," once beat a man trying to steal her purse so badly that he wound up in the hospital.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More on the Salita/Hatton Controversy

Dmitiry Salita signed a contract with Ismael El Massoudi's promoter, but Matthew Hatton has signed a contract to fight El Massoudi as well. Both Salita and Hatton are looking to compete for El Massoudi's interim belt in what they perceive to be a winnable fight.

Mitch Abramson of BoxingScene.com reports that the Salita fight was tentatively scheduled for January at Madison Square Garden. If Hatton gets the fight, March is the target, likely in Europe.

The sanctioning body that gives out the interim belt is meeting in the near future in the hopes of finding a solution to the dilemma.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yuri Foreman Sparring in Gleason's Gym

Yuri Foreman, former world title beltholder, has been spotted sparring in New York recently.

Junior welterweight Ashley Theophane writes, "Former world champion, Yuri Foreman, was sparring this week in Gleason’s gym. I remained behind to watch him go through some rounds. He is a talented fighter who is studying to be a rabbi. I sparred with Yuri a few years ago and it was an enjoyable experience. I’m sure we’ll spar again in the future."

After suffering two consecutive losses, Foreman has spent some time out of the ring in order to recapture the fire that allowed him to begin his career with 28 straight wins. He last fought in March.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seldin to Make Hometown Debut

Cletus Seldin (4-0, two KOs) is scheduled to fight in his hometown of Long Island, New York on November 19. The event will take place at the Paramount.

Seldin, nicknamed the Hebrew Hammer, last fought on October 22. The welterweight earned a TKO in the second round over Jose Segura Torres in MSG's WaMu Theater that night.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Is Salita a Top P4P Candidate in NY?

Michael Woods has started a pound-for-pound list, including only New York fighters, for ESPN New York that he expects to update monthly. Woods recently unveiled 15-20 of his list, which accounts for both male and female boxers.

Dmitriy Salita (33-1-1, 17 KOs) was rated as the 20th best boxer in New York according to the list. Salita's ranking likely took a hit because of the dearth of talented opposition he has faced. That is an issue Salita is looking to correct by potentially fighting the skilled French-Moroccan Ismael El Massoudi (36-3, 14 KOs). But the fight has come under a contract dispute.

With improved opposition, Salita should climb up this list as he is more skilled than a number of the fighters slated above him.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Melson to Fight on November 17

Boyd Melson is scheduled to fight at Schuetzen Park in North Bergen, New Jersey on November 17. The junior middleweight, nicknamed "Rainmaker," is 6-0 with three career knockouts. This will be his sixth fight of 2011. Melson donates his purse from each fight to stem cell research for spinal cord injuries.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Salita Signs to Fight El Massoudi, Hatton Objects

According to an article by Ian Aldous for Boxing News 24, Dmitriy Salita (33-1-1, 17 KOs) has signed a contract to fight Ismael El Massoudi (36-3, 14 KOs), who holds an interim world title strap.

However, Matthew Hatton has attempted to usurp Salita by negotiating directly with El Massoudi. Salita has formally objected to the actions of Hatton and Hatton Promotions.

El Massoudi, who is from Morocco, defeated Souleymane M'baye this past July for the interim belt when M'baye's knee gave out with under a minute left in the contest. Salita's last fight was an eight round decision over Ronnie Warrior in April.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Salita Receives Praise from Ashley Theophane

Ashley Theophane, a British-based boxer, is the current British junior welterweight champion and keeps a blog that includes updates on his progress in training camp and acute political observations.

Theophane often travels to the U.S. for training. He has also made a habit of praising his friend and sparring partner, Dmitriy Salita. This latest training session has been no exception.

Theophane is now preparing for a fight in December against Nigel Wright. Mentioning his recent sparring with Salita in preparation for that contest, Theophane writes, "Dmitriy is unfortunately best known for his terrible showing against Amir Khan in Britain, but he is so much better than what he showed that night."

In the U.S., Theophane (30-4-1, 8 KOs), who has also sparred with Yuri Foreman, is best known for an impressive- though disputed- decision victory over Delvin Rodriguez on July 30, 2010, a bout shown on ESPN 2's Friday Night Fights. To bring things full circle, Rodriguez fought Pawel Wolak to a draw in a Fight of the Year candidate on Friday Night Fights this past summer; Wolak bested Foreman last March.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cletus Seldin vs. Jose Segura Torres

October 22, 2011
WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden
New York, New York

Seldin: purple trunks with white trim
Torres: red trunks with black trim

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seldin Wins By TKO

Cletus Seldin advanced to 4-0 by scoring the second knockout of his career last night at MSG's WaMu Theater in New York, New York. Seldin officially knocked down his opponent, Jose Segura Torres, twice.

In the first, Seldin seemed to knock Torres down within a minute of the beginning of the fight, but it was ruled a push. Torres's nose became bloodied in that same round. Seldin's aggression controlled the contest from the outset and in the second round Torres was put down twice.

The final blow was a vicious left hook thrown by Seldin that put Torres flat on the canvas. Referee Eddie Claudio called a halt to the bout at the 2:52 mark of the second round. Torres fell to 1-3-1 (according to BoxRec) with the loss.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Seldin to Fight in MSG Tomorrow

Welterweight prospect Cletus Seldin is set to fight in the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York tomorrow night. Seldin, who turned 25 last month, has won all three of his professional fights. He scored a KO in his debut this past July. His last bout was a month ago, a slim unanimous decision over Clarence Booth.

Seldin's opponent is scheduled to be Jose Segura Torres. Torres, 31, is 1-2-1. The Florida native last fought in April, a four round majority draw.

Seldin weighed in at 146.5 pounds with Torres tipped the scales at 146.25 lbs. The scheduled four rounder is on the undercard of the HBO-televised Nonito Donaire-Omar Narvaez bout.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Look Back: Harry Harris

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

Harry "The Human Hairpin" Harris became the first Jewish world champion under the Marquis of Queensbury rules when the slender pugilist took the bantamweight crown on March 18, 1901.

Harry Harris was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 18, 1880. His twin brother Sammy popped out on the same day. The brothers were given their first pair of boxing gloves as a Chanukah present. Harry was artistic and attended drawing school. A boxing gym stood next to the drawing school and Harry decided to give it a try. There he met welterweight legend Charles Kid McCoy, who taught the skinny lad his famous corkscrew punch.

Harry turned pro at the age of 15. Standing nearly 5'8", he weighed 96 pounds and fought in the bantamweight division which had a limit of 116. Harry lacked muscle, but was shifty and able to utilize his unusually pronounced height for his weight. Harris was 7-0 on December 14, 1897 when his brother Sammy, who had also become a professional boxer, came up sick. Harry took his twin's place and fought John Whitecraft and knocked him out in three. When asked if Whitecraft wanted to fight Harry's brother, he replied, "One meeting with the Harris family is enough for me."

