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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Look Back: Isaac Bitton

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.

Bitton "The Jew" was a 19th century bare-knuckle boxer and is most remembered for his bout with George Maddox.

Isaac Haim Bitton was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands on June 29, 1779. His parents were Abraham and Rachel. His father had been born in Italy and Isaac had ancestry from Algeria. The family moved to England in 1789, but Rachel was left behind. She never managed to make it to London due to the events of the day. Isaac, whose father died in 1801, was known as a fencer before taking up boxing at the age of 22.

Isaac fought Paddington Tom Jones on July 31, 1801 at Wimbledon Commons in London, England. Isaac had money in his drawers during the fight and, at one point, realized he couldn't find the stashed cash. So, he called an illegal timeout which ended only when the loot was found. But, unlike Chris Webber in the 1993 NCAA basketball championship, Isaac received no penalty for his bizarre behavior.

Nicknamed Bitton The Jew, Isaac was a stout man with a paunch for a belly and a punishing punch. He used Daniel Mendoza's new style of "boxing" his opponent, including raising his hands to block punches. Bitton's dark curly hair descended into sideburns that twisted into a "J" around his upper lip.

Isaac took on Maddox on December 13, 1802. Both men received twenty guineas for the bout which took place at Wimbledon Commons. Bitton knocked Maddox down repeatedly in the first three rounds. Maddox exhibited an uncommon toughness in coming back to deliver his own punishment. Though Maddox's face looked like raw meat by the end of the match, the battle was deemed a draw.

On July 16, 1804, Isaac took on Bill Wood at Wilsden Green. Bitton fell in three of the first four rounds. But by the end of the fifth, Bitton had gained control of the contest and was considered the favorite. By the 17th round, Wood was suffering from exhaustion, but the fight continued. It wasn't until the 36th round that Wood finally gave up and Bitton was declared the winner.

Isaac retired from the ring that year. He taught fencing and boxing thereafter. Isaac was the lone remaining child when his mother died in 1812 in Amsterdam. In 1818, he got married and fathered enough children to form a minyan. He died in 1839. British actress June Brown is a descendant.

Blady, Ken. The Jewish Boxers Hall of Fame. 1988.
Egan, Pierce. Boxiana; Or Sketches of Ancient and Modern Pugilism. 1829.
Ford, John. Prizefighting: The Age of Regency Boximania. 1972.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Heyman to Fight Krasniqi in Germany

According to NewMexicoBoxing.com, "Mad" Max Heyman will face Robin Krasniqi on November 16 in Magdenburg, Germany. The fight will be for a marginal belt and take place at light heavyweight.

Heyman (25-11-4, 14 KOs) is coming off of unanimous decision victory over Chris Thomas in September. He's won his last two fights. But he's only fought once in the past 22 months and four times in five and half years. Those four fights have all been in Heyman's home state of New Mexico. Only one of his career matches has taken place somewhere other than the western portion of the United States.

Krasniqi, at 25, is eight years younger than Heyman. The Germany-based Serbian is 38-2 with 14 KOs. But he is on an incredible 37-fight win streak. Few of those bouts have been against an opponent as experienced as Heyman. Krasniqi fought in August, a win over previously-undefeated Serdar Sahin.

One of the big questions heading into the bout involves Heyman's oft-injured hands. In the Thomas fight, Heyman complained of a damaged right hand. He had hurt his left in a 2010 bout against Mike Alderete.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Foreman Scheduled to Return

Yuri Foreman is scheduled to return to the ring on November 17 at the Paramount Theatre in Long Island, New York. The former WBA junior middleweight champion has not fought since March of 2011.

In his last fight, Foreman lost to Pawel Wolak in a flat performance. That fight came after he snapped his ACL while losing his title belt to Miguel Cotto in 2010. At 28-2 with 8 KOs, those two losses are the only Foreman has experienced as a professional boxer. Following the Wolak fight, the first Israeli world champion in the history of the sport took some time off.

Foreman, who is now 32 years old, will likely face soft competition in his first fight back in twenty months. That has been a rare occurrence of late for Foreman; he has fought world class competition in his four previous clashes. And before that, Foreman faced quality fighters. No opponent has been named as of yet for Yuri's scheduled six round affair next month.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Carolina Duer vs. Marisa Johanna Portillo

October 26, 2012
Buenos Aires, Argentina
WBO super flyweight championship

Duer: purple trunks
Portillo: white trunks

Friday, October 26, 2012

Duer Decisions Portillo to Defend Title

Carolina Raquel Duer retained the WBO super flyweight title against Marisa Johnna Portillo by unanimous decision at Tecnópolis in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Duer was more aggressive and used combinations, especially to the body, to capture the victory.

