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Friday, November 30, 2012

A Look Back: Herbie Kronowitz

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.

Herbie Kronowitz died earlier this month at the age of 89. Kronowitz was a fearsome middleweight contender during one of the golden ages of professional boxing.

Ted Kronowitz was born in 1923 in New York. He grew up in Brooklyn and would get into street fights as a kid. World champion middleweight Ben Jeby lived nearby and helped Ted develop an interest in boxing. Kronowitz assumed his big brother Herb's name when he applied for an amateur boxing license because Ted wasn't old enough to do so. Kronowitz turned pro at the age of 17.

Kronowitz won his first ten fights as a lightweight and didn't lose until his 26th bout. His mother did not approve of his boxing career, but his father was proud of him. Herbie loved the adulation success produced. He fought at Madison Square Garden numerous times. St. Nicholas Arena, Broadway Arena, and Ebbets Field were other frequent haunts for the pugilist.

Kronowitz was tall for his weight, which slowly progressed upward through the years, at 5'10". He could box, but he was most known for his toughness. Herbie would fight anyone at any time, even if an opponent had a difficult style. Herbie was most amped when an opponent had an anti-Semitic word for him. But some observers felt Kronowitz was poorly managed. He never obtained fights with some of the bigger named fighters of his day.

In 1942, Kronowitz left the sport to join the Coast Guard and restarted his boxing career in 1946 as a middleweight. He fought Pete Mead four times from 1946-1948. All four bouts were wars. Mead fell three times, but was awarded the victory in three of the bouts. Herbie also fought Artie Levine, a renown middleweight, at the Garden. It was Kronowitz's first time headlining.

That bout took place on March 7, 1947. Levine was given the decision by three scores of 6-3-1. Kronowitz took on Harold Green on June 19, 1947. He battered the tough Green for ten rounds and won a unanimous decision. Kronowitz was given the title of middleweight champion of Brooklyn as a result of the victory.

The winner of Kronowitz-Green was supposed to fight Jake LaMotta. But that fight never materialized. Herbie believed he had the right style to beat LaMotta. LaMotta was short and stocky as was Green. Green had a better punch, but LaMotta was tougher, according to Kronowitz. Tony Zale, Marcel Cerdan, and Rocky Graziano were other potential opponents who ducked Herbie.

Kronowitz's record was 55-23-5. He contended that most of those losses were dubious. Herbie admitted that he maybe legitimately lost four of those fights. He lost his last six fights and retired from the ring in 1950. In retirement, Kronowitz was a referee in New York for nearly thirty years. He died on November 9, 2012.

As one fan wrote after Herbie's death, "His record also speaks to the politics that have always beset boxing- if you did not have the right connections, even with the talent you had a much harder road to travel. He clearly had the talent to be a world champion if he had those connections. He was a mensch all of his days, and I don't think you can do any better than that."

Bodner, Allen. When Boxing was a Jewish Sport. 1997.
Silver, Mike. "Herbie Kronowitz 1923-2012." Boxing.com. 2012.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Foreman Set to Return in 2013

According to Ryan Bivins of Bad Left Hook, former WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman is looking to comeback in January of 2013. He has discussed a January 19 card at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut for his first fight back. It could possibly be televised on NBC Sports in the United States.

Originally, Foreman was going to make an understated return at the Paramount Theatre in Long Island, New York. But the card was cancelled due to damage inflicted by Hurricane Sandy.

Foreman announced on Twitter that he is back with his old trainer Joe Grier. Grier was by Foreman's side when Yuri tore his ACL in his title defense against Miguel Cotto. Foreman last fought in March of 2011, a six round stoppage at the hands of Pawel Wolak.

In that fight, Yuri did not have the requisite hunger. On Wednesday, he explained to listeners of ATG Radio that immediately after the fight with Cotto, "I lost any motivation." He trained for the Wolak fight out of habit, not out of love. "I wasn't there mentally," he said.

But Foreman's drive is back. "I feel great physically and mentally... There is no doubt what I want to do." He is planning to take a series of six and eight rounders before entering a big fight.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dmitriy Salita's Future Plans

On Saturday night in Manchester, England, Vyacheslav Senchenko landed a debilitating left hook to Ricky Hatton's liver in the ninth round. The former junior welterweight champion crashed to the canvas. He tried to rise, but the pain was too excruciating, and he was counted out. Senchenko's upset has possibly opened doors for welterweight contender Dmitriy Salita.

