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Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Look Back: Abraham Rosenberg

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.

Abraham Rosenberg only had two professional fights, but was a well-regarded amateur. His career is all the more impressive considering he survived the Holocaust.

Rosenberg, sometimes spelled Rozenberg, was born in Sosnowiec, Poland in 1928. Raised Orthodox, he spent part of his childhood surviving the Holocaust. There is some dispute about his experience during the war. In one account, he entered labor and concentration camps at the tender age of 11 and was shipped between Theresienstadt, Buchenwald, Markstädt, Gross Rosen, and Fünfteichen before fleeing to Scotland and attended school in Glasgow by the time the war ended in 1945 (The Jewish Criterion, 1955). In another account, Abraham was part of the kindertransport and was transported to Glasgow before the war began (AJR, 1950).

In either case, Rosenberg was in Glasgow- where he learned to box- as World War II ended; there he figured his family had all perished in the Holocaust until he discovered that his father was living in Frankfurt, Germany. Abraham then joined his father in Germany.

Rosenberg was a heavyweight who was a respected amateur. By 1950, he was living in Friedberg, Germany and had won the Hessian Amateur Boxing Tournament held in Kasse, representing the Frankfurt Boxing Club. On July 29, 1951, he lost to Lothar Rau on points in the finals of the German amateur championships in Hamburg.

On August 27, 1951, Rosenberg lost to Norvel Lee by decision in a bout in Germany. Lee, who went on to win a gold medal at the 1952 Olympics in the light heavyweight division, fought and soundly defeated future heavyweight champion Ingemar Johannson four days after defeating Rosenberg. On October 17, Rosenberg defeated an Englishman named R. Miles in London, England. That same year, Rosenberg's father moved to Philadelphia. Abraham was stuck behind in Germany because of bureaucratic obstacles.

Rosenberg won the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the fourth Maccabiah Games in 1953. Because Germany did not field a team, Rosenberg represented France in the Games.

In 1955, he made it to the semifinals of the German amateur championships where he lost by way of third round TKO to former national champion, Horst Witterstein. By that point, Rosenberg had fought in 110 bouts and the loss to Witterstein was only the second time he had been stopped.

On January 16, 1956, Rosenberg made his professional debut. He fought in St. Nicolas Arena in New York, New York. Outweighed by 17.5 pounds, Rosenberg lost a six round decision to an experienced fighter with a losing record, George Washington. As of this writing, a ticket to the fight is being auctioned on ebay. Washington would later become a trainer and a couple of his notable charges include heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe and Olympic gold medalist  and world champion Mark Brelan.

Rosenberg's next fight didn't come for another two years. Rosenberg, nicknamed Romme, dropped a four round decision to a winless fighter, Walter Hauff, in Berlin, Germany on February 28, 1958. He never fought professionally again

Not much is known of Rosenberg's life after boxing. A Shoah Foundation entry fits his description and asserts Abraham Rozenberg lived in Germany and gave an interview about his experiences in the war in 2000.

"Concentration Camp Graduate Reaches Boxing Semi-Finals." The Jewish Criterion. June 3, 1955.
"From My Diary." AJR Information. August, 1950. Page 6.
Shoah Foundation entry on Abraham Rozenberg. This entry fits what we know about Abraham Rosenberg from Sosnowiec, Poland from other sources. Rozenberg (from the entry) was born in 1928, date unknown. The Jewish Criterion article claims Rosenberg was 11 when he was first taken to a labor camp and since the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, the dates match. The interview was conducted in German in Germany, which fits because Rosenberg was in Germany well over a decade after the end of the Holocaust, unusual for most survivors. The entry seems to second The Jewish Criterion article that Rosenberg was interned in several labor and concentration camps, although the article says he escaped to Glasgow before the end of the war while the entry claims Rozenberg was in a displaced person camp after the war. An AJR article claims Rosenberg was shipped to Glasgow as a child before the war.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Melson Earns UD in Thompson Rematch

Boyd Melson won a unanimous decision victory over Jason Thompson at BB King Blues Club and Grill in New York, New York tonight. The fight marked the first time that Boyd has fought at BB King's since suffering his lone career defeat to Delen Parsley in March of 2012. Melson won by landing counter right hooks Thompson's wide shots.