Duer's hair was wrapped tightly to prevent it from whipping into her face as happened last fight. Portillo initiated the bout with an overhand right. Duer spent the first minute measuring her Argentine challenger. By the second round, Duer had found her groove, delivering punishing body combinations. The champion also controlled the third round.

Nicknamed "La Turca," Duer began her combinations with rounded left hooks before shifting to the overhand right. She adapted that combo later in the fight, throwing curved left uppercuts, reminiscent of a bolo punch, and following them up with the right.

But Portillo was a game opponent. After failing to match Duer's activity early, Portillo pushed forward in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. In those three rounds, the challenger was at her most competitive, but Duer still landed frequently.

In the sixth, Portillo pushed Duer back to the ropes. Duer slid away and continued to back up. Portillo billy goated Duer in the nose. Referee Rudolfo Stella stripped a point away from Portillo for the act. The result was a more passive Portillo. Duer dominated the seventh round with overhand rights. By the ninth round, Duer utilized her customary running combos.

The ring card girls informed the crowd of the upcoming rounds by tip-toeing a high wire in the night's sky. Portillo did not show the same commitment to risk as the ring card girls until the final round. In that tenth, Portillo went for broke. Being the true fighter she is, Duer, comfortably ahead at that point, matched Portillo's intensity throughout the two-minute period, absorbing punishment in the process.

All three of the judges scored the contest 97-92 in favor of the defending champion. Duer, who is an outspoken activist against domestic violence, weighed 114.75 pounds for the bout. She is now 13-3 with 5 KOs after defending the title for the sixth time. Portillo, who weighed 115 pounds, is now 12-6-2 with 2 KOs.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wohlman Discusses Cletus Seldin, More

Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman attended the first ever boxing event at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York yesterday. Sporting the remnants of the nasty cut on his forehead from his last bout with Jesus Vallejo, he said his next fight will either be on November 10 or 17.

Wohlman is looking to sign with either Top Rank or Golden Boy, the two preeminent promotional companies in boxing, in the near future. Wohlman appreciates Top Rank's fighter development and Golden Boy's clout in his home state of California.

Unfortunately for East Coast fans of Wohlman, he has no plans fighting outside of the Los Angeles area any time soon. However, he did express interest in battling New York's Cletus "Hebrew Hammer" Seldin. Both are undefeated Jewish welterweights. Wohlman has respect for Seldin, noting, "He can crack."

Zac also said he needs to build up his record more before that matchup can be considered as Seldin is currently further along in his career than is Wohlman. But that contest would be intriguing. It would feature a clash of styles as Seldin is a puncher and Wohlman is a boxer.

Currently, Seldin is 9-0 with 7 KOs and Wohlman is 4-0-1 with 1 KO. If both remain undefeated after reaching double digit fights, it would make sense for ESPN's Friday Night Fights or Showtime's ShoBox to televise the all-Jewish affair as it would be quite marketable.

Additionally, Wohlman said he met fellow Jewish welterweight Dmitriy Salita in the week before the fights. "Kid Yamaka" noted that Salita approached him and told him, "Congrats on your success." Wohlman came away from the meeting singing Salita's praises, remarking, "Gotta say, what a humble guy."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Salita Wins, Melson Draws

Dmitriy Salita took virtually every round against Brandon Hoskins in winning a unanimous decision at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Salita varied his attack throughout the fight, but Hoskins managed to tag him more than expected.

Salita told Jerry Glick before the fight, "I have to look impressive, and I have to look great to put myself into title contention." Though winning just about every round, Salita's hometown crowd sat passively as the fight progressed, indicating that he did not impress to quite the degree he had hoped.

Hoskins was often willing to trade, but Dmitriy tended to punctuate the exchanges with scoring blows as he did at the end of the first. He countered well throughout and utilized his left hook effectively. Hoskins landed his share of overhand rights during the first four rounds, but it simply wasn't enough. In the fifth, Hoskins added the left hook to his arsenal, but Salita finished the round with a flurry of chopping rights. Dmitriy dominated the sixth round.