Harris, also nicknamed the Stringbean Kid, notched a key victory over the tough Charles Roden by way of ninth round TKO, after Roden suffered a broken jaw, on November 22, 1898 in New York. In 1899, Harris suffered the first of his two career losses, a six-round decision loss to Steve Flanagan. During the summer, Harris beat a Chicago Jewish star in Sig Hart twice. That same year he drew with the undefeated former bantamweight champion Jimmy Barry in a six round bout. Even Barry admitted he had lost the fight at retired afterward.

In 1900, Terrible Terry McGovern vacated his world batamweight crown and Harry held a claim. But so did the British champ Harry Ware. Harris prepared to travel to London in order to battle Ware, but Ware backed out. Instead, Harris fought Pedlar Palmer on March 18, 1901 in London for the bantamweight championship of the world.

Sammy, Harry's twin, died the day before the fight. But the Human Hairpin was not told until just prior to the start of the contest. No one would have blamed him if he had forfeited his chance at the title. But he courageously decided to fight on.

Harry beat the light-punching boxer from Britain in the latter's hometown by decision in 15 rounds to capture the crown and thus becoming the first Jewish boxing champion of the twentieth century. His reign didn't last long as the lanky lad had grown into his height and could no longer make it under the bantamweight limit afterwards.

Harris rose from a knockdown against eventually bantamweight champion Danny Doughery in 1902 to pull off a six-round newspaper decision before retiring. Harris made a brief comeback in 1905 and fought for the final time in 1907.

Harry Harris died on June 5, 1959. He became a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.

Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Riess, Stephen A. Sports and the American Jew. 1998.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Frenkel Suffering from Burnout

Numerous sources are reporting that cruiserweight Alexander Frenkel is suffering from burnout, in addition to an injured hand, which goes towards explaining why Frenkel has been absent from the ring for over a year.

Chris Meyer, who works with Frenkel, told the media, "We noticed even at training he wasn't really into it." Frenkel won the European title in September of 2010 in impressive fashion. Most thought he would challenge for a world title this year. "Everyone deals with [pressure] differently. Some drive fast cars; others go after beautiful women. Alexander is rather more the type to worry a lot about it."

Frenkel (23-0, 18 KOs) intends to take at least the rest of the year off. If Frenkel is able to rediscover his love of boxing, he could fight as soon as early 2012.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Frenkel Injured, Vacates Belt

According to (you guessed it) Per Ake Persson of BoxingScene.com, Alexander Frenkel is injured and will not be able to fight Enad Licina on October 22. As a result, Frenkel (23-0, 18 KOs) will be forced to vacate his European cruiserweight title. Licina is scheduled to battle Alexander Alexeev for the vacant belt.

Since knocking out Enzo Maccarinelli in September of 2010, Frenkel hasn't fought in the ring. He's been scheduled to do so several times since, but nothing has materialized. The German-based Ukrainian was set to fight in February, but suffered an injury. He was going to face Silvio Branco in June, and then July, but Branco eventually backed out. Now the Licina fight has dissolved as Frenkel enters his thirteenth month of inactivity.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Melson Adds Another Win

In a match in which both fighters came in just over the junior middleweight limit, Boyd Melson controlled his opponent Russ Niggemyer on route to an easy unanimous decision in their six round bout tonight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

A southpaw, Melson used his lead hand in cruising to the win on the scorecards. The judges had the fight 60-53, 60-54, 59-55. Melson raised his mark to 6-0 with three KOs. Niggemyer, a 30 year old from Ohio, fell to 2-4 with two KOs.

Melson, who has donated each of his six pro boxing purses to spinal cord injury research, received some publicity on The Ring's website this past week.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Seldin Wins Wild Fight

Cletus Seldin advanced to 3-0 (1 KO) after defeating Clarence Booth (2-1, 1 KO) by unanimous decision last night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. In the second round, Seldin claims Booth intentionally headbutted him. Cletus then picked up Booth and body slammed him to the ground. He was deducted a point for the act.

That point deduction made things closer, but in the end, Seldin took the decision with 38-37 scores on all three judges' cards.

Seldin weighed 148 pounds for the fight while his opponent was 150. Cletus has weighed just over the 147 pound welterweight limit in each of his three career bouts. He is scheduled to fight next on October 22 in New York.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Melson Back in Action on Martinez Undercard

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson (5-0, three KOs) is scheduled to be featured on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez-Darren Barker middleweight championship fight. The event is set to take place at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 1.

Melson stopped Zach Schumach in the second round last July. This will be Melson's fifth fight of 2011 and his second scheduled six-rounder. As always, Melson will donate his purse to the spinal cord injury research organization, Justadollarplease.org.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Look Back: Mike Rossman

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

Mike Rossman holds the distinction of being one of a handful of Jewish boxers to win a world championship since 1940. Nicknamed "The Jewish Bomber" and "The Kosher Butcher," Rossman won the WBA light heavyweight title in 1978.

Michael DePiano was born to an Italian father and Jewish mother in Turnerville, New Jersey on July 1. He told Ken Hissner, "I was born in 1956, but had to say 1955 back then in order to turn professional." Mike took his mother's maiden name, Rossman, when he turned pro in 1973. During his first fight, in Atlantic City on August 10, his mother Celia heard yells from the crowd such as,"Get that Jew!" Rossman won by way of second round KO. Despite the taunts, Rossman told Thomas Hauser, "I'm proud of being Jewish." He started his career 21-0-1.

Rossman's first loss was a split decision defeat at the hands of Mike Nixon on May 19, 1975. Two and half months later, the New Jersey native avenged that loss by seventh round KO. Mike then lost to Mike Quarry. He would later defeat Quarry twice. In December of 1976, he eked out a majority decision. In May of 1977, Quarry retired after the sixth round.

On May 3, 1978, Rossman faced Yaqui Lopez in New York. The fight started at a feverish pace. Rossman was effective early, causing a cut near Lopez's right eye in the premier round. The two established a rhythm from the outset; Rossman leading with jabs and Lopez countering. But Lopez was able to find the range against his taller opponent in the third. His continuous pressure wore down Rossman. Yet Rossman kept fighting back, causing a new cut in the fourth, this time near Lopez's left eye. Mike withstood a series of horrific shots in the sixth, but managed to remain upright. By the time the bell sounded, Rossman was out on his feet. His corner stopped the fight.

Two second round knockouts later, Rossman had the chance of a lifetime. At 22 years old, Rossman was a heavy underdog against the WBA light heavyweight champion, Victor Galindez. The Argentine had held the title for four years and was making his eleventh defense. Sporting long blue shorts stitched with "MR" and a Star of David, Rossman took the lead early. He kept the shorter Galindez at range with his jab and lead rights. Galindez was cut over the right eye in the middle rounds. Rossman was able to reopen the cut on several occasions.

The Jewish Bomber had never gone past ten rounds in his career. It was a grueling brawl against a tough champion. But Mike would not be denied. He forced Galindez against the ropes in the later rounds and went to work. Galindez was pinned against those ropes early in the 13th round and received several combinations before the fight was stopped.

