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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Melson Defeats Perez

Boyd Melson defeated Edgar Perez by unanimous decision at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Melson won with two scores of 60-53 and another of 59-54.

Melson, wearing his customary black and yellow trunks, hurt Perez's body in the second round and commanded the rest of the bout with his southpaw jab. In the fifth, Melson dropped Perez by landing a left cross. Boyd weighed 160.6 pounds for the bout, the heaviest he's ever been for a fight, while Perez was 161.4.

Melson moves his record to 11-1-1 with 4 KOs. After experiencing his fourth straight loss, Perez plummets to 5-4 with three KOs.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Melson has a New Opponent

Troy Lowry has been replaced as junior middleweight Boyd Melson's opponent for his April 27 fight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. In his stead, Edgar Perez, a 34 years-old who fights out of Chicago, Illinois by way of Puerto Rico, gets the call.

Perez (5-3, 3 KOs) has lost his last three bouts and has been stopped in his last two. The three men were a combined 23-1 when Perez faced them and include Jermall Charlo, a well-regarded prospect. Perez has fought as light as 144 pounds and as heavy as 163.75 pounds.

Melson (10-1-1, 4 KOs), who was recently profiled on HBO's Real Sports, is coming off of a disputed draw against Jason Thompson last October. This marks the longest layoff of Melson's career.

The bout is scheduled for six rounds.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Salita May Retire from the Ring

Dmitriy Salita has endured a number of aggravating incidences involving his boxing career in recent years. He hinted that he may leave the sport as a result.

Salita told Raphael Geller of Haaretz, "I had some real challenges landing a significant fight. I was supposed to have a good breakout fight against Hector Camacho Jr. on February 9, then the whole show got postponed to April 27, and for some reason my match got cancelled, just like that. I found out about the cancellation by reading an article about it on ESPN.com. I put in four months of hard work and the fight got cancelled."

Salita continued, "This situation is one of many disappointments in the past several years. This one has just been more public. "

Before the catastrophe with Camacho, Salita had hoped to fight Ismael El-Massoudi, but, after Matthew Hatton unsuccessfully tried to usurp a fight against El Massoudi from Salita, the fight fell through despite a contract being signed by both Salita's and El Massoudi's camps.

Salita's frustration is palpable and understandable. He asserted, "I also feel that I am blackballed; the seldom good opportunities that come my way, as this one, somehow evaporate."

Because of Salita's lack of opportunities, he might find a new profession. Salita concluded, "Physically, I feel great, but the business and inconsistency of the sport has me seriously thinking about doing something else. I have dedicated my life to the sport of boxing, and have dedicated all my energy to be the best athlete I can be and to stay true to my beliefs as a religious Jew while pursuing my goals in boxing. I have a family to support and can't afford such things to happen."

Dmitriy turned professional in 2001 and won his first 24 fights. He remained undefeated until he faced Amir Khan for a light welterweight championship belt in 2009. The usually fluid and talented Salita was nowhere to be seen on that December night as Dmitiry was stopped a little over a minute into the first round. Recovering from the disappointment of his only opportunity to reach stardom in the sport, Salita has won his last five fights. But none have come against the level of opposition he has hoped to fight.

Whether this is the end of a noteworthy career or just a momentary spurt of frustration remains to be seen. If this is the end, Salita's boxing career will be viewed as one of dreams unfulfilled, a skilled boxer who regrettably only had one all-too-brief opportunity to try and show his impressive ability.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Look Back: Sauveur Benamou

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.

Sauveur Benamou was a boxer from Algeria who became the French lightweight champion during his brief career. Not much is known about his life out of the ring, however.

Sauveur Benamou was born on October 11, 1933 in Oran, Algeria. Lying on the Mediterranean Sea in the northwest section the country, Oran was resettled as a Jewish town in the late eighteenth century, two years after a devastating earthquake. One of the city's landmarks is the Great Synagogue, located in western Oran, where construction began in 1880. After Jews left Algeria, the synagogue remained a House of God, being used as a mosque since 1975.

The French occupied the city in 1831 and would maintain control over it until Algeria gained its independence in 1962. As a result of colonization and its relatively close proximity to Spain, Oran inhabited one of the largest European populations in all of North Africa. It currently is a modern city, boasting aesthetically-pleasing white buildings and palm trees.