The scores were 60-54, 59-55 twice. Salita weighed 150 pounds and Hoskins, a resident of Hannibal, Missouri, weighed 147.25 pounds. Salita came to the arena not long before his fight began as he waited until Shabbat had ended to make the trip. Dmitriy advances to 35-1-1 with 18 KOs and Hoskins falls to 16-3-1, with 8 KOs

Earlier in the evening, Boyd Melson battled to a draw against Jason Thompson in the first ever fight at Barclays Center. Both men were sent to the canvas although it appeared Melson controlled much of the fight.

The cavernous arena was sparsely populated when the fight began just after 5pm. But those in attendance were boisterous for Boyd. Melson entered the ring to Alicia Keys's "Girl on Fire." In the first, both men bounced on their toes. Melson, nicknamed the "Rainmaker," hit Thompson with a big left and a right hook before finding himself too square and touching the canvas after a big Thompson right.

Thompson spent most of the rest of the fight attempting to replicate that riveting right, resulting in a reluctance to throw. Melson's lead lefts and short right hooks contributed to Thompson's inactive hands. Boyd's short right hooks were most impressive. A quick combo knocked Thompson off his feet in the third. He looked hurt and showed courage in continuing.

The fourth period was closer as Thompson finally began to jab. But Melson controlled range. In the fifth, he boxed and bullied his way to the round. Thompson landed his rights in the sixth, but Melson was still right there with him.

It seemed as if Melson won every round after the first, and he was winning that one before the knockdown came. But all three judges scored the contest 56-56. Boyd told The Jewish Boxing Blog that he is, "Highly frustrated with the decision." He has reason to be.

He explained, "I believe you can find a round at best to give him outside the first. [I am] really frustrated as well because I won the first had I never went down." Despite the unexpected result, Melson was gracious to his opponent. He continued, "Outside of that he fought extremely hard and showed some heart getting up like he did to fight back after I knocked him down."

After the dubious draw, Melson, who weighed 155 pounds, is now 10-1-1 with 4 KOs while Thompson, who was 151 pounds, moves to 5-6-2 with 4 KOs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Opponents Named For Salita and Melson

Dmitriy Salita is now scheduled to fight 25-year old Missouri-native Brandon Hoskins at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York this Saturday. Hoskins is 16-2-1 with 8 KOs. He has lost his two fights in 2012, both to quality undefeated opponents, Keith Thurman and Phil Lo Greco. Hoskins has yet to garner a win against an opponent of note.

Salita (34-1-1, 18 KOs) was scheduled to face Hector Munoz. Hoskins is less experienced than Munoz, but has a similar record of losing when he steps up in competition. Salita believes, "I'm only one or two fights away from a world title fight in my beautiful home borough of Brooklyn." A win over Hoskins, a fight taken on short notice, likely won't clinch that world title challenge, but it would be a step in the right direction.

The Salita-Hoskins bout is marked down for eight rounds at welterweight.

Boyd Melson is also slated to fight on the same card at the Barclay's Center. Jason Thompson (5-6-1, 4 KOs) has been announced as Melson's opponent. Thompson has lost his last three fights, all to undefeated prospects, including Jonathan Gonzalez and Sadam Ali. Thompson, a 31-year old New Yorker, has fought around the welterweight limit throughout his seven year pro career. He hasn't fought since 2010.

Melson (10-1-, 4 KOs), who turns 31 years old today, has won his last two fights since a controversial loss to Delen Parsley in March. Melson has spent his entire career around the junior middleweight limit. The strong southpaw will donate his purse to Justadollarplease.org as always.

The Melson-Thompson contest is scheduled for six rounds in the junior middleweight division.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Groenteman Wins Dutch Junior Welterweight Title

Barry Groenteman captured the vacant Dutch junior welterweight title today by drawing with Belgian Tarik Madni at Theater Carré in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This is far and away Groenteman's biggest result of his career. By drawing with the Belgian fighter, Groenteman was awarded the Dutch belt. The bout was part of the Ben Bril Memorial boxing event.

Ben Bril was a Dutch Jew who boxed in the 1928 Olympics. His country was banned in 1932 and he boycotted the 1936 Berlin Games because of the Nazis. Bril spent time in Bergen-Belsen during the Holocaust. Bril later became a professional boxing referee and lived to the age of 91.