Rossman made one successful defense, beating Aldo Traversaro by way of sixth round TKO. There was talk he would face a faded Muhammad Ali. Instead, he gave Galindez a rematch. After a false start due to a Galindez protest over officials, the two faced on April 4, 1979. Rossman got off to another quick start, snapping the jab out of his high guard. But Galindez counted a fan in referee Stanley Christodoulou.

Christodoulou had a history of favoring the Argentine in Galindez's previous fights. The same held true on this night. Galindez threw a vicious kidney punch in the fourth. He butted the Jewish champion. He was allowed to hold and hit. The worst offense came after a Galindez legal left hook followed by a right uppercut. The bell rang, but Galindez continued to punch a wobbled Rossman. The referee allowed the beating to continue for a few seconds. Rossman's brother Andy took exception and flew into the ring and ran after Galindez. Galindez then started throwing punches at Andy, who returned fire.

Galindez's pressure was too much and Rossman could not deal with the pain of a broken right hand. The fight was stopped before the start of the tenth round. Galindez broke a sacred rule of boxing by taunting Rossman after the fight and calling the Jewish warrior a chicken.

During his career, Rossman was falsely accused of not being tough. He endured numerous hard fought battles. Unfortunately, at the end of his career, he showed his toughness too often. The superior defense he exhibited early in his career left him and he was easy to hit. The coming years were rough. He and his father- his former manager- no longer worked together. Rossman parted with his trainer Slim Jim Robinson.

His boxing skills also deteriorated though he still hung around the top ten in the alphabet organizations' rankings. Despite being significantly shorter, future light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi out jabbed Rossman, who was known for being a great jabber. Qawi stopped the game Rossman in seven rounds in 1981. Mike was out of the ring for nearly two years afterwards.

Rossman retired from the ring in 1983 at the age of 27 with a record of 44-7-3 (27 KOs). He was understandably bitter about the way boxing, a sport to which he had given his soul, had treated him. He soon got a job with Roofers Union Local #30 out of Atlantic City, where he's lived for many years.

Victor Galindez vs. Mike Rossman I
September 15, 1978
New Orleans, Louisiana
WBA light heavyweight championship
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5

Hauser, Thomas. Muhammad Ali & Company: Inside the World of Professional Boxing. 1998.
Putnam, Pat. "This Was The Fight That Wasn't." 1979.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cletus Seldin to Stay Busy

Welterweight prospect Cletus Seldin (2-0, one KO) is looking to stay busy this September. He has two matches scheduled this month. As it goes in boxing and particularly with four-round fighters, these fights are tentative at best.

On September 10, Seldin is listed as fighting Miguel Pizarro (2-4, one KO) at the Aviator Sport Complex in Brooklyn, New York. On September 23, the Hebrew Hammer is penciled in to face Brian Meadows (0-2-2) at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida, the site of his debut.

Seldin earned a KO win in that debut on July 9. He made a quick turn around and won a decision on July 20 in New York. It will be interesting to see if one, both, or neither of these proposed bouts comes into fruition.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Salita Looking to Make Noise

Welterweight Dmitriy Salita tells Mitch Abramson of BoxingScene.com that he "is in the final stages of completing the details on a 'big fight' that would catapult him back into the limelight." Salita has won his last three fights against journeymen since succumbing to Amir Khan in the first round of their title fight late in 2009.

Salita (33-1-1, 17 KOs) has been training with Emanuel Steward at the Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan. Steward, a legendary trainer and HBO analyst, has repeatedly stated publicly that he has faith in Salita's boxing skills. More details to come on Salita's next move as they materialize.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nakash-Del Valle Cancelled

The proposed bout between Ran Nakash and Lou Del Valle didn't take place last Saturday. This is the second time that a fight between the two has been cancelled. Last year in July, Del Valle backed out of the match. Nakash went on to face Victor Barragan, winning a ten round unanimous decision.

This time around, a fight involving Nakash, which was to take place at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills California, failed to materialize. Two boxing matches and three MMA fights did take place on the front lawn of the mansion. Playboy's website had touted Evander Holyfield's presence in the audience before the event. But Holyfield was in Germany as a guest of Sauerland Event, watching as heavyweight Alexander Povetkin defeated Ruslan Chagaev. Holyfield hopes to take on Povetkin later this year. It had been postulated that Holyfield could take on the winner of Nakash-Del Valle.

Ran Nakash has not fought since April 2, a twelve round unanimous decision loss to beltholder Marco Huck.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nakash to Face Evander Holyfield?

According to the Playboy Mansion's website, Evander Holyfield will be present at Saturday night's match between Ran Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) and Lou Del Valle (36-6-2, 22 KOs).

The website says, "With the winner facing Evander Holyfield. Holyfield will be present at the Mansion to check out his up coming competition."

Holyfield (44-10-2) is 48 years old and a former heavyweight champion. Despite his advanced age, Holyfield has been active of late, fighting twice in 2011 thus far.

The Nakash-Del Valle fight is scheduled for 12 rounds.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nakash-Del Valle Preview

Ran Nakash is scheduled to take on Lou Del Valle in a cruiserweight affair at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on August 27. Del Valle is a former beltholder and a seasoned veteran of the game. He was the first man to knock down Roy Jones Jr. as a pro. Yet, at 43 years old, Del Valle must be considered a heavy underdog against Nakash, a recent title challenger.

Del Valle, nicknamed Honey Boy, was 22-0 when he faced Virgil Hill for a light heavyweight belt in 1996. Del Valle lost by slim unanimous decision. The next year, Honey Boy won a vacant world title by besting Eddy Smulders. He faced Jones a year later, and legitimately knocked down the world's pound-for-pound best in the eighth round. The eighth was the only round he took, falling by UD in the title unification bout.

Del Valle's career has pretty much petered out since. He's 1-3-1 in his last five fights, a stretch that dates back to 2006. He last fought on October 31, 2009, a draw with Joe Spina. Del Valle is currently 36-6-2 with 22 KOs.

The Long Island-native is a slick southpaw and an effective defensive fighter. He has never been stopped. Del Valle will have to keep the hard-charging Nakash off balance to avoid punishment. Counter-intuitively, the 43-year old will want to take the Israeli bruiser into the late rounds as Nakash has had issues with his stamina. But can the 19-year pro maintain a pace that will wear down the 33-year old Nakash? That is Del Valle's dilemma.

Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) challenged beltholder Marco Huck on short notice in April. Nakash seemed to control the first half of the fight. By the ninth round, he was exhausted. Yet, unable to mount an effective offensive attack and receiving wounding blows from Huck, Nakash amazingly continued to push forward, displaying a tremendous amount of will and heart. Huck was awarded the UD in his adopted home country of Germany.

Last year, Nakash went ten rounds against Victor Barragan and admitted that fighting that many stanzas "was hard." He has only seen the eighth round three times in his career (including his last two fights). With Del Valle's defensive ability and sturdy chin, Nakash will need to exhibit better stamina in the scheduled twelve-round affair.

Even if Nakash isn't able to become the first man to stop Del Valle, he will likely win by way of sheer activity and aggressiveness. Nakash is a pressure fighter, who enjoys tagging his opponent's body. Del Valle is a boxer, a cutie, who doesn't move as he used to. He possesses a good jab, but most of his damaging blows come from the left.