This bout was a rematch of a dubious draw that took place in the first ever boxing match at Barclays Center last October. In the first fight, both men scored knockdowns, although Melson seemed to control the action for the vast majority of the six rounds.

Thompson jabbed early and landed body shots throughout the fight, but after the second round, he fell back into a pattern of looking to land a big right. That right shook up Melson in the fifth round, but Boyd stayed on his feet.

After landing a couple of straight lefts in the first round, Melson found his money punch, the right hook, in the second round. Melson dominated the third and fourth rounds by boxing, but he went back to counterpunching the rest of the way.

In the sixth, Melson was cut over the right eye by a Thompson punch. Blood poured down his face. Referee Ricky Gonzalez paused the action and brought Melson over to the ringside physician. Boyd immediately blurted out, "I can see!" The fight continued.

In the seventh, blood gushed for the corner of Thompson's right eye. Melson used his right hook to target the cut. That punch landed all round long. When the eighth round started, Boyd looked distracted and Thompson rushed at him. A right stunned Melson, who held. Melson let go and landed a right hook that put Thompson down. Melson kept up his success with the right hook in the final round.

The judges' scores were 78-73 twice and 77-74, all for Melson. After the fight, actor Cuba Gooding Jr entered the ring and gave Melson a big hug. Promoter Lou DiBella said, "I've never promoted a guy with a bigger heart than Boyd Melson."

Melson moves to 12-1-1 with 4 KOs while Thompson falls to 5-7-3 with 4 KOs. Boyd came in at 156 pounds for this bout while Thompson was 153. Melson is considered a junior middleweight, but he has come in over the 154 pound limit in his last four fights. In his 13 pro fights, he has weighed in at 154 pounds or less only four times, while his opponents have done so ten times.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Brooks Wins by UD

Michael "Lefty" Brooks defeated Joseph "Chip" Perez by way of entertaining unanimous decision last night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. The judges scored the bout 60-53, 59-54, 57-56.

Brooks was able to nail his shorter, smaller opponent early and land his customary vicious body shots throughout the bout. But Perez wouldn't quit. He managed to get inside and land his rights during the middle rounds, but he didn't stay and trade enough.

Brooks has come forward aggressively in his last few bouts, but he relied on his boxing ability from the outside this time. In the sixth and final round, Perez lost a point for shouldering Brooks.

This fight was contracted at a catch weight of 134 pounds this week after both fighters' opponents dropped out of their scheduled contests. Lefty is usually a lightweight, while Perez splits his time between junior lightweight and lightweight. Brooks advances his record to 10-0-1 with two KOs and Perez is now 10-3 with three KOs.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Brooks Has a New Opponent

Michael "Lefty" Brooks was originally scheduled to face undefeated prospect Karl Dargan tomorrow, but Dargan was forced to back out. Brooks is now scheduled to face Joseph "Chip" Perez from Connecticut. The bout is set for the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Perez (10-2, 3 KOs) was stopped in his last bout against Jason Sosa in January, snapping a five bout win streak. His last win came against Chazz McDowell, who coincidentally was scheduled to fight Brooks in May before Lefty bowed out with an injury. In that fight, Perez started slowly before taking a controversial majority decision.

That fight featured a number of headbutts, something both men will have to look out for tomorrow as Lefty is a southpaw and Chip takes an orthodox stance. Against McDowell, Perez was able to land overhand rights consistently during the second half of the fight. Against Brooks, he'll need to straighten out his right.

Brooks (9-0-1, 2 KOs) is coming off of a technical draw in March. This bout will be a contest for control of the middle of the ring. Whoever is pushing forward will likely grab a points victory.

Brooks weighed in 134 pounds and Perez was 133.75. This fight is scheduled for six rounds.