That Groenteman's performance came at the memorial for a fellow Dutch Jewish boxer makes it all the more sweet. He weighed in at 138.25 pounds for the bout and Madni was 139. Barry's record is now 7-5-2 with 2 KOs. Madni is 17-4-1.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Seldin's Fifth Straight Knockout

Welterweight Cletus Seldin stopped Carl McNickles in the second round tonight at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury, New York. The win marks Seldin's fifth consecutive knockout.

As usual, Seldin came out firing from the beginning of the fight. After the initial storm, Seldin settled down and landed a nifty lead right with thirty seconds remaining in the opening round. Just before the bell, Seldin clocked McNickles with an overhand right, a harbinger of things to come.

In the second, Seldin wobbled McNickles with a strong combo. The "Hebrew Hammer" then nailed McNickles with an overhand right, his usual knockout blow. McNickles fell like a tree, but gamely managed to beat the count. The fight did not last much longer before referee Tony Chiarantan halted it. Seldin landed off the knockdown with a leaping left hook. Three rights later, his courageous veteran opponent collapsed for a second and final time.

Both men weighed in at 143 pounds for the contest. Seldin, wearing his customary purple trunks, has been under 145 in each of his last four fights, but this was the lightest he's been in his career. Seldin's record improves to 9-0 with 7 KOs while McNickles plummets to 8-4 with 6 KOs.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Brooks Has Two Fights Scheduled

Undefeated lightweight Mike "Lefty" Brooks has two fights upcoming before the close of 2012. On November 1, Brooks is expected to fight Bryan Acaba at Plattduetsche Restaurant in Long Island, New York. On December 13, Brooks is slated to fight Edward Valdez in New York. A venue for the latter fight has not been selected as of yet.

Brooks (8-0, 2 KOs) has fought twice this year. Lefty has the ability to box or stalk his opponent. He is especially adept at working over his opponent's body. In his last fight, he defeated Joey Arroyo by unanimous decision in an eight round affair at Plattduetsche. That bout was fought outdoors in sweltering humidity, but Brooks had no problems fighting eight rounds for the first time in his career.

Bryan Acaba (3-1, 2 KOs) is a 25 year old Brooklyn resident originally from Puerto Rico. He has two wins over Jamell Tyson, a fighter Brooks has also defeated. In his last fight on August 31, Acaba was knocked out in the first round against Tyrone Luckey. The win made Luckey 5-2-1 against nondescript opposition. The fight with Acaba, Lefty's fourth at Plattduetsche, is marked down for six rounds.

Edward Valdez (11-8-2, 8 KOs) is a 33 year old native of the Dominican Republic. Valdez has won six fights in a row and eight of his previous nine clashes. However, only one of those wins came against a fighter with a winning record. In his eight losses, his opponents had a combined two losses at the time they fought Valdez. Valdez is in tough again against Brooks. That match is penciled in for eight rounds.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mike Brooks vs. Joey Arroyo

August 11, 2012
Plattduetsche Restaurant
Long Island, New York

Brooks: camouflage trunks
Arroyo: red trunks, white trim

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Duer's Next Defense

Carolina Raquel Duer is posed to make her sixth defense of the WBO super flyweight title. This time, she will face Marisa Johanna Portillo at Tecnópolis in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 26. This will mark Duer's fifth straight fight in her hometown of Buenos Aires.

Duer (12-3, 5 KOs), nicknamed La Turca and La Colorada, has ten consecutive wins and five knockouts in a row. Her last fight was a fifth round KO of Carina Corlescu (video) on July 6. Duer is ten years older than Portillo, who is also from Argentina.

Portillo (12-5-2, two KOs) lost her lone attempt at a world title in October of 2011 by unanimous decision. She was dominated by Ana Maria Torres in her attempted to pry away the WBC's version of the super flyweight belt. Portillo, nicknamed La Nena and La Piba, has a couple of wins against nondescript co-nationalists since that loss.

The bout between Duer and Portillo is scheduled for ten two-minute rounds.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Ahrens Wins Debut

Daniel Aharonov, fighting under the name of Danny 'Kid' Ahrens, won his professional debut last Friday. Ahrens defeated Kevin McCauley on points in a four-rounder at the Camden Centre in London, England.