Unless Del Valle's southpaw stance poses a sincere problem for Nakash or Ran runs out of gas, Nakash should add another victory to his resume. A win that will hopefully lead to another important match against a world class foe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mercante on Fischer's List of Worst Refs for Foreman-Cotto

Doug Fischer of The Ring put together a list of the ten worst performances by a boxing referee in the past ten years. Arthur Mercante Jr. earned the seventh spot due to his actions in the bout between Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto, which took place on June 5, 2010 in Yankee Stadium.

The list was formed in the wake of last Saturday's contest between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares to determine Showtime's bantamweight tournament championship. Referee Russell Mora allowed Mares to repeatedly his Agbeko low, offering numerous admonishments, but never taking a point away. In the eleventh round, Mares clearly hit Agbeko directly on the cup, a punch Mora was in position to view without obstruction. Abgeko collapsed to the canvass and Mora incredibly ruled it a knockdown.

Compounding the situation, Mora repeatedly warned Agbeko for phantom fouls. The scene caused veteran commentator Al Bernstein to remark in the heat of the moment that Mora's refereeing was the worst that he has witnessed in the past fifteen years. After several days of contemplation, Fischer rated it as the fifth worst in the last ten years.

Mercante made the list for, in the words of Fischer, "ignor[ing] Foreman’s corner and members of the New York commission by literally forcing the bout to continue, [and thus] had forgotten that his job is to protect a fighter’s health, not his honor."

Foreman tore his ACL in the seventh round. His corner threw in the towel in the eighth. Yet, Mercante would not stop the bout. He was soundly criticized afterwards for putting Foreman's health at risk. As Dr. Maragaret Goodman said, "Can a boxer compete with one hand? Yes, if he can mount an offense and/or move away from punches. A one-legged fighter is a disaster waiting to happen, a sitting duck, especially against a puncher like Cotto."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Outlook for the Rest of 2011

The years 2009 and 2010 were memorable ones in the annals of Jewish boxing history. Those two years included numerous title fights involving Jewish contestants. The prospects for more relevant bouts featuring Jewish pugilists seemed bright at the outset of 2011.

Unfortunately, this year has been a bit disappointing so far. More worrisome, the rest of 2011 looks rather bleak from the vantage point of August 16. Let's start with the positive.

Alexander Frenkel, Dmitriy Salita, and Ran Nakash could have impactful fights during the second half of the year. The other rays of light come in the form of two undefeated prospects, Cletus Seldin and Boyd Melson, who will hopefully stay busy.

Frenkel has been part of 2011's disappointment. He was injured at the start of the year. He trained to fight Silvio Branco, first in June, then in July, before Branco backed out of the bout. Frenkel had created some momentum in KOing Enzo Maccarinelli almost a year ago, winning the European cruiserweight crown and big things were expected from him in 2011. It hasn't happened. Frenkel is scheduled to face Enad Licina, a capable fringe contender, on October 22. If Frenkel can get passed Licina, big fights lay ahead for the Ukrainian-German Jew in 2012.

Salita's first round loss to Amir Khan in December of 2009 for a sanctioning body's belt has been well-documented. Since, Salita has defeated three journeymen with winning records. Now a welterweight, Salita is looking to fight in the fall.

Salita, who has been training with Emanuel Steward, is likely to step up his competition in his next fight. That could set the stage for a number of intriguing bouts featuring the Ukrainian-American Jew. Fans surely hope that he works his way up to a big bout, instead of feasting on inferior opponents and waiting for the one lucrative shot. That would not only provide his supporters with a string of important contests involving their man, but would better prepare him for his next title shot.

Salita has also been active in promoting boxing events in New York City. He has featured both Melson (junior middleweight) and Seldin (welterweight) in his shows and has served as a meaningful promotional voice for Jewish boxers.

Ran Nakash acquitted himself nicely in a title shot against Marco Huck in April. Nakash is scheduled to face a faded Lou Del Valle this month. While Del Valle is a former world title holder, he is well passed his prime and should be considered a heavy underdog against the ferocious Israeli. One hopes Nakash will have another relevant fight in 2011; the cruiserweight division is loaded and the fights are out there.

Now, the bad news for fans of Jewish boxing. We've already discussed Frenkel's setbacks and Salita's and Nakash's substandard opposition coming off of title shots. Yuri Foreman won't decide his boxing future until some point in 2012 after suffering his second straight loss this past March. Max Heyman was given an opportunity to resurrect his boxing career last month against the undefeated Gayrat Ahmedov, but injured his hand in training and had to bow out. Hopefully, Heyman will get another shot against a good opponent. And former heavyweight prospect Roman Greenberg remains inactive. It has been three years since he last fought, when he endured his only career loss.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nakash-Del Valle?

Ran Nakash and Lou Del Valle have been scheduled to face each other a few times dating back to last year, but the fight has never materialized. At this point, the two cruiserweights are penciled in to battle at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on August 27.

Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) last fought in a valiant decision loss to beltholder Marco Huck this past April. Del Valle (36-6-2, 22 KOs) was last in the ring in the Fall of 2009, a majority draw against Joe Spina. Del Valle is 1-3-1 in his last five fights, a span that includes a loss to a journeyman in 2006.

If the fight happens, it's scheduled for 12 rounds.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Frenkel-Licina Date Set

Cruiserweight Alexander Frenkel is scheduled to face Enad Licina on October 22 in Halle, Germany. Frenkel (23-0, 18 KOs) last fought in September, when he KOed Enzo Maccarinelli, meaning he'll face Licina after a thirteen-month layoff. Licina (20-3, 11 KOs) stopped Michele De Meo inside one round in May to get back on track after losing to beltholder Steve Cunningham in February.

Frenkel's EBU European belt will be on the line in this scheduled twelve round bout. The winner could be in line for a title shot.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Look Back: Dutch Sam

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

Dutch Sam was a prominent lightweight in the bare-knuckle days of the early nineteenth century who had no fear in facing men taller and heavier than he. He possessed a rare combination of guile and power and- perhaps- invented the uppercut, thus changing the sport of boxing forever.

Sam Elias was born on April 4, 1775 in London, England. He grew up in the Jewish neighborhood of Whitechapel. His parents were immigrants from Holland. He learned to box at former heavyweight champion Daniel Mendoza's academy. Sam's first recorded boxing match took place in 1801.

Standing 5'6" and weighing 130 pounds, Dutch Sam had no trouble defeating larger men. In 1803, he beat a man who weighed nearly 200 lbs. On August 7, 1804, Sam utilized the uppercut in dismantling the celebrated Caleb Baldwin.

Along with the moniker Dutch Sam, the tough fighter was also known as the Terrible Jew, a politically incorrect nod to his ferocity. Sam proudly trained on three glasses of gin a day, and was known to enter the ring drunk, a habit that would eventually catch up to him.

Dutch Sam fought Tom Belcher, the brother of former heavyweight champion Jem, three times. The first one, held in 1806, ended in a 57th round KO win for Sam. The second match, which took place the following year, ended in a draw and the third was a 36th round stoppage win for Sam. Mendoza was the second in Sam's corner for all three bouts.

Pierce Egan wrote, "Terrific is the only word that adequately describes his manner of fighting." After defeating Ben Medley in 1810 in round number 49, Dutch Sam retired remarkably undefeated in over a hundred contests.

Four years later, Sam decided to make a comeback. Throughout his layoff, he continued "training," or at least the part of training that involved ingesting copious amounts of alcohol. He returned after hearing anti-Semitic remarks made by William Nosworthy, who, in addition to being a boxer, was also a baker. Sam was a shell of his former self and Nosworthy KOed him in the fiftieth round.

After a life of hard fighting and drinking, Dutch Sam died on July 3, 1816 in London. He was buried in a Jewish cemetery in Whitechapel.

Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Century, Douglas. Barney Ross. 2006.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Heyman Out of Ahmedov Fight

Max Heyman was scheduled to face the undefeated light heavyweight Gayrat Ahmedov this Friday. But, according to New Mexico Boxing, Heyman injured his left hand in training and has had to pull out of the fight.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ahmedov-Heyman Preview

Max Heyman takes on WBA light heavyweight International champion Gayrat Ahmedov this Friday at the South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. If Heyman wins, it would jumpstart his career. A win for Ahmedov is a necessary step on his way up.

Though both men are 32 years old, Heyman (24-11-4, 14 KOs) is the more experienced of the two. The New Mexico-native turned pro in 1997, while Ahmedov did so in 2004. Heyman, who works as a fireman, has faced world class opposition, including Adrian Diaconu in 2006 and Chris Henry the following year. Both Diaconu and Henry have been top ten light heavyweights and both were undefeated when they stopped Heyman.

The question is whether or not Ahmedov (16-0-1, 11 KOs), who is from Andijan, Uzbekistan and fights out of Las Vegas, has what it takes to be world class. Ahmedov has one-punch knockout power. Four of his last seven opponents were KOed in the first round and another in that stretch was stopped in the second. Ahmedov, who is calm and confident in the ring, has wicked power to the body.

To win in impressive fashion, Ahmedov will have to deal with Heyman's awkward style. After taking two and half years off following the Henry fight, Heyman has fought three times at cruiserweight against limited opposition. The Henry bout was the last time Heyman has fought at light heavyweight.

For Heyman to win, he will have to be in excellent shape. His goal should be to to take Ahmedov into the later rounds. Ahmedov has never been passed eight rounds and has only fought passed the sixth round once. Heyman will have to keep his hands busy in order to put rounds in the bank and hope to keep Ahmedov off balance so that Gayrat can't connect with a knockout blow.

The bout is scheduled for ten rounds.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Melson, Seldin Win

Last night at the Oceana in Brooklyn, New York, two Jewish prospects improved on their undefeated records. Boyd Melson earned a second round TKO against Zach Schumach, while Cletus Seldin won a four round unanimous decision over Hector Rivera.

Melson (5-0, 3 KOs) has stopped his last three opponents. Schumach (2-3-1), a genuine junior middleweight with extensive experience in combat sports, was a slight step up for the undefeated New Yorker. It was also the first time Melson had participated in a scheduled six round bout. Melson weighed 153.25 pounds, while Schumach came in at the junior middleweight limit of 154. The bout was stopped by referee Steve Willis at 2:23 of the second round.

Seldin (2-0, one KO) won for the second time in two weeks, coming off of a KO win on July 9 in his debut. All three judges scored last night's fight in favor of Seldin, 40-35. Rivera (2-9, one KO) had been knocked out in first round of his previous bout against Melson on May 19. Before that contest, Rivera had never weighed more than 140 pounds for a fight. He came in at 151.5 lbs. for this one, while Seldin was 148. Seldin is scheduled to fight on September 10 at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Frenkel to Face Licina

Alexander Frenkel is now planning on facing the experienced Enad Licina. The date and place for this cruiserweight contest is still to be determined. Frenkel was originally scheduled to face Silvio Branco later this month, but Branco backed out.

Frenkel (23-0, 18 KOs), who is the European champ at cruiserweight, hasn't fought since last September's stoppage of Enzo Maccarinelli. Licina (20-3, 11 KOs), a Serbian-born resident of Germany, has fought twice in 2011, including a loss to IBF world champion Steve Cunningham on February 12.

Our source for all things Alexander Frenkel, Per Ake Persson of BoxingScene.com, postulates that the winner is likely to get a world title shot. Both men are promoted by Sauerland, as is most of the top of the cruiserweight division.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Seldin Wins Debut, Will Fight on the 20th

Welterweight Cletus Seldin earned a third round TKO over Wilson Feliciano on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida in his professional debut. Feliciano fell to 2-2 with two knockouts.

Seldin, the former New York Golden Gloves finalist, is scheduled to get right back into the ring. Nicknamed "The Hebrew Hammer," the 24-year old Seldin will be on the Brighton Shore Fights card on July 20 at the Oceana in Brooklyn, New York. The event is promoted by Salita Promotions.

Boyd Melson will be fighting on the same card. Melson (4-0, 2 KOs) is scheduled to face Zach Schumach, who has a background in MMA, but has also boxed professionally. Melson last fought on June 10, a third round TKO over Kelvin Kibler.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Heyman to Face Ahmedov

Max Heyman will move back down to light heavyweight when he faces Gayrat Ahmedov in their scheduled bout on July 29, at the South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada. Heyman (24-11-4, 14 KOs) hasn't fought since avenging a loss to Mike Alderete in the rematch last November.

Ahmedov (16-0-1, 11 KOs), who is from Uzbekistan, defeated Tursunboy Abdullakimov in January. That 4th round TKO earned him the ever-coveted WBA international light heavyweight strap. Despite winning that title, Ahmedov, 32, is rather untested. Heyman certainly has the experience advantage.

Ahmedov's meaningless belt will be on the line. The bout is scheduled for ten rounds.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Look Back: Art Aragon

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

Art Aragon wasn't technically a Jewish boxer having converted to Judaism after his boxing career had ended. But he was the "Golden Boy," named by actor William Holden who had starred in a movie by the same name. Aragon was a talented fighter with a big punch, but is more remembered for his colorful personality.

Art Aragon was born on November 13, 1927 in Belen, New Mexico. After bouncing around the country, he moved to East Los Angeles, California when he was 15. He became a professional boxer when he was 16 years old, admitting later that he lied about his age in order to turn pro. The dawn of his boxing career was quite successful. He had piled up 49 wins when he faced lightweight champion Jimmy Carter in a non-title bout on August 28, 1951.

Aragon earned a ten-round split decision over Carter, who was known to throw non-title fights in order to earn more money in the rematch when he bet on himself. When the two met three months later, Aragon was so drained after making weight, he later quipped that he was the only boxer ever to be carried into the ring. Carter won a 15-round unanimous decision. Aragon, who was notorious for making excuses when he lost, would never get another title shot.

The Golden Boy was popular in Hollywood. He was a friend of Marilyn Monroe's and dated Mamie Von Doren. Van Doren later recalled, "The 'Golden Boy' was a perfect title for him. His smile turned everyone on. His skin was golden. His floppy hair bounced so perfectly. He was just so sexy." But his romantic life wasn't always so enviable.

During the weigh-in before his bout with former welterweight and middleweight champion Carmen Basilio in 1958, Basilio innocently asked Aragon how he was doing. Aragon replied, "Not so good. Both my wife and my girlfriend are here."

The Golden Boy was perhaps the biggest draw in Los Angeles during his era. But, peculiarly, many fans came to boo the man donning gold. Aragon featured knockout power but struggled against boxers who utilized a tight guard. He also was no stranger to controversy. Opponents were fingered for throwing fights, Aragon was once accused of offering to pay an opponent to lose, and he won a heavily-disputed decision over Chuck Davey in 1954.

After the second Carter fight, Aragon won six fights in a row before falling to Billy Graham in 1953. Art started the fight with hard punches, but faded late, losing a ten-round unanimous decision. In 1956, Aragon avenged his loss to Carter, defeating the former lightweight champ at welterweight in a ten-round unanimous decision. That was part of a 15-fight win streak, leading up to the bout with Basilio.

Though Aragon had his moments, the bigger Basilio nearly beat the pants off of Art. Referee Tommy Hart called out to Aragon in the eighth round that if he didn't show something, Hart would stop the fight. Aragon responded, "What are you waiting for?" Basilio was awarded an eighth-round TKO when Aragon's corner threw in the towel.

Aragon finally retired from the ring in 1960. After his boxing career, he acted in several movies and worked in the bail bonds business. He counted Bob Hope, Jayne Mansfield, and Sophia Loren, among other celebrities, as friends. He converted to Judaism in order to marry one of his four wives, Irene. His son, Brad, asserts that Aragon was a proud Jew, although not particularly observant. He especially enjoyed Jewish food. He even had his conversion certificate shrunk so he could literally be a "card-carrying" Jew.

In summing up his life, when asked, with all of his accomplishments in boxing and in Hollywood, what is the best thing he's done, Art replied, "Divorcing my third wife."

Aragon died on March 25, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. He is buried in Mt. Sinai Memorial Park.

Jimmy Carter vs. Art Aragon
November 14, 1951
Los Angeles, California
Olympic Auditorium
World Lightweight Championship
part 1


Greenberg, Brad A. "'Golden Boy' Art Aragon keeps the faith." JewishJournal.com, May 1, 2008.
Golstein, Richard. "Art Aragon Dies at 80; Was One of Ring's Golden Boys." The New York Times, March 28, 2008.
Pugmire, Lance. "Colorful L.A. boxer in the '40s and '50s." Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2008.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Frenkel-Branco Called Off

According to Per Ake Persson of BoxingScene.com, the proposed bout between EBU European cruiserweight beltholder Alexander Frenkel and veteran Silvio Branco, scheduled for July 22, has been called off.

Frenkel's long layoff continues. He last fought on September 18, 2010. In that bout, Frenkel usurped his belt from Enzo Maccarinelli by way of seventh round technical knockout.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jews at the Elite Level

The years 2009 and 2010 saw several impactful matches to the wider boxing world which featured Jewish participants. In 2009, Yuri Foreman won the WBA light middleweight belt and there were three other world title fights involving Jewish boxers. In the first half of 2011, two bouts with a Jewish competitor have reached that level.

On March 12, Yuri Foreman made his comeback fight against Pawel Wolak on the undercard of the Cotto-Mayorga pay per view event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Foreman had been rated in The Ring's top 10 in the world junior middleweight rankings.

But Yuri was flat on that night. Wolak won a 6th round TKO, earning him a place as the 7th best 154-pound fighter in the world according to The Ring. Of his performance, Foreman said, "I was weak and not present. I guess I rushed in to fighting without [being] physically and mentally ready." Foreman has since decided to take some time off before reconsidering his future in the sport.

On April 2, Ran Nakash, taking the fight on short notice, battled WBO cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck. Nakash lost a unanimous decision in a fight that probably should've been deemed a draw. Nakash started out strong, but faded during the latter half of the contest and, with the fight in Germany, he never had a chance on the scorecards.

The immediate future for the current crop of Jewish boxers does appear bright. Nakash proved himself to be a legitimate contender, but the hardnose Israeli may have placed himself out of a meaningful fight. He showed his tremendous ability against Huck, but between his relative anonymity and his newfound status as a dangerous fighter, it's possible he won't face a world class opponent any time soon.

Alexander Frenkel's prospects are likely better than his fellow Jewish cruiserweight. The Ukrainian-born resident of Germany faces Silvio Branco in July, which isn't on the level of a world class fight. But an impressive showing could find the undefeated Frenkel against a top cruiserweight in his next bout.

Dmitriy Salita has won three fights since losing in his title shot back in 2009. His fans look for him to face stiffer competition on his way towards boxing relevance. Nakash, Frenkel, and Salita look to extend this wave of Jewish boxing a bit further into the future.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Melson to Fight in First of Salita's Monthly Boxing Series

Dmitriy Salita's promotional company is planning on starting a monthly boxing series called Brighton Shore Fights to be held at the Oceana in Brooklyn, New York. The first installment is scheduled for Wednesday July 20. Boyd Melson (4-0, 2 KOs) is penciled in to participate on the card.

Melson, who donates his purses to the cause of stem cell research for spinal cord injuries, has been active of late. On May 19, he knocked out Hector Rivera in the first round. On June 10, he stopped Kelvin Kibler in the third. No opponent has been named as of yet for this bout.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Look Back: King Levinsky

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

King Levinsky, sometimes referred to as Kingfish Levinsky, fought some of the best heavyweights of the 1930s. He usually didn't win, but he fought them. Well, sometimes he fought them; other times he just happened to be in the ring with them at the same time.

King Levinsky was born Harris Krakow on September 10, 1910 in New York, New York. The family moved to Chicago when he was very young. His father was a fishmonger in the Maxwell Street ghetto and King helped out in his father's shop. Levinsky had two brothers and four sisters, including Lena Levy, his manager. King dropped out of school in the fourth grade before learning to read.

Though he participated in street fights while growing up, Levinsky's choice to become a prizefighter was a bit curious. Hurting others wasn't in his personality. And he tended to exhibit clownish antics. His career began inauspiciously enough as his first fight was a decision loss to a previously winless boxer in 1928.

Things picked up to a degree and Levinsky faced future heavyweight champion Primo Carnera in 1931. Levinsky lost a ten-round decision. He lost two grueling fights- a ten round and then a twenty round decision- to Max Baer in 1932. But Kingfish defeated the great Jack Dempsey on February 18, 1932, in front of 20,000 fans. The bout was scheduled to be a four-round exhibition as part of Dempsey's comeback. On the advice on his sister Lena, Levinsky fought his heart out-unusual for an exhibition- and earned a decision victory. Dempsey never fought again.

