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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Look Back: Stephane Haccoun

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

Stephane Haccoun, from France, was a world class featherweight during the 1990s. A European titlist, his one regret during his boxing career was never winning a world championship.

Stephane Haccoun was born on August 31, 1967 in Paris, France. He learned to box in the Avia Club, located in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux. Haccoun started his amateur career in 1985 and won 27 of those 32 fights. Nineteen of his 27 amateur wins came by way of knockout.

Haccoun turned pro at the age of 22. He won his first eight bouts and held an undefeated record of 23-0-1 after his first 24 fights. On November 29, 1991, Haccoun sent 1984 Olympic gold medalist Steve "Bluesman" McCrory into retirement following a ten round unanimous decision victory. On March 27, 1992, Haccoun won his American debut over the unheralded Willie Garcia by way of third round KO.

Haccoun, a southpaw, pressured his opponents. A true tough guy, Stephane wasn't vain enough to shave off the stubble on his chest. he wore a mop of brown hair on his head during his boxing career.

Two weeks later, Haccoun decisioned Mark Smith in France. Haccoun stalked the smooth-moving Smith. Smith attempted to control range with a graceful jab, but Haccoun's clubbing lefts and indomitable will carried the day. Wearing leopard print trunks, Haccoun stalked Smith like a big hungry cat.

On October 30, 1992, the 5'5" Haccoun lost his first match to journeyman Steve Robinson. The win helped propel Robinson to a world class level and eventually, a world featherweight championship. Haccoun won his next four fights, three of them by knockout. The lone win on points came against another Jewish featherweight and former world champion, Fabrice Benichou. The final win came against Maurizio Stecca for the European title.

On November 30, 1993, Haccoun finally go his chance at a world championship. He faced off against IBF featherweight beltholder Tom "Boom Boom" Johnson. Johnson had just endured the death of his second manager- the first had also been slain by gun shots. The fight took place in France in front of 5,000 Haccoun supporters. Johnson dominated Stephane throughout the bout until the contest was stopped in the ninth round. Johnson, an intelligent boxer, was too quick-handed for the Frenchman.

Stefano Zoff took the European title from Haccoun in Belgium after a all-action scrap when the fight was stopped before the start of the tenth round. After a loss to Frederic Perez, Stephane retired. He came back nearly five years later winning his last six fights including a French super featherweight belt.

Stephane retired from the ring for good in 2001 with a record of 35-4-1 and 22 KOs. The 45-year old is married with two children. He works at the general council of Hauts-De-Seine in the sports department. He is also a boxing commentator.

Stephane Haccoun vs. Mark Smith
April 12, 1992
Carquefou, France

Demasio, Nunyo F. "Focused Featherweight Rises Above Adversity." The New York Times. May 28, 1995.
"Stephane Haccoun: 'J'attendais Plus de ma Carriere'." NetBoxe. May 20, 2012

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Seldin Records Seventh Straight KO

Welterweight Cletus "Da Hamma" Seldin knocked out his opponent for the seventh straight time. This time the victim was Luis Rodriguez. Rodriguez was stopped in the third round at the Paramount Theatre in Long Island, New York.

This was Seldin's fifth fight at the Paramount and the devastating puncher has recorded a knockout victory in each one. He moves his record to 10-0 and earned his 8th KO. Rodriguez falls to 6-7.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Foreman Wins Comeback Fight

Yuri Foreman cruised to a unanimous decision victory over Brandon Baue at BB King' s in New York, New York in his first fight back after a nearly two year hiatus. Foreman started out the contest rusty, but quickly found his rhythm in outclassing the journeyman from Missouri.

Foreman won be three scores of 60-54. He improves his record to 29-2 with 8 KOs. Baue fell to 12-9 with 10 KOs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Foreman Weighs in for Comeback Fight

It's been nearly two years since Yuri Foreman's fans saw him in the ring. Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs) weighed in at 154 pounds for his comeback fight, scheduled for Wednesday night at BB King Blues Club and Grill in New York, New York. His opponent, Brandon Baue (12-8, 10 KOs), weighed in at 157.5 pounds.

Foreman is on a two-fight losing streak against world class opponents. Baue, who has faced good competition, but never a world class fighter, has lost his past five. This fight is scheduled for six rounds.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Groenteman Back on Winning Track

Barry Groenteman defeated Samir Boukrara by six-round unanimous decision last night at Wellness Profi Center in Purmerend, Netherlands. This was Barry's first win in his last three fights. In Groenteman's previous two fights, he had suffered a disputed split decision loss to Andrea Carbonello last March and earned a draw with Tarik Madni in October.

Groenteman came away from his fight with Boukrara with a lot of respect for the Moroccan. He told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "He is a dangerous journeyman" and noted that Boukrara threw "very hard punches." But Barry believed he was able to secure the victory because, "My timing, technique, and speed was much better."

Groenteman improves to 8-5-2 with 2 KOs and he's now 5-1 with 2 KOs at the Wellness Profi Center (his lone loss was to Carbonello). Boukrara falls to 12-17-1 after enduring his fifth consecutive loss. Groenteman is scheduled to face Jarkko Putkonen (7-0, 4 KOs)  on April 6. The fight will take place in the undefeated 28 year old's home country of Finland. Groenteman will mark Putkonen's toughest opponent of his career. He has never faced a man with a winning record before. Conversely, Groenteman has battled six men with winning records in his career.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Barry Groenteman vs. Tarik Madni

October 15, 2012
Theater Carré
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Groenteman: black trunks, white trim
Madni: black and white trunks

Friday, January 11, 2013

Yuri Foreman's Comeback Fight

Former WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman will begin his comeback on January 23 at BB King's Blues Club and Grill in New York, New York. His scheduled opponent is Brandon "The Business" Baue.

Foreman (28-2, 8 KOs) has not fought since March of 2011 and has lost his last two fights. Those losses were to world class opponents, Miguel Cotto and Pawel Wolak. While Baue (12-8, 10 KOs) has been busier than Foreman- he fought three times in 2012- he has lost his previous five fights, all to solid opposition. He's been knocked out in three of those five.

Baue's last fight was a unanimous decision loss to undefeated middleweight Cerresso Fort. In that bout, Baue did more trash talking than punching. He managed to land a couple of hard left hooks, but he spent most of the contest on the ropes donning earmuffs.

Yuri said he won't be bothered if Baue tries to play mind games, telling The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I don't really care for trash talk. I have a pretty good control over what I let go to my head." Foreman added that he won't change his preparation to fit Baue's style. "I have to focus on what I do well and not let my opponent change my game plan," he said.

Foreman's speed will likely be too much for Baue to handle. The big question is whether or not Foreman will have too much ring rust. He'll have six rounds to find out.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chilemba to Face Bellew

Light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba will face fellow contender Tony Bellew in Liverpool, England on March 30. This fight is a title eliminator with the winner potentially having a shot at Chad Dawson, the recognized true light heavyweight champion of the world. That, of course, assumes Dawson avenges his loss to Jean Pascal on March 23.

This bout features two world class fighters. Chilemba (20-1-1, 9 KOs) is rated seventh in the division by The Ring and eighth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings. Bellew (19-1, 12 KOs) is ninth on both lists. Both men defeated world title challenger Edison Miranda in 2012. Chilemba did so in February by unanimous decision while Bellew stopped Miranda in the ninth round back in September.

Chilemba hasn't lost a fight since 2007. His draw came in a 2010 bout with Thomas Oosthuizen, who is rated fourth by The Ring and sixth by the TBR at super middleweight. Bellew's lone loss came at the hands of beltholder Nathan Cleverly, who is ranked as the fourth best light heavyweight by The Ring and the fifth by the TBR.

Bellew will hold a slight height and a heavy hometown advantage, but Chilemba is five years younger. Despite his youthful exuberance, Isaac isn't taking Bellew lightly. He told his Twitter followers, "Tony Bellew is a good fighter and is what I need. I have to take on the best to be the best." About fighting in Bellew's hometown, the "Golden Boy" told World Boxing News that he "can't wait to fight there."

For his part, Bellew wrote on Twitter, "This is gonna be the toughest fight of my career! Anyone who knows boxing knows that Chilemba is a world class fighter!"

This contest is slated for twelve rounds.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Seldin to Face Rodriguez on January 25

Welterweight Cletus "Da Hamma" Seldin is scheduled to fight Luis Rodriguez on January 25 at the Paramount Theatre in Long Island, New York. This bout will be on the un-televised undercard of the Showtime program ShoBox.

Seldin (9-0, 7 KOs) won all four of his 2012 fights by knockout, each ending inside two rounds. Seldin has been doing his damage with the overhand right. Seldin told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "It is becoming my signature punch." But Cletus has more in his arsenal than that one punch, noting,  "It's not a must-land punch for me; I just know how to get the timing just right before I throw it."

Rodriguez (6-6-1, one KO) will try to avoid being clocked by that overhand right. The Puerto Rican native is moving up in weight; he's never fought above 140 pounds. The 25 year old, has lost his last three fights, but don't be fooled. All three were to boxers with strong records. In his six losses, he has only been stopped once. In that fight, he put down Luis Gonzalez twice in the third round before being dropped himself. The fight was stopped with Rodriguez on his feet and throwing punches.

Despite Rodriguez's toughness, this will be a difficult task. He's fighting a man who is strong and powerful for a welterweight, while Rodriguez only has two fights at junior welterweight. This bout is scheduled for six rounds.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Groenteman to Return on January 19

Junior welterweight Barry Groenteman is scheduled to fight Samir Boukrara on January 19 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The fight is scheduled for six rounds.

Groenteman's 2012 was less than ideal in the ring. After grabbing his fourth straight win, he lost a disputed split decision to Andrea Carbonello. Groenteman (7-5-2, 2 KOs) endured several cancelled fights thereafter, including a much desired rematch with Carbonello. In October, he drew with the capable Tarik Madni. This will mark the seventh straight fight Groenteman will have in his home country.

Boukrara (12-16-1, 2 KOs) is not on the same level as Carbonello or Madni, but he is experienced. The native of Morocco has mostly fought in France. Boukrara, who fights orthodox, is moving up in weight and is eight years older than Groenteman. He hasn't fought since October of 2010 and has lost his last four fights and nine of his last ten. But all nine of those losses were to men with good records. His lone win in that span came against a fighter with a losing record.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Michael Brooks vs. Bryan Acaba

November 15, 2012
Plattduetsche Restaurant
Long Island, New York

Brooks: camoflouge trunks
Acaba: black trunks, white trim