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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.

1 comment:

  1. July...might be Jewish Boxing Month...Today is
    the 91st anniversary of maybe the greatest inter-Jewish war between Benny Leonard and Charley White(Anchowitz);White was rated #100 in Ring Magazine's 2003 list of boxing's 100 best punchers.Benny stopped him in nine in a war...Also,maybe the greatest Jewish boxing rivalry,Benny Leonard-Lew Tendler I(7-27-22) as well as the rematch also won by Leonard(7-27-23)
    and sold out Yankee Stadium.