Benamou began his boxing career in 1956 in his early 20s. He went 13-0-3 in his first 16 fights which took place from 1956 to 1958. These bouts mostly took place in Paris, France at the Salle Wagram, an establishment built in 1812 and still in operation after undergoing restoration.

Benamou sported a wide flat nose with relatively narrow cheeks. A handsome man, his torso could have been constructed by an ancient Greek sculptor. He typically wore dark trunks with white trim and sported a large white Star of David over his left thigh.

In 1959, Benamou caught a well-regarded French fighter named Edouard Ptak at the tail end of his career and stopped him in the second round. Benamou then drew and subsequently lost to Frank Garcia in Spain during two bouts in April of 1959.

Sauveur took six and half months off before losing to experienced French lightweight champion Fernand Nollet. Benamou's best win came a month later against the same Nollet. This time, the bout was fought in Benamou's hometown of Oran. The date was December 6, 1959. Benamou received a decision victory after fifteen rounds and won the French lightweight championship.

Benamou was known as a puncher and displayed the patient manner of a man looking for a single knockout blow. On February 23, 1960, that style hurt Sauveur against his British opponent, Dave Charnley.

Charnley was a Commonwealth lightweight champion and coming off of a sixth round stoppage loss in a world title challenge against Joe Brown two and half months earlier. Charnley would challenge Brown for the title again the next year in The Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year for 1961, and win the British and European lightweight titles during his career.

At the Empire pool in London, England, Charnley easily outboxed Benamou, who waited too long to land one concussive blow. Benamou was supposed to get a rematch the following January, but had to pull out of the fight five days before the fight due to an injury. He never fought again.

We can estimate Benamou's ring record at 17-3-4 with at least five KOs by combining what we know from The Ring and BoxRec. In 1962, Jews from Oran left their hometown and settled in the Paris region when Algeria gained independence after a bloody war with their colonizer, France. In 1993, he participated in a meeting of the Association of Jews from Oran in France, but little else is known about Benamou after his ring career.

"Charnley Scores Easy Victory." The Age. February 24, 1960.
"Charnley Cops Gresham Win." Pittsburgh Press. January 18, 1961.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cletus Seldin vs. Jonathan Cuba

February 23, 2013
Paramount Theatre
Huntington, New York

Seldin: purple trunks with silver trim
Cuba: black trunks

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boyd Melson to be Featured on HBO's Real Sports

Boyd Melson will be featured on HBO's Real Sports, first airing today at 10pm ET. Award-winning journalist Frank DeFord will interview Melson and his inspiration, Christian Zaccagnino, on the program.

Zaccagnino, Melson's ex-girlfriend and best friend, suffered a spinal cord injury when she was a child and the two have traveled the world attempting to find a cure since they met.

Donations can be given and more information can be found at Justadollarplease.org and TeamFightToWalk.com.

A 2011 profile of Melson from The JBB is here.
Information on his next fight is here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chilemba-Bellew Rematch Scheduled for May 25

Light heavyweights Isaac Chilemba and Tony Bellew fought to a disputed draw (but really, how often is a draw not disputed?) on March 30 at Echo Arena in Bellew's hometown of Liverpool, England. The two men have signed to fight the rematch on May 25 at the O2 Arena in London, England. The bout will take place on the undercard of the rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler. The winner of Chilemba-Bellew II (assuming there is one this time) will be slated to fight Chad Dawson, the recognized light heavyweight champion of the world.

In the first fight, Chilemba (20-1-2, 9 KOs), suffering from the flu, squirmed elusively in order to avoid Bellew's early aggression. Attempting to conserve energy, Chilemba didn't throw many punches during the first half of the fight. But the contest changed in the seventh round as Chilemba began backing up Bellew (19-1-1, 12 KOs). Chilemba's punches were far more accurate than were Bellew's. It was a tough fight to score and each of the three judges chose a different result.

Christophe Fernanadez scored it 116-112 for Chilemba, Eddie Pappoe had it 116-115 for Bellew, and Fabian Guggenheim saw it as a 114-114 draw. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 115-113 for Chilemba.

A small sampling of other notable scores are listed below:
Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook had it 115-113 (7 rounds to 5) for Chilemba.
Michael Collins of East Side Boxing had it 117-111 (9 rounds to 3) for Chilemba.
British pundit Wingy scored it 118-113 (7 rounds to 2, 3 even) for Chilemba.
Jim Watt, an analyst for Sky Sports, had it 116-113 (7 rounds to 4, 1 even) for Bellew.