A noted amateur, Ahrens is a 5'9" light middleweight from Israel. He weighed 152 pounds for this fight while McCauley was 158. Referee Robert Williams scored the fight 40-37. Ahrens is now 1-0; McCauley falls to 10-42-3 with zero KOs.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Salita to Face Munoz in Brooklyn

Welterweight Dmitriy Salita is scheduled to face Hector Munoz on October 20 at the newly-opened Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, New York. The bout is part of a stacked card, the first to take place at the new arena. Salita-Munoz could be televised on Showtime Extreme.

Dmitriy Salita (34-1-1, 18 KOs) is 5'9" and 30 years old. He's fought once since April of 2011. That was a knockout victory over Roberto Valenzuela in August, his fourth consecutive triumph over a journeyman with a winning record. Salita hopes to obtain a title shot in the near future, particularly against WBA beltholder Paulie Malignaggi, who is facing Pablo Cesar Cano on the same card. Other names previously talked about for this fight with Salita were Edgar Santana (26-4, 17 KOs) and Vivian Harris (29-9-2, 19 KOs).

Hector Munoz (20-8-1, 13 KOs)- an Albuquerque, New Mexico resident- is four years older and an inch shorter than Salita. Munoz has won two fights out of ten since a 2008 win against the same Roberto Valenzuela. Munoz has been knocked out five times in his career. However, six of his eight losses were against quality prospects or contenders who were undefeated at the time. These include Antonin Decarie, Mike Jones, Shawn Porter, Ravshan Hudaynazarov, Yoshihiro Kamegai, and Brad Solomon.

A fight with the likes of Munoz is not exactly one that will propel Salita into a position for a mandatory title shot. But it is a step up from his recent competition and a win would put him closer to his goal. The Salita-Munoz contest is marked for eight rounds or fewer.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wohlman's Cut Healing Quickly

Zachary Wohlman incurred a nasty gash across his forehead in his last fight on September 20. Wohlman describes how the cut occurred against Jesus Vallejo that night. Zac needed 32 stitches.

But Wohlman told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "My cut is healing unbelievably quick. I start training again Friday."  He said that he's looking at November 10 at the Staples Center for his return and that he's "very excited" about that possibility. In the meantime, Wohlman will be working with the Paulie Malignaggi camp in preparation for the latter's fight with Pablo Cesar Cano on October 20.

Wohlman, nicknamed "Kid Yamaka," is a popular prospect from the Los Angeles area who sports a record of 4-0-1 with one KO. The draw came in the aforementioned Vallejo bout and was of the technical variety.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Seldin to Fight on October 13

Welterweight Cletus Seldin is scheduled to be back in the ring on October 13 at the NYCB Theatre in Westbury, New York. Veteran Carl McNickles is slated to be Seldin's opponent.

Seldin (8-0, 6 KOs), a 26 year old, has five consecutive knockouts, all coming in the third round or earlier. He is coming off of a first round stoppage of Jonathan Garcia in July. That fight lasted two minutes and 18 seconds.

Of his aggressive style, the man nicknamed the "Hebrew Hammer" told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "Even though my style looks like I'm just a bull, there is a science behind it... I can also just box too, but I just like to fight hard." Seldin noted that his strategy for each fight is detailed, "A lot of preparation goes into a fight, so much that my coach even told me what punches are going to win the fight the last two bouts."

McNickles (8-3, 6 KOs), a 28 year old from Chicago, has fought as heavy as junior middleweight and as small as lightweight. McNickles has two majority decision victories since a December 2009 loss to Gabriel Bracero.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chilemba's Post-Fight Interview

Coming off of his unanimous decision victory over Rayco Saunders on Saturday night, Isaac Chilemba (20-1-1, 9 KOs) spoke with Victor Salazar of Tha Boxing Voice. Chilemba noted that Saunders was "tough." Since Saunders used a high guard, Chilemba explained, "I knew that every time I jabbed him, he was going to cover up- he's going to cover his whole body- so the only punch I could get in proper was the uppercut. And it worked well."

Chilemba, nicknamed the "Golden Boy," was originally scheduled to face the undefeated Zsolt Erdei. Isaac expressed interest in that fight and in facing the best at light heavyweight, including Chad Dawson, Jean Pascal, Nathan Cleverly, Tavoris Cloud, or Bernard Hopkins. Chilemba declared, "All I want is to be the best in my division."