The King was known for a wild right hand that was his trademark. It was a punch he telegraphed and yet it still managed to find the target on occasion. The 5'11" brawler used his left hand in the ring about as much as a Delhi native uses it to eat. But while the Delhiite has a good reason for not using his left- it is used for bathroom hygiene- only Levinsky knows why he didn't use his.

At the end of 1932, Levinsky lost to Carnera once again. But he handily beat former world champion Jack Sharkey on September 18, 1933. On December 28, 1934, Levinsky was scheduled to engage Baer is four round exhibition. His sister Lena devised the same strategy that had beaten Dempsey and had subsequently gotten her brother fights against notable opponents. Levinsky came out aggressive in the first round, even utilizing an effective jab. Baer was so furious he knocked the King senseless in the second stanza.

Levinsky was often criticized for flailing about and otherwise acting like a buffoon in the ring. Besides that dubious reputation, he is perhaps best known for his fight against Joe Louis on August 7, 1938. Levinsky was his usual brash self during the introductions, but put up little resistance once the bell rang. Some have accused him of fainting out of fright while facing Louis. In reality, he was severely overmatched. He succumbed to Louis's onslaught, going down, down again, and again, and finally for the fourth time before the referee stepped in and stopped the contest. Levinsky made it 2:21 seconds into the fight before the TKO came.

Levinsky finished fighting in 1939. After four straight losses and seven out of his last eight, the commission would not renew his license. Kingfish was famously a schlemiel and a terrible gambler. He was subsequently inducted into the army during World War II. The man who had grown up with Barney Ross and had been on friendly terms with Al Capone became a tie salesman in Miami Beach in his later years with his third wife. He died on September 30, 1991.

Max Baer vs. Kingfish Levinsky
December 28, 1934
Chicago Stadium
Chicago, Illinois

Joe Louis vs. Kingfish Levinsky
August 7, 1935
Comiskey Park
Chicago, Illinois

Berkow, Ira. Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar. 1977.
Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Century, Douglas. Barney Ross. 2006.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Boyd Melson vs. Kelvin Kibler

June 10, 2011
Roseland Ballroom
New York, New York

round 1

round 2

round 3

Melson: yellow and black trunks
Kibler: blue trunks, white trim

Friday, June 10, 2011

Melson Gets Another KO

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson knocked out Kelvin Kibler at 1:30 of the third round in their bout held tonight at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York. Kibler had been ineffective for much of the fight and, after receiving an overhand left, referee Benjy Esteves stepped in to stop the bout.

Melson, who weighed in at 154 pounds, advanced to 4-0 with two KOs. Kibler, who was 152, fell to 0-6-2. Melson will donate his purse to support stem cell research for spinal cord injuries (http://www.justadollarplease.org).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cruiserweight Update

It is being reported that Ran Nakash is scheduled to face Lou Del Valle on July 23 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Nakash (25-1, 18 KOs) and Del Valle (36-6-2, 22 KOs) were going to fight last summer, but Del Valle backed out. Nakash ended up defeating Victor Barragan by unanimous decision instead.

Nakash is coming off of a gritty performance in a decision loss to beltholder Marco Huck in April. Del Valle, who will be 43 years old at the time of the contest, hasn't fought in the ring since before he was supposed to take on Nakash a year ago.

The bout between Alexander Frenkel (23-0, 18 KOs) and Silvio Branco (61-10-2, 37 KOs) will apparently be postponed and should take place in July. It is still scheduled to take place in Civitavecchia, Italy. Frenkel's opponent, Branco, is even older than Nakash's, Del Valle, as he is turning 45 in August.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Quick Turnaround for Melson

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson, who just fought last month, is scheduled to get back into the ring on June 10 on the Boricua Invasion card, which will take place at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York.

Melson (3-0, 1 KO) defeated Hector Rivera by TKO in 44 seconds on May 19 in a fight which also took place at the Roseland. He is penciled in to face 5'10" Kelvin Kibler (0-5-2) from South Carolina in a four-round bout.

About the quick turnaround, Melson said, "It is a blessing to be able to compete again a few weeks later. We had our best camp heading into our last fight in comparison to our camps for our previous two fights, and this good fortune allowed us to pick right back up where we left off without any interruption."

Melson will again donate his purse to Justadollarplease, an organization dedicated to stem cell research for spinal cord injuries.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Foreman to Reconsider Boxing Career in a Year

After his first two career losses, Yuri Foreman plans to stay away from the ring... at least for a while. Foreman told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I'm about to take a year off from boxing," at which point he will decide whether or not to resume his boxing career.

Foreman said he will now "focus on things I always wanted to do but never had time for." One of them includes running in his first race.

Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs), arguably the best Jewish boxer of the past few decades, won the WBA junior middleweight title from Daniel Santos on November 14, 2009. He valiantly defended the title against Miguel Cotto on June 5, 2010 during the first boxing event in the new Yankee Stadium. After tearing his ACL, Foreman continued to fight, but came up short. Foreman was admittedly flat in his last fight against Pawel Wolak this past March 12.

Best wishes to Yuri Foreman and his family in whatever he decides.

Monday, May 30, 2011

When to Stop the Fight?

Within the past year, referees controversially allowed three different fights, in which Jewish boxers participated, to proceed. Last June, a torn ACL and a white towel weren't enough to persuade Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop the contest between Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto. A few months later, Erkki Meronen signaled Alexander Frenkel to continue his pummeling of a half-conscious Enzo Maccarinelli. And this past February, Gilbert Richardson failed to stop the fight between Christina Ruiz and Emily Klinefelter, resulting in a burst blood vessel in Klinefelter's brain.

It is easy to second guess boxing referees who have to make split second decisions during the heat of battle. It is a difficult job and referees can be forgiven for missing certain calls. But a referee cannot miss when it comes to a fighter's safety. Above all else, that is the referee's primary responsibility.

On June 5, Foreman defended his WBA junior middleweight belt against Miguel Cotto in Yankee Stadium. The bout was competitive until Foreman tore his ACL 45 seconds into the 7th round as he bounced around the ring. As Foreman continued to fight, hobbled, he fell again with 1:38 left in the round. HBO commentator Jim Lampley exclaimed, "He's done! There's no way he can continue in the fight at this point." Mercante disagreed.

In the heat of the moment, perhaps it was natural to get caught up in the drama. The severity of Foreman's injury wasn't known until after the bout. But, a minute and 45 seconds into the 8th round, Foreman's then-cornerman Joe Grier threw in the towel knowing the injury had compromised his man. Mercante refused to accept Grier's suggestion to halt the fight and it continued until Foreman was put down by a body shot in the 9th.

Dr. Margaret Goodman believes the fight should have been stopped much earlier. In an article published on The Ring's site, Goodman writes, "Can a boxer compete with one hand? Yes, if he can mount an offense and/or move away from punches. A one-legged fighter is a disaster waiting to happen, a sitting duck, especially against a puncher like Cotto."

On why he continued to fight, Foreman told Tim Keown of ESPN The Magazine, "It was the fight of a lifetime... When you're on the biggest stage, you keep going until you can't go anymore. It's the referee's job to draw the line."

And that is precisely the point. The fighter has been conditioned to keep fighting. Someone else must step in and stop it. When Alexander Frenkel landed a gruesomely perfect left hook on the chin of Enzo Maccarinelli in the 7th round of their bout last September 18, Maccarinelli's head bounced around as he fell to the canvas. His noggin finally rested on the bottom rope.

Maccarinelli instinctively staggered to his feet. But it was clear that he was unable to protect himself. The referee, Erkki Meronen, had a split second to decide whether to stop the fight or to allow the European champion, Maccarinelli, to attempt to keep his title. He allowed the two combatants to continue. A quick one-two combination put down the woozy Maccarinelli. The fight was then stopped and Maccarinelli was administered oxygen.

Foreman and Maccarinelli were thankfully able to recover in the short term, and their careers will continue, but Emily Klinefelter wasn't as lucky. After her bout with Christina Ruiz on February 5, Klinefelter wound up in the hospital with a burst blood vessel in her brain. She had been knocked down repeatedly, but kept managing to return to her feet. Ruiz's manager, Emilio Ledezma, later said, "The girl was taking a beating. The ref should’ve stopped the fight [earlier]." Of Klinefelter, Ruiz noted, "Her eyes were kind of rolling back, and I thought they were going to stop the fight, but they didn’t."

After the final knockdown, in the 3rd round, Klinefelter was laid out, unresponsive. The fight finally stopped when referee Gilbert Richardson counted to ten. It's easy to criticize Richardson for failing to stop the bout earlier knowing Klinefelter's eventual fate. But Klinefelter, a decorated amateur and undefeated professional fighting in her hometown, kept rising to her feet. And her corner didn't intervene, either. Yet, one wonders if there is any justification for Richardson to count all the way to ten before calling off the contest.

Of course, the failure of officials to stop fights earlier is not limited to bouts that involve Jewish fighters. Instead, that three such bouts have taken place within this rather small sample size is an indication of a problem. There is little more exciting in boxing than watching a fallen fighter get back up and triumph. But this excitement cannot happen at the expense of the health of the boxer. This is a problem that is not unique to any single commission or country. It is pervasive. And it must be rectified. When in doubt, referees must be taught to stop the fight. A controversial early stoppage is always better than a controversial late one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Salita Speaks

Dmitriy Salita co-promoted "Box NYC" at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York on May 19. Here is an interview with Mike Gogel just before the event.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Frenkel to Battle Branco

European cruiserweight beltholder Alexander Frenkel is expected to get back into the ring against Silvio Branco on June 25 in the latter's hometown of Civitavecchia, Italy, according to Per Ake Persson of BoxingScene.com.

Frenkel (23-0, 18 KOs) last fought in September, when he knocked out Enzo Maccarinelli in the 7th round. Branco (61-10-2, 37 KOs), who is turning 45 years old this summer, defeated Vincenzo Rossitto by unanimous decision last November to win the WBC international belt.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Boyd Melson vs. Hector Rivera

May 19, 2011
Roseland Ballroom
New York, New York

Melson: black and yellow trunks
Rivera: blue and white trunks

Friday, May 20, 2011

Melson Wins By TKO

Boyd Melson didn't spend much time in the ring as he improved his record to 3-0 with a first round TKO victory over Hector Rivera last night at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York. The knockout was the first of Melson's professional career. Rivera fell to 2-8-1.

Melson strolled to the ring with J. Cole's "I'm Coming Home" blaring in the background and entered to loud cheers from the balcony. As the opening bell rang, both fighters began in the southpaw stance. They circled each other until Rivera threw a wild punch. Melson made a nifty move to avoid the punch and came back with a shot of his own. Rivera didn't feel the full impact of the punch for a few seconds before he crumbled to the canvas.

To his credit, Rivera rose, but referee Harvey Dock saw that he was in no condition to continue and waved off the contest. Melson earned the TKO 44 seconds into the fight. Of the knockout blow, comedian Capone, who inexplicably did a set following the bout, exclaimed, "I heard that punch backstage!"

Ring announcer Joe Antonacci interviewed Melson following his win, giving him the opportunity to plug the organization for spinal cord injury research in which he supports. More information about the organization at justadollarplease.org.

The event was co-promoted by Salita Promotions.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Melson Fights for a Reason

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson is scheduled to fight for the third time in his professional career on Thursday in the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York. Melson’s story is inspirational. He fights for a cause. By stepping into the ring, he hopes to raise awareness for stem cell research. In fact, he donates his entire boxing purses to the cause.

Melson met a woman named Christan Zaccagnino several years ago and they instantly shared a bond. This chance meeting would change his life. Zaccagnino was in a wheelchair stemming from a childhood accident. Her dream was to walk again. As they became closer, Melson soon shared in her dream. The desire to make it a realization fueled his competitive nature and he began researching on his own in a desperate effort to help her. Their love for each other strong, the two traveled around the world searching for a procedure that would help Zaccagnino walk again. None has worked yet.

But Melson and Zaccagnino refuse to quit. More research is needed. Melson’s voice quakes with emotion as he talks about his cause and it is easy to realize his devotion to it and to his friend. Listening to him, it’s a challenge not to get swept up in his words.

Melson learned to box in college at West Point because it was a required course. The sport came naturally to him. He gained success as an amateur and realized that he stuck out from the crowd. He attracted attention, not only due to his success, but because of his Jewishness and his education, two anomalies in boxing.

He gained the impetus to conflate his professional boxing career and his cause of bringing awareness to stem cell research from an unusual source. Boyd chuckled as he explained, when thinking about the popular reality show Jersey Shore, he realized that the people on the show are famous for no reason; they have nothing to say. It made him understand that he actually had something to say and could use the medium of boxing as a platform to say it.

Melson said he hopes to stay in boxing, “As long as I can be successful.” He wants to live “a normal life” and feels very fortunate that he has other options. So far he has been successful, utilizing a defensive strategy through his ability to avoid punches by employing movement. But he asserts that he’s willing to trade if need be.

He admits he’s a slow starter, which can be an ordeal in four-round bouts. Sometimes he’s thinks too much in the ring to his detriment. And it’s a challenge to train for a fight when you don’t know the opponent in advance. In training he tries to get “different looks in sparring,” so he’s prepared for anything, but he still contends that not knowing your opponent during training “stinks.” Regardless, Melson credits his will for his success in the ring. “I’ve beaten guys with better boxing ability because of my will,” he states in a measured tone.

Success nearly eluded him at the beginning of his pro career. The boxer admits that he came out too hard in his first fight, resulting in a knockdown in the first 15 seconds of the first round. He rebounded and controlled the rest of the round and the remainder of the fight. His motivation is not only to raise awareness for stem cell research. He told me he fights for his classmates who have been killed or wounded during their military service. He fights for his grandparents, who survived the Holocaust. And he also fights for himself.

Melson's website is here. To support spinal cord injury research, click here.