Both boxers were vehement in their belief that they had won the fight and both insisted on a rematch. Originally, Chilemba did not want to fight in the United Kingdom this time, but soon changed his mind.

About fighting in England again, Isaac explained to The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I'm ok with it. At first, I didn't want to fight him there because of the judging."

Isaac hinted that his change of heart had to do with a possible shift in strategy, saying, "This time, I won't leave it in judges' hands."

Chilemba, however, is not a knockout puncher and while Bellew has been put on his back before, he's always gotten up. In their first fight, Bellew's face was slightly marked, Chilemba's was not at all, but neither man was hurt or appeared to be on their way to the canvas.

Even so, Chilemba is confident and has reason to be so. He showed more defensive prowess, offensive accuracy, and class than did Bellew the first time around. His lack of punches thrown due to the flu was the true reason the decision was so close. Chilemba explained, "I'll make sure I won't get sick again and will school him."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brooks Fights to Technical Draw

Michael "Lefty" Brooks fought to a technical draw against Juan Villanueva at La Macarena, a bullfighting arena, in Uruapan, Mexico on March 23. Two judges had Brooks (9-0-1, 2 KOs) ahead after three rounds. The third judge had it a shutout for Villanueva (3-1-1, 1 KO).

The fight was stopped at 1:46 of the fourth round likely due to an accidental headbutt. Villanueva is a 19-year old who has been a pro for less than a year and has only fought in his native Mexico.

Brooks wrote on Twitter after the fight, "I can't lie, I am a little bit down I didn't get my 10th victory that I deserve... next fight will be with more everything!" This was Lefty's first fight outside of the New York-New Jersey area.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Boyd Melson to Fight Troy Lowry

Junior middleweight Boyd Melson faces journeyman Troy Lowry on April 27 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This bout will be on the undercard of a Showtime televised event. It features a  contest of competing narratives for both men.

Melson (10-1-1, 4 KOs) had his roughest year in the ring in 2012. Last year saw Melson post the two numbers that sit beside his double digit wins. He lost to Delen Parsley in March and drew with Jason Thompson, a fighter with a losing record, in October. He's currently experiencing his longest layoff as a professional, six months, which is longer than the amount of time he sat out with an injury last summer. This layoff is due to the Danny Garcia-Zab Judah main event, originally scheduled for February 9, being postponed due to a Garcia injury.

Yet, all is not as bad as it seems. The fight with Parsley was a war that increased the stock of both men. It  was a close fight that could have gone either way. And Parsley remains undefeated. The draw against Thompson was, frankly, a bad decision. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 58-54 for Melson and there really just isn't a case to be made for a draw. In both bouts, Melson put his man down on the canvas.

As was the case with his 2012, Melson's strengths and weaknesses in the ring are all about how you look at them. Boyd hasn't shown good finishing power. He has four knockouts in twelve fights. His last KO came five fights ago. Those four KOs came against a blown up lightweight who went down on the fist punch that landed, a winless fighter who wasn't interested in punching, an MMA fighter trying his luck in boxing, and a man who turned pro at age 33.

But Boyd has power. In his loss and in his draw, Melson scored knockdowns. In fact, he knocked the undefeated Parsley down twice. He is also incredibly strong for his weight and can push an opponent around when he's in the mood.

Melson also has the propensity to get knocked down. It isn't that he has a weak chin per se, it's more that he becomes too square when he rushes in. In the first minute of his pro debut, in the loss to Parlsey, and in the draw with Thompson, Boyd found his bottom on the floor. Each time, he showed the same resiliency in the ring that has driven him to travel the world trying to find a cure for spinal cord injuries (find out more at TeamFightToWalk.com).

The career of Troy Lowry (28-12, 17 KOs) can likewise be viewed from two different vantage points. He's from Minnesota; the Twin Cities have been up and coming in the world of boxing, but have not produced an elite fighter recently. On the positive side, Lowry began his career winning 24 of his first 25 fights until he was decisioned by the late Hector Camacho in 2001. He has fought other world class opponents, as well.

But Lowry simply has not been competitive against them. Yuri Foreman outboxed him on route to a shutout decision in 2005. Peter Quillin and Andy Lee both blasted him out of the ring. Lowry, who is now 42-years old, has lost seven of his previous eight bouts dating back to that Foreman fight.