Here's how: WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) had hoped to get a rematch with Hatton, assuming the latter would defeat Senchenko. But since that didn't happen, Malignaggi's plans are out the window. He likely won't fight Hatton's conqueror. Malignanggi thoroughly trounced Senchenko in April to win the belt. That could pave the way for Salita to earn his second title shot.

Salita (35-1-1, 18 KOs) told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I am looking to fight [Gabriel] Bracero and then Malignaggi. That is the plan." The fight against Bracero (20-1, 3 KOs) would possibly take place in February. Bracero, a light-punching skilled boxer from Brooklyn, has a date scheduled for December 19 at Roseland Ballroom.

Bracero was badly beaten during a decision loss to DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley in January. He's won two fights since and is looking to regain momentum for his career. Nicknamed "Tito," the native of Puerto Rico is a New York favorite and a clash with Salita would be quite intriguing.

Beltholder Paulie Malignaggi is looking to fight in April and Salita hopes a win over the credible Bracero will earn him that date. If Plan A falls through, there are other options. Senchenko (33-1, 22 KOs) is one. Salita said, "We were talking about fighting each other several times but it did not work out. I would be interested in that as well."

Two men who have called out Dmitriy likely won't be in the picture. Francisco "El Gato" Figueroa (20-5-1, 13 KOs) had some unkind things to say to an unnamed reporter at BoxingScene.com earlier this month. Phil D. Jay reports that undefeated Canadian welterweight Phil Lo Greco (25-0, 14 KOs) also had some disrespectful comments aimed at Salita. Dmitriy correctly asserts, "Both fights will not do much for my career."

Salita explains, "My ultimate goal is a fight with Paulie for the WBA title. I feel I did my part in deserving a second title shot. I guarantee that I will take full advantage of it and take care of business inside the ring."

In the meantime, Salita Promotions is putting on an amateur card called Brooklyn Brawl which will be held at the Fight Factory Gym in Brooklyn, New York on December 2.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ahrens Wins Again

Danny "Kid" Ahrens won his second professional fight last night at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, England. Ahrens defeated Rick Boulter on points. Referee Richard Williams granted Ahrens the decision by the score of 40-36.

Ahrens sauntered to the ring underneath a white hood to the sound of Guns 'N Roses's Welcome to the Jungle. Once the bout started, Ahrens captured the center of the ring. He eschewed the jab in favor of bobbing and weaving his way inside. Boulter, a southpaw from Lincoln, England, kept his right hand low and futilely attempted to block Ahrens's straight rights with his shoulder.

Boulter landed one big shot in the first round. It was absorbed by Ahrens's face, which showed no consternation as a result of the blow. At the end of the round, Danny nailed Boulter with two left hooks. Boulter went hurling into the corner and Ahrens showed an instinctive aggression by jumping on his wounded opponent. But the bell sounded and Boutler was saved.

Rick Boulter is no world beater. He has only one win compared to now thirty losses and three draws. But he knows how to survive. On the rare occasion he decided to attack, his punches landed on Danny's gloves. His nose bled from the second round onward. As a result, Boulter held relentlessly in the third and fourth rounds. The excessive holding served to stifle Ahrens's attack.

Ahrens, who is 5'8" and weighed 156 for the fight, was the aggressor throughout. He periodically switched to southpaw, a stance that was less effective than when he was orthodox. The "Kid" often stood squarely in front of his taller opponent, who weighed in at 156.75 pounds for this contest, but did not need to worry about presenting a bigger target as Boulter exhibited very little offense.

There's no shame in the fact that Ahrens didn't stop a fighter with a 1-30-3 record as Boutler has only been stopped thrice in his career. This was his 15th fight on 2012. Danny Ahrens advances to 2-0.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cletus Seldin vs. Carl McNickles

October 13, 2012
NYCB Theatre
Westbury, New York

Seldin: purple trunks
McNickles: black trunks

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Max Heyman vs. Robin Krasniqi

November 16, 2012
Maritim Hotel
Magdeburg, Germany

Heyman: black trunks
Kransiqi: black trunks, red trim

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Krasniqi Stops Heyman

Max Heyman lost by way of third round TKO in his fight yesterday against Robin Krasniqi at the Maritim Hotel in Magdeburg, Germany. Heyman was knocked to the canvas twice before the referee waved off the contest.

Heyman, wearing black trunks with red fire on the left leg, was competitive early. He jabbed out of his high guard, which produced little success. "Mad" Max found his best punch however when he added the right to the body. Meanwhile, Krasniqi tested his right hand early, gauging the appropriate range.

Heyman landed a nice counter right, but Krasniqi appeared unfazed. The younger man realized at that point that he could walk down Heyman. Late in the first, Krasniqi landed a big right uppercut, which is his money punch. He added a massive overhand right that sent Heyman staggering into the corner.

Heyman was at his worst when hiding in the corner. Moments before the bell rang, he fell, flooded by a series of Krasniqi shots. The Germany-based fighter continued his right hand-heavy dominance in the second and third rounds.  Heyman's nose bled as a result of repeated right uppercuts. But he fought gamely. Still, Krasniqi's hand speed and Heyman's inability to produce enough power forced the American to constantly retreat. For Heyman to have a chance, he needed to be coming forward.

Towards the end of the third, Krasniqi overwhelmed a stunned Heyman once again. Max folded to the floor. He beat the count, but the fight was waved off with 16 seconds remaining in the round. Heyman protested.

Krasniqi, who is line to challenge the WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly, rises to 39-2 with 15 KOs. The classy Heyman slides to 25-12-4 with 14 KOs.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Brooks Stays Undefeated

Mike "Lefty" Brooks remained undefeated after winning by majority decision last night against Bryan Acaba. This fight took place at Plattduetsche Restaurant in Long Island, New York and was originally scheduled for November 1, but Hurricane Sandy forced the postponement of the card.

This was the 135-pound Long Island native's toughest test to date and Acaba, who weighed in at 133 for the contest, was able to shake him up on occasion. But Lefty's stunning right hook, sprinkled across Acaba's face throughout the rounds, won him the fight.

In the first round, the wheels in Mike's mind were apparent. First, he flung out the jab. He noticed Acaba's eyes followed its trajectory. So, Brooks used it as a decoy and fired a straight left into Acaba's mouth. He tried the combination again, but Acaba was wise to the straight left, so Brooks added a delayed right hook on the back end that caused Acaba consternation. Acaba never adjusted to Brooks's flinging right hook.

Brooks, wearing camouflage trunks, stalked for the first five rounds and Acaba moved. Acaba's punches were slow, but he showed himself to be a competent boxer. In the middle of the third round, Acaba shot off a ferocious combination as if he had been shocked out of a deep slumber. The blizzard likely won him the round.

Lefty is an excellent body puncher, but while he threw more than Acaba, he threw fewer than he should have. It allowed Acaba to maintain his strength in the final round. Acaba needed his strength because he had been blasted around in the fourth and fifth periods. But he showed grit in the sixth and his right continuously forced Brooks backwards. Mike moved for the first time in the fight and Acaba became the aggressor. Exhibiting courage, and after eating Acaba's gloves all round, Brooks punctuated the bout with another winging right hook that stopped his opponent in his tracks.

The two inked warriors tattooed each other all fight long giving the fans a rousing affair. Much of the sparse crowd backed Lefty, but the Acaba supporters took over in the final round. Brooks had fought outdoors at the Plattduetsche in August in sweltering conditions; this contest took place comfortably indoors.

The judges scored the bout 58-56 twice and 57-57. Some Acaba fans interestingly believe Brooks benefited from a hometown decision. Brooks advances to 9-0 with two KOs and Acaba falls to 3-2 with two KOs.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Foreman Fight Canceled

Yuri Foreman's comeback fight, scheduled for Saturday, has been cancelled. The entire Star Boxing card at Paramount Theatre in Long Island, New York was shelved due to damaged inflicted by Hurricane Sandy late last month. The show was nixed last Friday, according to Foreman.

This would have marked Foreman's first fight since a loss against Pawel Wolak in March of 2011. Foreman is 28-2 with 8 KOs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Heyman-Krasniqi Preview

Max Heyman faces light heavyweight contender Robin Krasniqi at Maritim Hotel in Magdeburg, Germany on Friday. Heyman will fight in Europe for the first time in his career and is the clear underdog in this contest. He is essentially a veteran opponent brought in by Krasniqi's handlers to allow their man to look impressive. But Heyman intends to write his own narrative.

Krasniqi (38-2, 14 KOs), a 25-year old ethnic-Albanian born in Kosovo, has not lost since a 2006 defeat in his third professional bout to a winless fighter. He now resides in Munich, Germany and has fought all 40 of his contests in his adoptive home country. A win would likely land him a fight with WBO light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly, according to Scott Gilfoid of BoxingNews24.com (Incidentally, Jewish light heavyweight contender Isaac Chilemba has publicly challenged Cleverly, but the beltholder hasn't yet shown interest in accepting).

Krasniqi is an athletic mover with fast hands. His primary weapon is his right hand, particularly the uppercut. In his last fight in August, he floored the undefeated Serdar Sahin with that right uppercut twice, winning by fourth round TKO. In his previous fight, Krasniqi unloaded a series of overhand rights against Hakim Zoulikha in the twelfth, before the referee became tired of watching the beating and waved off the contest.

A cocky kid with quick hands, Krasniqi often keeps his guard low. That leaves him susceptible to an overhand right if he pulls straight back or a counter right if he sits in the pocket and admires his last punch too long. Those two options will be the best hopes for Heyman (25-11-4, 14 KOs). Both Sahim and Zoulikha, who are not the most skilled fighters, were able to tag Krasniqi repeatedly with overhand rights. Heyman, a 33-year old New Mexico-native, will need to improve upon his recent defensive performances in order to land those big rights against his younger, slightly taller opponent. The hand injuries that have recently plagued Heyman are another potential aspect of this fight.

"Mad" Max has fought the better competition in his career, but not recently. In his last fight, Heyman decisioned journeyman Chris Thomas on September 22, his only fight in the past two years. Of this next bout, Heyman said, "Robin Krasniqi is a young, strong boxer. I was well informed about him. This is a tough fight and I have to do my best."

The matchup is scheduled for twelve rounds and is for a minor belt.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lessons from the Loss: Wohlman on Last Night

His voice sounded firm and resolute. This loss would not define his career. He knew where he had failed and what he could do to make sure that never happens again.

Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman (4-1-1, one KO) suffered the first defeat of his career last night against Alonso Loeza, a fourth round stoppage. Despite his superior technique, he lost a battle of "will vs. skill" as he puts it.

There were explanations, but no excuses. "I want to take 100% responsibility for the loss." Wohlman told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I know this sounds bizarre, but I learned more than ever in my heart this is really what I want. And that being said, I need to live and breathe boxing all the time."

When he woke up in the morning, no longer an undefeated fighter, he was "on fire." Any true competitor knows the feeling. He shunned the press, refusing to read other's opinions of the bout for the time being. He didn't need to be told where it all went wrong.

"I went from 166 lbs. to 148 lbs. in two weeks," purging five pounds of sweat on Friday in the process. He noted that in the excitement of potentially fighting at the Staples Center on the undercard of the Mares-Moreno title clash on Showtime, "I rushed into a fight I wasn't prepared for."

Knowing he was out of shape, Wohlman uncharacteristically attempted to oust Loeza from the fight early. But Wohlman is at heart a boxer and Loeza as a boxer is all heart. Loeza survived the early barrage.

"I completely ran out of gas," Zac admits. Falling in the third round after a series of clubbing rights, he experienced an epiphany. "Last night, I dropped from exhaustion and found my way back up from nothing else but instinct. I'm going to get in to phenomenal shape, utilize my skill, and know that those instincts are who I am as a fighter."

Wohlman looks to return to the ring in a few months after he works his way into better condition. He assures his fans who have given him so much support, "I'll be back in the ring, ready and prepared, as soon as possible."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wohlman Suffers First Career Defeat

Zachary "Kid Yamaka" Wohlman's undefeated record went by the wayside after being stopped in the fourth round against journeyman Alonso Loeza at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California tonight. The loss is a significant setback for the popular Californian's career.

Stamina issues were the major reason for the loss. Wohlman told The Jewish Boxing Blog in October that he had been running, but the aftermath of the nasty cut on his forehead, which he sustained in his last fight in September, possibly played a role in Wohlman's lack of endurance. It not only limited certain training activities, but it likely informed Wohlman's strategy for this fight, causing him to engage more rather than box in order to get rid of a lesser opponent before an accidental headbutt could occur.

The first round started well enough. Wohlman was able to box effectively and land several uppercuts, earning him a point on the cards. But Loeza is not a man who relents. In the second, the match turned into a bit of a brawl, which favored the less-skilled Loeza.

In the third, Wohlman was unable to avoid Loeza's clubbing rights. In his previous five fights, Zac's chin had never been questioned. The decorated amateur fell towards the end of that round, but, to his credit, managed to stand up, albeit on shaky legs. Loeza, who continues throws punches whether he or his opponent is hurt, opened the fourth round with a flurry. Wohlman had not recovered fully from the knockdown and didn't have an answer. Referee Tom Taylor waved off the fight, which wiped away Wohlman's undefeated mark, seventeen seconds into the round.

Loeza is now 3-7-1 with three KOs. While that is far from stellar, Loeza is legitimately better than his record suggests. Last year, he gave undefeated prospect Terron Grant a competitive fight. Wohlman, who falls to 4-1-1 with one KO, must return to the drawing board. Loeza has an incredible heart and motor, but does not have the talent or technique that Kid Yamaka possesses. It's a fight Wohlman needed to win.

This loss marks a new low in Wohlman's professional career. But the affable and skilled boxer will be back if he's able to learn from this stoppage. Kid Yamaka represents a time when one loss did not define a career, but this result will certainly challenge his hunger and his desire to succeed in the sport.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wohlman to Face Loeza

Zachary Wohlman is scheduled to face Alonso Loeza at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, November 10. The welterweight contest is penciled in for four rounds and will take place on the undercard of Showtime's Abner Mares-Anselmo Moreno fight.

Wohlman (4-0-1, one KO) is coming off of a frustrating technical draw against Jesus Vallejo on September 20. That bout ended after an accidental headbutt formed a cut on Wohlman's forehead. This is a big moment for the man nicknamed Kid Yamaka as it's the first time he'll be fighting on the undercard of a major boxing event.

Zac, who has been more willing to stand and trade as his career progresses, likely has the right opponent for success. Loeza (2-7-1, two KOs) though is better than his dreadful record. The man has a mountain of courage and a dearth of skill. Loeza is a 21-year old from Gilroy, California and is of Mexican heritage. He's 5'8" and has a reach of 74". Most of his fights have taken place below the welterweight limit.

When hit, Loeza has the unfortunate habit of seeing his head dramatically snapped back and bleeding profusely from the nose. But he rarely goes down despite being stopped four times. He is an all action brawler, who treats holding and running as a person with lactose intolerance would dairy. Due to Loeza's style, Wohlman probably won't have to worry about an accidental headbutt this time around. Loeza constantly throws punches even after being shaken up and provides openings for his opponent to score when he lets his hands go, which is frequent.

But Loeza gave undefeated prospect Terron Grant a good scrap last year. Wohlman and Loeza have a shared opponent. With a nose gushing blood, Loeza drew with Ricardo Malfavon (though Malfavon probably deserved the decision) last year. Later in 2011, Wohlman severely outboxed Malfavon on route to scoring a knockdown and a comfortable unanimous decision.

Monday, November 5, 2012

History of Jewish Boxing

With Jewish boxing entering a bit of a renaissance, it is always instructive to take a look back at the history of Jews in the sport. Of course, The Jewish Boxing Blog has provided an ongoing series featuring past Jewish boxers.

Trainer Adam "Big" Fish, proprietor of Big Fish Boxing Club has written a wonderfully informative overview on the history of Jews in the sweet science. The article effectively links the present to the past and is a great place to start for anyone interested in the subject.

Holden Kepecs of Pugilist Pictures is coming out with a documentary on Jews in boxing, which focuses on the first portion of the twentieth century. Here is a trailer for the intriguing film.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dmitriy Salita Videos

Dmitriy Salita's press conference following his unanimous decision victory over Brandon Hoskins on October 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Salita discusses facing Paulie Malignaggi or Gabriel "Tito" Bracero. A potential matchup with Malignaggi has been talked about for years. A fight with Bracero is very interesting. It could take place in January at the Barclays Center.

Salita talks to Elie Seckbach after the Hoskins fight. Salita remarks, "I want some big fights. I want something meaningful." He also discusses how Shabbat interfered with his preparation for the fight.

Salita remembers the late Emanuel Steward. Salita tells Seckbach over the phone about what it was like to have the legendary Steward train him.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Moved Brooks Fight

Mike "Lefty" Brooks was scheduled to fight today at Plattduetsche Restaurant in Long Island, New York against Bryan Acaba. That card was postponed due to the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy earlier this week. The card has been rescheduled to November 15. If all goes well, Brooks is also scheduled to fight on December 13.