The good news for Lowry is that the lone win came against an undefeated super middleweight with an overhand right that knocked him out cold in the fifth round. The less good news for Lowry is that the undefeated fighter was Travis Loveless, who donned a built-up record, and neither man had shown much skill up until that point.

In his last fight, a February 2012 debacle against Vanes Martirosyan, Lowry was beat around the ring from the opening bell until the fight was finally stopped in the third round. Lowry couldn't mount anything resembling an offensive attack and had no way of stopping his much younger, much better opponent's punches. At one point in the first, Lowry literally turned and ran away from the onslaught. No word on why referee Laurence Cole or Lowry's corner decided not to stop the fight right then.

Melson must be considered a heavy favorite because he has the skill, strength, and stamina advantage. This fight between Melson and Lowry is scheduled for six rounds.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sundberg Moves to 3-0

Hunter "The Jewish Dragon" Sundberg controlled a rough bout against Lamar Charlton at the Miami Jai Alai Fronton in Miami, Florida tonight. The junior welterweight  fight included takedowns, low blows, and rabbit punches.

Sundberg won a unanimous decision with each of the three judges scoring the contest 40-35. Sundberg, who grew up in nearby Coral Springs, raises his record to 3-0 with one KO. Chartlon is now 1-3-1 with one KO.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Foreman Moves Smoothly in Outboxing King

Yuri Foreman won his second fight in a row by outboxing Gundrick King at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, New York earlier tonight. He used fluid movement and a stiff jab to neutralize the shorter southpaw's offense. All three judges awarded Foreman a 60-54 victory.

King, wearing white trunks with black fire on the bottom, did not possess the ability to get inside Foreman's long jab and thus he rarely threw. When he did, it was almost exclusively with his left. He landed three crisp lefts on Foreman's face during the fight, but that was hardly enough to win even a round.

Foreman, wearing black trunks with a yellow Star of David over his left leg, occasionally added a left hook or a straight right to his jab, but it wasn't enough to excite the crowd. An usher wearing a DiBella Entertainment shirt said that Foreman's style was boring, "That's why his fight is the last one of the night, so it will put his fans to sleep."

Foreman has been called Yuri "Boreman" because of a perceived lack of action in his fights. It's an unfair characterization. Yuri glided around the ring with the grace of a dancer doing the lindy hop and without a knee brace on his surgically repaired right leg. His punches, though too infrequent for those who yearn for blood, were picturesque. The fact is, he did only what he needed to do to win the fight, often coming forward as King retreated. He punctuated the contest with a hard lead right in the sixth round.

It was a weird night at Roseland that involved the fire alarm ringing before Foreman's fight. During his match, a Foreman fan pounded on a table up in the balcony in hopes of cheering on her man, but the sound was vaguely reminiscent of the ten second warning, which may have distracted the boxers.

Foreman moves his record to 30-2 with 8 KOs while King tumbles to 18-10 with 11 KOs. After the bout, when commentator Steve Farhood asked Yuri what he got out of this fight, Foreman said it was just another step towards achieving his dream of recapturing a world title.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Isaac Chilemba vs. Tony Bellew

March 30, 2013
Echo Arena
Liverpool, England

Chilemba: red and gold trunks
Bellew blue and silver trunks

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chilemba-Bellew Post Fight

Isaac Chilemba and Tony Bellew fought to a disputed draw Saturday night at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. In the aftermath, both fighters have expressed interest in a rematch. Chilemba wrote to Bellew on Twitter, "Don't wait too long for the rematch, [the] world might think you're scared." Bellew responded, "[I'll] do it straight away. The next available bill! The sooner the better!" Isaac wrote back, "Let's do it[.] I'm ready and waiting."

At the post-fight press conference, Chilemba's trainer, Buddy McGirt, revealed that Isaac was suffering from the flu and had trouble breathing the day of the fight. McGirt also addressed Bellew's claim that Chilemba's trainer told him that he thought Bellew had won the fight. McGirt called it a misunderstanding.

Looking tired and ill, Chilemba reiterated his belief that he won the fight and said that this was the most disappointing decision of his career. He also stated that he doesn't want the rematch to take place in the United Kingdom.

Here is the video of the press conference: