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Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021 Year in Review in Jewish Boxing

For the second year in a row, covid-19 dominated the storyline. Fighters contracted the virus, fights were canceled or postponed, and a new variant threatens to continue the trend into 2022. In addition, Zachary Wohlman tragically passed away in February.

Despite the pandemic, some Jewish boxers were able to fight this past year. The biggest win came in October when Cletus Seldin knocked out William Silva in the seventh round of their fight in Brooklyn. One of the alphabet organizations ranks the 35-year-old Seldin in their top ten in the junior welterweight division. The New Yorker seeks a big fight in 2022.

Other world class competitors, Yuri Foreman and Isaac Chilemba, weren't able to secure wins this year. Foreman dropped a majority decision to Jimmy Williams in June after testing positive for covid-19 in March. Chilemba had a controversial draw with Fedor Chudinov in February and a unanimous decision loss to Pavel Silyagin in November. Chilemba called Silyagin a future world champion.

David Alaverdian and Shawn Sarembock both went 3-0 in 2021. Alaverdian, a flyweight, is 5-0 with 4 KOs. Sarembock, a junior middleweight, is 7-0 with 7 KOs. Miroslav Kapuler, a junior middleweight, won two fights in 2021 to improve his record to 3-0 with one KO. Mor Oknin won his debut in April.

Former two-division world champion Carolina Duer and powerlifting world record holder Dr. Stefi Cohen also had a successful year in the ring. At the age of 43, Duer won a decision over Silvia Fernanda Zacarias in August. Cohen has started her career 1-0-1. She stopped Haydee Zapa in the third round of their fight in the Dominican Republic in June. Cohen fought Marcela Nieto to a draw in September.

Igor Lazarev was 1-1, Benny Sinakin went 0-1, and Nikita Basin was stopped in both of his bouts after a twenty-month layoff.

John Jarrett's The Great Benny Leonard, Jeffrey Sussman's Holocaust Fighters, and J. Russell Peltz's Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye were all published in 2021.

A big thank you to everyone who followed The Jewish Boxing Blog this year and a special thank you to those who offered their support on BuyMeACoffee.com. Stay tuned for big things in 2022!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Look Back: Puddy Hinkes

Filled with righteous indignation and pride in his People, Puddy Hinkes possessed perhaps a pinch of psychopathy.

"The Nazi scumbags were meeting one night on the second floor," recalled Puddy. "Nat Arno and I went upstairs and threw stink bombs into the room where the creeps were." A burgeoning movement of Nazism began to sweep over the United States in the 1930s. Hinkes and his friend Nat Arno, both former boxers, aimed to squash the threat.

"As they came out of the room, running from the horrible odor of the stink bombs and running down the steps to go into the street to escape, our boys were waiting with bats and iron bars," Hinkes remembered. "It was like running a gauntlet. Our boys were lined up on both sides and we started hitting, aiming for their heads or any other part of their bodies, with our bats and irons. The Nazis were screaming blue murder."

Puddy concluded, "This was one of the most happy moments of my life.”

Puddy loved boxing because he loved violence. While Hinkes watched a boxing match between a Jew and a gentile, a member of the crowd yelled out something crass that Puddy deemed anti-Semitic. Something such as, "Kill the Jew!" Puddy opened his mouth, took out his lit cigar, and extinguished it in the heckler's eye.

Max Hinkes was born on March 18, 1911 in a thriving New Jersey city. Had Prohibition never passed, perhaps he would have followed in the footsteps of his father David, a Yiddish-speaking immigrant from Austria who owned his own construction business. Dora, his mother, would have been so proud of her third-born son. But alcohol became illegal in 1920. Newark would house more speakeasies than Manhattan as crime derailed the city's progress. Longie Zwillman, Max's future boss who was based in Newark's Jewish Third Ward, had a hand in much of the bootlegging on the East Coast.

At 17, Max began his boxing career. BoxRec lists Hinkes, alias Puddy, as 10-1 during his three year career, scoring eight knockouts. He likely fought more than that. His first seven documented bouts were against fighters making their pro debuts. He fought in and around the middleweight division.

Zwillman often used boxers as enforcers for his bootlegging operations including Hinkes and Arno. The end of Prohibition created a void in Zwillman's operations, one that was quickly filled by the rise of Nazism.

As the popularity of Nazism in America grew during the 1930s, Zwillman and his team of enforcers, dubbed the Newark Minutemen, took it upon themselves to protect Jewish Americans by violently confronting these Nazi sympathizers. Puddy took particular delight in maiming Nazis.

Myron Sugerman, a former Newark gangster, recalled, "When the goyim, particularly the Irish toughs, would come into the Prince Street area, where the Jews congregated in Newark, and they would beat up elderly Jews or belittle them and pull their beards, the old Jews would holler for Puddy. And Puddy provided physical protection for these old-timers... It was Puddy's great pleasure to take a stick and beat a bunch of guys and break heads. He loved a good fight."

Puddy worked for Longie until Zwillman's passing in 1959. Without Zwillman's protection, Hinkes soon fell on hard times.

He ran a card room and sports betting operation on Chancellor Avenue when Harold "Kayo" Konigsberg came looking for a fellow who owed him money. Konigsberg destroyed the place, which forced Puddy to talk to members of the Italian mob for protection.

Hinkes was soon warned that the authorities were searching for him, so he fled to New York and laid low. When he resurfaced, the Italian mob had taken over his numbers racket.

Years later, an older Jew spoke with Sugerman. "Myron, help out Puddy, even though he is no fucking good and nobody has a good word to say about him. We have to help him out, because it is a disgrace for the Jews that we don't help out one of our own. So, see if you can give him a job,” Sugerman recalls the old man saying.

Puddy, who was 80 years old by this point, was installed as president of one of Sugerman's shell companies. When the company was raided and Hinkes found himself before a federal judge, a prosecutor questioned him about his role in the company. After Puddy explained his duties, the prosecutor seemed unimpressed, "Then in fact, Mr. Hinkes, you do very little as president of the company.” Puddy responded, "Mr. Prosecutor, for $10,000 a year, what would you do?”

On April 8, 1995 in Essex, New Jersey, Max "Puddy" Hinkes died. Few shed a tear for the man Sugerman describes as "not someone very appreciated by anybody," but the world undeniably became a less colorful place.

Barry, Leslie K. Newark Minutemen. 2020.
Deitche, Scott. Garden State Gangland: The Rise of the Mob in New Jersey. 2018.
Donahue, Greg. The Minuteman. 2020.
Rockaway, Robert A. "Hoodlum Hero: The Jewish Gangster as Defender of His People, 1919-1949." American Jewish History. Vol. 82, No 1/4. 1994. Pgs. 215-235.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Review of President of Pandemonium

President of Pandemonium: The Mad World of Ike Ibeabuchi
By Luke G. Williams
Hamilcar Publications, 2021.

Ike Ibeabuchi scored two impressive victories over undefeated contenders as part of his quest to achieve heavyweight supremacy in the late 1990s. In a thrilling fight, the Nigerian native notched a unanimous decision upset over devastating puncher David Tua in 1997. Three fights and two years later, Ibeabuchi stopped skilled southpaw Chris Byrd in the fifth round of their bout. He looked ready to challenge Lennox Lewis for the title.

But Ibeabuchi faced inner demons. His preparation suffered as his mental health seemingly deteriorated. Violent run-ins with the law eventually derailed his promising career. He left a trail of victims in his wake.

Luke G. Williams provides a fair-minded and thorough analysis of a complicated man with a tarnished legacy. He gives great background about Ibeabuchi's homeland, Nigeria, which is the seventh most populous nation on the planet and quickly climbing, and details the role his Igbo culture had on his outlook.

Ibeabuchi's mental health struggles aren't mocked or dismissed as boxing writers are wont to do, but neither are they an excuse for his irresponsible and violent behavior. Williams does an excellent job piecing together interviews from the people around the self-proclaimed "President" to provide a window into his life.

One of those people was Cedric Kushner, a South African Jew who served as Ibeabuchi's promoter. Kushner, who died in 2015, didn't see much promise in Ike at first. He soon realized what a prize this fighter truly was. About Kushner, Williams ultimately concludes, "[H]is apparent failure to insist that Ibeabuchi get help remains morally questionable."

Though another Jewish promoter, Bob Arum, makes an appearance, Kushner is the main Jewish character in the book. Ibeabuchi never faced a Jewish opponent. Tim Puller would have been the most likely foe, but their paths never crossed in the ring. They did have common opponents, however. Both KOed Mike Acklie in the first, and both fought nearly five whole rounds with Chris Byrd. Ibeabuchi stopped Byrd with a second to go in the fifth while Byrd stopped Puller with five seconds to go in the same round.

Though there's not much of a Jewish angle in President of Pandemonium, it's worth a read for the fantastic reporting. The 1990s were something of a golden age for the heavyweight division and Ibeabuchi was nearly a major player. This is a great book for fans who want a different look at that era.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Lazarev Off Tomorrow's Card, Kaminsky to Announce Fight Date

Igor Lazarev was scheduled to fight Angelo Peña tomorrow, Sunday December 26 in Bern, Switzerland. Peña will now make his debut against a different opponent as Lazarev is now off the card. Lazarev is a lightweight while Peña, the local amateur star, fought as a featherweight in the unpaid ranks. It would be hard to imagine Lazarev, at 35 years old, would still feel strong dropping down to 126 pounds for the first time in his career. 

Lazarev fought twice in 2021. In June, he beat Marius Col by majority decision in a six-round bout. A month ago, Igor dropped a decision on points to Greg McGuinness, an undefeated prospect. Lazarev is now 8-2 with 3 KOs.

In a recent Instagram post, David Kaminsky acknowledged that 2021 has been a tough year for him. He hopes to announce a fight date early in 2022. David has been recovering from a serious knee injury.

The 21 year old Israeli is based in California, USA. Currently sporting a 6-1 record with 3 KOs, Kaminsky last fought in June of 2020 when he lost to Clay Collard by split decision. David has primarily fought around the middleweight limit.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Perils of Cutting Weight

Making weight is one of the toughest challenges a professional boxer faces. In order to come in under a contractionally obligated weight limit, pros typically not only train constantly, but also eat healthily. "You can’t out train a bad diet," says Tony Milch, a former 14-2 professional boxer who currently runs the Gloves and Doves program. Boxing isn't just a job; it's a lifestyle

There are times when a fighter is unable to make the weight through diet and exercise alone. When that happens, the boxer is forced to cut weight. Cutting weight essentially means shedding pounds quickly in a short period of time. It's dangerous, and it's difficult.

Here's what a number of boxers had to say about cutting weight:

"I was always in training when I was a pro. Cutting weight is one of the hardest parts of training," says Milch.

"I don't cut much weight anymore, but when I used to in the amateur days, I would say, uh, even if I tried to explain how horrible it is, I wouldn't be able to." says David Alaverdian (5-0), a 28 year old flyweight prospect.

"It's the hardest part of boxing," claims Cletus Seldin (26-1), a 35 year old junior welterweight contender. Seldin is one of the few boxers who has actually gone down in weight, beginning his career in the 147 pound division.

"Cutting the weight was becoming not only a chore, it was terrible for my health and conditioning," Callum Smith (28-1), a 31 year old former super middleweight world title belt-holder told DAZN after moving up to light heavyweight.

"It’s hell on earth. You're hungry 24/7, you're thirsty 24/7... Your body feels like your insides are getting cooked. And this might go on for 2-3 weeks," explains Benny Sinakin (6-1), a 24 year old light heavyweight prospect.

"When it's a real weight cut, it feels like you might die," says Dmitriy Salita (35-2-1), a junior welterweight world title challenger who hung up the gloves in 2013 and is now a promoter.

Record-breaking powerlifter Stefi Cohen, a 29 year old featherweight who is 1-0-1 as a pro boxer needed just one word to describe what cutting weight feels like: "Hunger."


There are several ways to cut weight just before the weigh-in. Benny Sinakin explains, "You have to sit in the sauna, go running, hit the bag, and basically do heavy cardio to burn [off the weight]. And you have to wear a sauna suit on top of that."

Despite the dangers, making weight is extremely important even if that means cutting. Missing weight can lead to fines, canceled fights, or ridicule from the press. Joan Guzman- an Olympian and two-division world champion with enormous talent- should be a household name, but he made a career of badly missing weight. He lost money, chances at more world titles, and a platform to fight regularly on HBO. On one occasion, Guzman made weight but his fight was ruled a no contest when he tested positive for a diuretic.

If Guzman's career is a cautionary tale about the dangers of missing weight, Danny O'Connor's is a cautionary tale about trying to make weight.

O'Connor was set to fight for his first world title against Jose Ramirez, a 140-pound belt-holder, on July 7, 2018. During his career, O'Connor had fought between the junior welterweight and junior middleweight divisions. But in his previous two fights he came in under the 140 pound junior welterweight limit and therefore felt he could continue to make the weight. On the day before the fight, O'Connor was two pounds overweight with the weigh-in just hours away. He went to the sauna to shed the remaining pounds.

O'Connor passed out when he left the sauna. When he woke up, he was incoherent. "Four bags of fluids did not hydrate him," writes Mark Whicker. "O’Connor was hospitalized and his kidneys approached dysfunction."

Danny O'Connor hasn't fought since. Just as it was heating up, his career ended.


The timing of the weigh-in often enters discussions about weight cutting. These days, most weigh-ins are held the day before the fight. The move away from day-of weigh-ins was made because it was too dangerous for a weight-drawn fighter to step into the ring after only hours of rehydration. Yet, this has caused separate issues. Allowing for more time to rehydrate and eat has incentivized fighters to push the limits of weight cutting so that they can hold a significant weight advantage come fight night. Michael Rosenthal discusses the debate further in The Ring. Holding multiple weigh-ins might be the answer. 


About the legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran, conditioning coach Leo Thalassites, who would eventually become the oldest living cop in the U.S., once told Bernard Fernandez, "He's always been able to take off weight, but he didn't always take it off the right way."

Taking off the pounds "the right way" is the best option to avoid a dangerous weight cut. Boxers tend to share similar ideas about how to lose weight safely, but in practice they each do it a bit differently.

Amateur boxer Chananya Davids says of making weight responsibly, "It's a whole long process that takes a month."

David Alaverdian says, "Morning is cardio, and evening is boxing." The 112 pounder eats healthy food and never balloons up to more than 120 pounds. Typically, his walking around weight is even less than that.

Dr. Stefi Cohen, the powerlifting boxer who earned a PhD in physical therapy and exercise physiology, stresses the most fundamental aspect of losing weight is to burn more calories than you put in, what she calls a calorie deficit. "In order to lose weight you must be in a calorie deficit," she says. Tony Milch concurs. He advises, "Train really hard and take in fewer calories, so burning more than you're fueling gets you down to weight!"

Milch was "never more than seven to ten pounds over even two months out from a fight." He took in "loads of water and carbs during the day only, but not at night." Milch would, "run on empty in the morning and then fuel up."

Kerry Kayes, a former bodybuilder who is now a strength and nutrition coach, agrees with Milch about hydration. "Water weight is not true body mass weight. A two liter bottle of water weighs four pounds, so if a boxer doesn't drink the bottle of water, he think he won't weigh the four pounds. The reality is when you cut back on water, your body starts to hold water, which is the worst thing you can do," Kayes told Sky Sports.

"The best way to get rid of water is to drink lots of water," says Kayes. That's because a hydrated fighter sweats easier. 

"The best way to lose weight is to eat adequate amounts of protein and cut back on carbohydrates." Kayes argues that if a boxer cuts back on protein, the body cannibalizes muscle and once it does that, the body's metabolism slows which makes losing weight very difficult.

Dr. Cohen agrees with Kayes about the importance of protein. When it comes to losing weight, she recommends, "Eat protein with all your meals." According to Cohen, as long as the protein is consumed within 24 hours of the workout, the benefits are the same as if it's immediately consumed.


Cutting weight is a process filled with horrors, but even losing weight the "right way" is difficult. Most professional boxers work another job or two, so they're trying to make weight while also working. For the more famous boxers, media requests skyrocket during fight week, just when weight loss is at its most urgent period.  And then there's the agitation we all feel when we're on a diet. But for boxers, the stakes are much higher.

Even Milch, who "never cut too much," explains, "It's hard because you get on edge when close to a fight, but that's what makes a professional."

For many boxers, the toughest fight comes not in the ring, but in the weeks, days, and hours before stepping onto the scales. Even before a single punch is thrown, their health is on the line.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Cletus Seldin's Wild Run

Less than a week after knocking out William Silva in the main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, last October, Cletus Seldin went for a customary long run around Long Island. Seldin would end up running over 26 miles in just over four hours. He has run longer distances before, but seldom has Seldin had a more memorable run.

Wearing a stained cut-off gray t-shirt under a five-o'clock shadow with his wild curly hair dripping out of a red bandana, Seldin's stomach began to rumble, a familiar feeling for anyone who has run long distances. That feeling turns all runners into math experts, "I have this much time until disaster. If I have to go X distance at Y speed, will I make it in time?" The sun crept up in the east as Cletus scrambled to find any open store willing to handle his business.

Fortunately, he finally found an open Walgreens. Once his most urgent concern was alleviated, he realized his feet hurt. So, he bought some tiger balm. Outside of the Walgreens, he applied the balm to his feet before he continued his run. A stranger spotted him seated on the sidewalk outside the store.

"Hey man, here's ten dollars," the man offered.

Cletus declined the money. He looked at his wardrobe and opined, "Maybe I need to reconsider my attire."

"World Rated Junior Welterweight Mistaken for Homeless Beggar" would have been the headline had that been all that happened.

After sharing the incident on Instagram, a woman began yelling at Cletus, filming him with her phone. "He's peeing! He's peeing!" the woman shouted at the 35 year old contender who sports a record of 26-1 with 22 KOs. "I'm calling the police!"

Cletus sat in shock. He was still applying the balm to his aching feet on the sidewalk outside of Walgreens. Seldin chose the most logical option available in that situation which was to film the incident himself and yell back a defense that he was, in fact, not peeing.

Thankfully, the woman soon realized her mistake and hollered an apology from her car. The police were not called to question Seldin about any bodily fluids. For his part, the Hebrew Hammer had an airtight alibi since he had been recording his reaction to the recent offer of financial aid just seconds before he was accused of public urination.

So there was Cletus, a disheveled and tired looking man seemingly talking to himself with his shoes off sitting on the sidewalk of the Walgreens early in the morning about to continue his marathon-length run on his way up the 140-pound rankings.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Review of Slaughter in the Streets

Slaughter in the Streets: When Boston Became Boxing's Murder Capital
By Don Stradley
Hamilcar Publications, 2020

In Slaughter in the Streets, Don Stradley chronicles boxing in Boston and the influence of the mob in the city. Boxing was never as big in Boston as it was in New York, but the sport held significance in the city during the first half of the twentieth century, particularly during the '30s and '40s. After the inception of the International Boxing Club in 1949, Boston ceased to be an important boxing town. But the mob's clout remained until Whitey Bulger exited the scene earlier in this century.

Boston was primarily controlled by the Irish and Italian mobs, which preyed upon young boxers coaxing them to join as enforcers. The murder of Jewish mobster Charles "King" Solomon essentially signified the end of any real influence of the Jewish mob in the capital of Massachusetts.

But there were Boston-based Jewish boxers who fell victim to the ruthlessness of the mob. Nate Siegel, Charley "KO" Elkins (born Joseph Wolf), and Morris "Whitey" Hurwitz are all featured in Slaughter in the Streets. Promoter Sam Silverman was one of the most powerful men in New England boxing during his nearly 40 year career. He too met an untimely end.

Stradley finds the right balance when describing the murders of Siegel, Elkins, Hurwitz, and the other victims profiled in the book. You know exactly how they died, but not in such graphic detail that will make you want to throw up. Stradley logically organizes the book into brief chapters profiling murdered boxers, but the victims act as a conduit to push the fascinating narrative of boxing and the mob in Boston.

Slaughter in the Streets is for boxing fans who want to learn more about the rise and fall of the sweet science in an often overlooked city. It's a must read for anyone interested in the mob and its role in boxing.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Shawn Sarembock Scores Second Round Stoppage

Shawn Michael Sarembock knocked down Adrian Zendejas twice in the second round of their fight tonight at Big Punch Arena in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Sarembock notched his seventh consecutive KO victory to start his pro career.

Zendejas's record was nothing to brag about, but the 29 year old from Tijuana came out firing. He'd crouch and then jump at Sarembock with a jab. Zandejas didn't land much, but he indicated his intention to fight.

The most striking aspect of Shawn's game is his poise. He casually blocked the hailstorm coming his way as he inched forward waiting for the right moment to strike. With about a minute left in the first round, Sarembock popped Zendejas with a chopping right. From that point forward, the taller 30 year old Arizonan landed increasingly cleaner shots with both hands to take the round.

Zendejas did not look like a man who was about to lose his sixteenth fight in a row at the start of the second round. He was slippery in the pocket and then landed a good combination as the round began. He connected with a right to the body and then threw a punch that appeared similar until it changed course midway and landed to Sarembock's head. At that moment, it looked like anybody's fight!

Then Sarembock, who the announcers incorrectly called "Shamrock" then entire time, patiently tossed out another chopping right and Zendejas collapsed. He almost missed the count but stood up at nine. He was still woozy as Shawn charged towards him. Sarembock took what Zendejas gave him, digging a hard right to the body when the veteran from Tijuana covered his head. Sarembock then delivered another crushing right that sent Zendejas to the canvas yet again. The referee sensibly waved off the fight.

In winning by TKO in the second round, Sarembock advanced his record to 7-0 with 7 KOs and broke the seventh-fight curse. None of the previous four Jewish boxers to sport a 6-0 record were able to improve to 7-0. Zendejas is now 4-26 with 4 KOs. He has now been stopped in six of his last seven fights.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Sarembock Trying to Break the Seventh Fight Curse

Shawn Sarembock is scheduled to fight tonight at the famed Big Punch Arena in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The junior middleweight from Arizona is currently 6-0 with 6 KOs since he turned pro in 2019. The thirty year old will hope to break the seventh-fight curse that has plagued Jewish boxers for the last several years.

The last fighter covered by The Jewish Boxing Blog to raise their record to 7-0 was Tony Milch. Milch scored a six-round points victory over Daniel Borisov on March 7, 2015. He'd go on to win his first 13 pro fights.

On January 16, 2016, Dustin Fleischer won a unanimous decision victory over Lionel Jimenez to go to 6-0. He subsequently retired from prizefighting.

David Kaminsky was 6-0 when he stepped into the ring against Clay Collard on June 18, 2020. Collard came out with a split decision victory denying Kaminsky a 7-0 record. Kaminsky hasn't fought since as he recovers from a knee injury.

Three months later, on September 20, Igor Lazarev attempted to get his seventh victory in as many fights. But Binali Shakhmandarov caught Igor, who could never find his way back into the fight, with a brain-scrambling punch. The ref stopped the contest in the second round, and Lazarev's record fell to 6-1. He is now 8-2.

On April 3 of this year, Benny Sinakin was 6-0 heading into his fight with Afunwa King. King won by majority decision. Benny hasn't been in the ring since.

Sarembock is the fifth Jewish fighter to reach the 6-0 mark since, but if he wins tonight, he would be the first to go 7-0 in over six and half years.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Cohen Out, Lazarev In

Lightweight Igor Lazarev is scheduled to fight Angelo Peña on December 26 at Kursaal Arena in Bern, Switzerland. Dr. Stefi Cohen was originally scheduled to fight on this card, but she is now off it. She is currently is Switzerland with her coach Dr. Pedro Diaz running training sessions, but will head back to the States before the 26th.

Lazarev, 35 years old, is 8-2 with 3 KOs. After winning his first six pro bouts, Lazarev suffered a setback last year. He then won two straight before dropping his last bout on points. On November 27, Igor battled Greg McGuinness in a six-round affair in McGuinness's hometown. The southpaw's aggression carried the day, but Lazarev showed some slick and clever boxing ability at times during the fight.

Peña is making his pro debut at 27 years old. From just outside Bern, Peña is a southpaw with an experienced amateur career. According to SwissBoxing.com, he amassed an amateur record of 34-7 from 2017 until his last bout on November 21. He showed a quick jab and good footwork in the unpaid ranks.

This six-round bout is scheduled for the featherweight division. The lightest Lazarev has weighed in for a fight is 131.5 pounds. He was 133.5 for his last fight a couple of weeks ago. Peña fought as a 126 pounder in the amateurs. This will be the seventh different country Igor has fought in as a pro boxer. The adventurous Israeli has also boxed in Moldova, Ukraine, Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria, and England. In addition, he participated in a couple of unofficial boxing matches held in a circular ring in Israel a couple of years ago.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Where is Cletus Seldin Ranked?

Cletus Seldin is a 26-1 junior welterweight who has stopped 22 of his opponents inside the distance. He last fought on October 16, when he concocted a stunning comeback knockout over the respectable William Silva. It was his first fight in twenty months.

One of the four major alphabet organizations currently rates the 35 year old New Yorker as the eighth best challenger in the world in the 140 pound division. Another rates him number 14. The two others don't have him in the top 15.

Maybe Seldin is the eighth best junior welterweight in the world, maybe he isn't. Irrespective of the Hebrew Hammer's spot on any of the lists, the alphabet organizations' rankings are a joke. 

Jose Zepeda and Jose Ramirez are generally regarded as two of the four best 140 pounders in the world. According to two of the alphabet organizations, neither is even in their top 15. This isn't merely an issue of reasonable minds can differ. Alberto Puello is the number one challenger in one of the organizations, number 13 in another, and unrated in the other two. These sanctioning bodies care more about dollars donated than punches landed.

BoxRec is an invaluable service for recording fights, but its ratings system is famously broken. Seldin is the 59th best junior welterweight in the world according to BoxRec's flawed rankings. Cletus may not yet deserve to be as high at eighth, but he is surely better than 59th.

The Transnational Boxing Rankings and The Ring both do a better job with their rankings. Both have Ramirez in the second spot and Zepeda one behind him. The problem is they only include the top ten challengers. Seldin isn't on either list at this time. Tellingly, neither is Puello.

In any event, the best way to ensure a good ranking in the TBR or The Ring is to fight and win.

For a thrilling fight, Seldin could take on the Beast, Ivan Baranchyk, an all-action fighter who has lost three of his last four fights, albeit against excellent competition. For a battle against a name opponent, southpaw Anthony Yigit could be a good choice. Yigit religiously identifies as Muslim but also claims Russian Jewish heritage* and has wins over two former European champs, Joe Hughes and Sandor Martin. Ismael Barroso is another beatable opponent who is ranked #2 in the organization in which Seldin is #8. Barroso also has a win, albeit a controversial one, over the only man to best Cletus, Yves Ulysse.

Whichever direction Seldin and his team choose to take, hopefully "Da Hamma" won't have to wait another twenty months for a fight.

*Shout out to our friends at Jewish Baseball News for alerting The JBB about Yigit's Jewish heritage. When contacted, Yigit gave no indication he wished to be included in The JBB's coverage though.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Review of Sporting Blood

Sporting Blood: Tales from the Dark Side of Boxing
By Carlos Acevedo
Hamilcar Publications, 2020.

Sporting Blood consists of just over twenty brief portraits of noteworthy boxers. The real star of the book is Carlos Acevedo, whose artistry with words is reminiscent of an ancient sculptor with clay. The ideas behind each article aren't too complicated, but Acevedo stretches even the most educated person's vocabulary, though for the most part, his linguist punches find their target.

Generally, Acevedo chronicles an ex-champion who was on top of the world before his life found a tragic end. Don Jordan, Johnny Saxton, Johnny Tapia, Aaron Pryor, and Tony Ayala are just some of the boxers in this book who fit this archetype. A few chapters focus elsewhere: Muhammad Ali isn't the ideal icon for American liberals, Joe Frazier always resented Ali, and Roberto Duran showed surprising compassion for Esteban DeJesus when DeJesus was ill.

Al Singer, the lone Jewish boxer to receive his own profile, follows the familiar path of meteoric rise to the top followed by crashing fall. The other chapters in the book are more satisfying than the one about Singer, unfortunately. Acevedo relies too much on the curmudgeonly columnist Westbrook Pegler, who seemed to have a particular disdain for Singer. Acevedo plays up Singer's incidental ties to the mob although he doesn't make any explicit accusations. He conflates Singer's nicknames- "the Bronx Beauty" and "the Battling Bronco of the Bronx"- to "The Bronx Bronco," which is the mascot of Bronx Community College. But it's fun to read just how popular Al Singer was in his heyday.

Jewish boxers Saoul Mamby, Leach Cross, Solly Seeman, Ruby Goldstein, Sid Terris, and Mike Rossman all make brief cameos in the book. Bob Arum appears in a profile of Davey Moore. Acevedo doesn't much care for "Bottom Line Bob." He writes, "Not even the moral stain of apartheid could prevent Arum from making money in South Africa."

Sporting Blood is for those of us who love boxing history written in elegant prose. You'll learn a lot, but even if you don't, it's worth a read for the beautiful writing.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Next Gloves and Doves Show on December 16 in Israel

Former pro boxer Tony Milch's Gloves and Doves initiative is hosting an amateur show in the Arab town of Majd al-Kurum, located in northern Israel, on December 16.  The mission of Gloves and Doves is to spread peace and unity in the Middle East. Gloves and Doves held a show in London, England last month and hosted one in Israel this past July.

True to its mission, this upcoming show will feature amateur youths from different ethnic and religious backgrounds in eleven fights. The event will be streamed live on WBC Middle East's Facebook page.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Jewish Boxing Blog Update

The Jewish Boxing Blog has a lot of new projects, and since this is a slow news period in the world of Jewish boxing, this seems like a good time to mention them. Traffic to the site has exploded recently, so thank you to everyone who visits The JBB.

There is a link to The JBB's Linktree page on the site. You can view the different sites associated with The Jewish Boxing Blog there.

On Twitter, a birthday, big fight anniversary, or yahrzeit date of a Jewish boxer is posted each day. New articles from this site and articles about Jewish boxers from other sites are also shared there. Check it out here.

The JBB joined Instagram because Jewish boxers share a lot of news there. The JBB has started to post more pictures of Jewish boxers, fight posters, etc. And check out The JBB's stories for news. The Instagram page is here.

There's a new a weekly newsletter via Buymeacoffee.com. There'll be a link to the most recent newsletter on the site. Here is the newsletter for the week of November 29. A donation of as a little as $3 will get you access to all newsletters. Here's a page that has a list of all of them.

Donations through Buymeacoffee.com are much appreciated. I want to give a giant thank you to those who have already offered their financial support. That support is very meaningful.

Check out The JBB's new page of featured books. These are recommended by the editor of the The Jewish Boxing Blog. If you purchase a book by clicking on a link, Amazon gives The JBB a tiny reward, but you pay the same price, so if you plan on purchasing any of these books, using the links on The JBB is much appreciated.

In addition to covering all of the Jewish boxing news, this site will also offer more book reviews and more columns about different relevant topics. Thank you for supporting The Jewish Boxing Blog and stay tuned as the site continues to grow!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Tough Night For Two Jewish Boxers

Igor Lazarev and Nikita Basin both fell tonight in separate bouts at Bolton Whites Hotel in Bolton, England, United Kingdom. Lazarev dropped a six-rounder on points to Greg McGuinness. Basin was stopped in the second round of his fight against Kyle Lomotey.

Lazarev came out boxing in the first. Greg McGuinness, a southpaw, charged forward. He landed a left but ate a right for his trouble. Both guys had some success doing what they wanted in the opening period. Another left off McGuinness's jab as he moved in was a harbinger of things to come. Meanwhile, Lazarev landed an overhand right and some body shots. It was a close round.

The second and third rounds saw McGuinness's pressure wear down Igor. Lazarev landed some nice rights in the second, but it was clear the home fighter's punches thudded harder. McGuinness spent some time mauling the Israeli on the ropes. At times, Igor bent down and McGuinness took what was given him, landing on the top of Lazarev's head.

Exhausted in the corner, Igor found a spark in the fourth. After taking a right hook and a jab, Lazarev connected with a big left hook of his own. He moved his head effectively and his feet kept him out of danger. In the middle of the round, he turned into the Magic Johnson of boxing, throwing no look punches as he bent at the waist. Those blind shots connected with astonishing accuracy. He slipped oncoming fire like a defensive master.

McGuinness finished the fourth strong, but it wasn't enough to take the round. In the fifth, Lazarev continued to show off his defensive skills, but those brilliant no-look bombs were mostly a relic of the previous round. McGuinness trapped him in the corner and raked him with some more lefts. The Brit's overhand left seemed to carry the day.

Both men were in excellent condition. Even in the final three minutes, McGuinness lingered on Lazarev like a loiterer. He wouldn't stop throwing punches. Igor dodged many of them though. At one point, he was caught on the ropes once again, so he spun and landed a one-two in return. By the end of the fight, both men were trading fire. Though McGuinness missed many of his punches in the final round, enough slammed off Igor to take it.

Referee Jamie Kirkpatrick scored the bout 59-55 for McGuinness, or five rounds to one. In certain fights in Britain only the referee scores the contest. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 59-56 or four to one with one even. Lazarev is now 8-2 with 3 KOs while McGuinness improves to 3-0 with one KO.

Nikita Basin started his fight using the bob and weave tactic as he pressed forward. When he wasn't punching, he kept an unusually tight guard to protect against punches down the middle and keep his chin safe. His speed wasn't quite enough to catch Kyle Lomotey, a slick southpaw. Basin landed a snapping jab that caught Lomotey off guard, but the home fighter soon figured out Basin's style.

Lomotey boxed well and held his left glove up to guard against the overhand right, Nikita's best shot at victory. Kyle landed some good right hooks, a clean straight left, and threw a well-timed jab. Though Basin's chin was in the clear, his temple was exposed and Lomotey zeroed in. A right hook just before the bell to end the opening round put Basin down to the canvas.

Basin couldn't get much going in the second round. To his credit, he pushed forward even as Lomotey picked him off. The Brit, who reps his Ghanaian heritage, punched around the tight guard when he went to the body. He then landed an overhand left and a right hook that wobbled Basin. Lomotey followed up by teeing off on the Israeli. Referee Jamie Kirkpatrick jumped in to wave off the contest. Basin stared at the ref as he was escorted back to his corner and shrugged in resignation.

This is the second time in a little over a month Basin has been stopped. His ledger is now 4-2 with four KOs. None of his fights have gone into the fourth round. Lomotey is now 10-0 with two KOs.

Kudos to both Lazarev and Basin for showing courage by fighting tough foes on short notice in the opposition's home country.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Igor Lazarev and Nikita Basin in Tough Tonight

Lightweight Igor Lazarev and light heavyweight Nikita Basin are both in tough tonight in separate bouts against undefeated opponents at Bolton Whites Hotel in Bolton, England, United Kingdom. Lazarev faces Greg McGuinness while Basin battles Kyle Lomotey.

Lazarev (8-1, 3 KOs) will give up three a half pounds to McGuinness, a southpaw. Lazarev weighed in at 133.5 pounds while McGuinness tipped the scales at 137. McGuinness (2-0, one KO) scored a stoppage victory against another debutant in 2019 and earned a points victory over a journeyman with more than 100 losses in March of 2020. This will be his first fight in twenty months.

Lazarev has more experience and has been more active. He fought three times in 2020 and once this year. Both are listed at 5'8", but McGuiness, at 30 years old, is five years younger than Igor. This bout is scheduled for six rounds.

Basin (4-1, 4 KOs) will enter the ring with a 13 pound weight advantage. At 169 pound, Basin qualifies as a light heavyweight. At 156 pounds, Lomotey (9-0, one KO) is just two pounds above the junior middleweight limit. Basin was stopped in thirty seconds in his last fight on October 23, but fortunately Lomotey doesn't appear to be a puncher; he possess a KO ratio of just 11%. Only one of Lomotey's wins came against an opponent with a winning record.

Lomotey, who is British, is a 31 year old southpaw. That gives him a four year age advantage over Basin. But with the Israeli's size and knockout power, he has a puncher's chance. This bout is also scheduled for six rounds.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Chilemba Drops Decision to Silyagin

Isaac Chilemba dropped a twelve-round decision to Pavel Silyagin today at USC Soviet Wings in Moscow, Russia. Silyagin made the super middleweight limit by coming into the fight at 167.6 pounds while Chilemba was 171.1.

After the fight, Silyagin described Chilemba as "slippery." Chilemba is one of the best defenders of his era. Silyagin's right cheek and forehead were visibly marked up after the battle. Silyagin won comfortably on the cards, however. The judges scored the fight 120-108, 119-109, 118-110.

Chilemba is now 26-8-2 with 10 KOs. Silyagin is now 9-0 with 4 KOs. In the run-up to this fight, Chilemba indicated that this might be the last one of his career. He told Peter Kanjere that he has applied to Wits University and hopes to study astrophysics. More details to come...

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Chilemba Misses Weight, Might Retire After This Fight

Isaac Chilemba weighed in three pounds overweight for his scheduled super middleweight contest against Pavel Silyagin, which will be held at USC Soviet Wings in Moscow, Russia tomorrow, November 26. Chilemba weighed in at 171.1 pounds while Silyagin was 167.6 pounds.

This fight had several postponements which could have contributed to Chilemba missing weight although, to his credit, Silyagin came in under the 168 pound limit. More likely, Chilemba just grew out of the division. The only time he has fought as a super middleweight since 2010 was when Isaac made the weight against Fedor Chudinov earlier this year. When asked in an interview with SA Boxing Talk about making the super middleweight limit, Chilemba responded a bit unconvincingly, "We'll see. I made it last time."

Silyagin, incidentally, holds a minor belt. By coming in over the 168-pound limit, Chilemba cannot win the belt even if he wins the fight. Isaac is confident in his chances, however. "There are a lot of things missing in [his game]," Chilemba believes. "Once you put him in an uncomfortable position, he's got no idea what to do."

To SA Boxing Talk, Chilemba admitted, "My body's tired." He revealed, "I'm thinking about calling it a day either way, win or lose." The South African-based man from Malawi said he didn't want to stay in the game too long. He didn't want to end his career losing to a bunch of "nobodies." Isaac declared, "I want to finish on top. I want to finish with a bang."

But in an interview with The Combat Station a few weeks later, Chilemba slightly amended his comments on retirement. He said, "Part of me says I'm done with the sport. Part of me wants to stay a little longer." He said he will reassess his commitment to boxing after his scheduled twelve round fight with Silyagin tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Review of Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye

Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye: 50 Years in Boxing
By J. Russell Peltz
Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., 2021

Hall of Famer J. Russell Peltz brings fifty years of experience in boxing to Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye. First entering boxing as a journalist, Peltz spent the next fifty years as a promoter and matchmaker primarily based in Philadelphia. This book is an entertaining combination of Philly boxing history mixed with a promoter's blueprint.

The most eye-opening revelations are how much promoters make (or lose) during a show, how much fighters get paid, and Peltz's relationship with others in the business. A major fear when a boxing promoter writes a book is that it's just a chance to settle scores. Peltz refreshingly admits many mistakes, praises many people. and yes, criticizes some with whom he worked. Peltz's critiques aren't attacks though, just his honest perspective.

Of the few Jewish boxers with whom Peltz did business, Mike Rossman was the most prominent. In his chapter on Rossman, the promoter portrays the "Jewish Bomber" as immensely talented but held back by an overbearing father. Just before Rossman's dad, Jimmy DePiano, died, he asked Peltz to look after his boy. Rossman's commitment to boxing after his dad's death understandably wavered. Peltz eventually cuts out the grieving son, effectively ending Rossman's career. Perhaps, that was his way of honoring DePiano's dying wish; Peltz doesn't say.

Several minyanim's worth of Jews make appearances in the book. Most, like Peltz himself, are non-participants. Marty Feldman, a middleweight who fought in the 1950s, is singled out as a mensch. He trained and managed a few fighters Peltz promoted, and Russell has more than a few kind words about Feldman.

Backstories, like those of Rossman and Feldman, give great context to the amusing, hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking anecdotes Peltz delivers. The editing is not the cleanest, however. The typos range from the completely understandable but content-altering (mistaking Kelvin Kelly, the 1980s Philly-born light heavyweight for Kevin Kelley, the 1990s featherweight champion from New York) to the utterly trivial (Alfred Kotey is described as relocating to Silver Springs, Maryland, a mistake that maybe only a DC-area Marylander, which this reviewer happens to be, would catch. For some inexplicable reason, this error pisses off us 301ers to no end, and I'm not even from Silver Spring!). This does not detract from the book, though.

For those interested in learning about the business side of the sport or about the history of Philadelphia boxing, Thirty Dollars and a Cut Eye is the perfect book for you. And if you aren't interested in Philly boxing history- people like Joe Frazier, Bennie Briscoe, and Gabe Rosado just to name a few- maybe you just don't like boxing.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Review of Shot in a Brothel

Shot in a Brothel: The Spectacular Demise of Oscar “Ringo” Bonavena
By Patrick Connor
Hamilcar Publications, 2021

Oscar Bonavena, an Argentine heavyweight who fought in the 1960s and 1970s, faced the likes of Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, and Floyd Patterson. Often acting like a heel, Bonavena developed a reputation for spending other people's money and being difficult to work with. In the ring against a certain level of fighter, his power masked a crude style. His life outside the ring increasingly became unstable before his death.

Patrick Connor provides an informative and entertaining look at the man nicknamed Ringo, one free from the type of sensationalism or romanticism that can detract from such an eccentric subject. Part one is fast paced and organized like an octopus. Staring at the end of a tentacle may not make much sense until you trace it back to the body of the octopus. By the second or third tentacle, you know what you're looking at and where it's going. Italian immigration, Luis Firpo, and Juan Peron invariably trace back to Bonavena in creative and revealing ways.

Parts two and three cover fewer topics but each is described in greater depth. The stories of Joe Frazier and Joe Conforte are told in parallel in part two. By part three, Conforte, the corrupt man who owned the fateful brothel, Mustang Ranch, comes into full view.

At first glance, none of this seems particularly relevant to fans of Jewish boxing, but Jews are littered throughout the early stages of Bonavena's boxing career.

Ex-fighter Charley Goldman, a future Hall of Famer best known for training Rocky Marciano, took on the challenge of teaching Bonavena when Ringo first reached American soil. Bonavena thanked the elderly Goldman by purposely tripping the trainer while he was trying to show his Argentine charge proper footwork. Dr. Marvin Goldberg, an optometrist who could speak Spanish, became Bonavena's manager; Ringo repaid him by vacuuming up the doctor's money. Madison Square Garden's legendary matchmaker Teddy Brenner featured Oscar on a number of shows at MSG before deeming Bonavena too difficult to do business with.

Bonavena even fought a Jewish opponent. Dick Wipperman, a New York-based heavyweight, became the first fighter to go the distance with the Argentine who had knocked out his first six foes. The bout was the main event at the Garden on November 13, 1964. Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano sat ringside. According to Connor, "Wipperman avoided him all night." New York Daily News' Dick Young explains, "Oscar Bonavena, the muscle-bound Argentine goombah, wanted to fight, but doesn't know how. Dick Wipperman knows how, but didn't want to." Even Wipperman later acknowledged that he "ran like a deer."

Fans of boxing history, particularly of the 1960s and 1970s, will enjoy Shot in a Brothel. Bonavena is usually portrayed as a supporting character in the lives of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, but with this book, Connor skillfully adds additional context to one of the most exciting eras in heavyweight boxing history.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Jew or Not: Benny Briscoe

One of the best boxers never to win a title, Benny Briscoe, remains a legend in Philadelphia boxing circles. "Bad" Bennie challenged for the middleweight world championship three times. The first attempt came against one of the best middleweights of all time, Hall of Famer Carlos Monzon. Briscoe dropped all three of his fights to Rodrigo Valdes, two of them for the title.

In 2019, the late Harold Lederman told BoxingTalk.com about Briscoe, "He had a left hook to the body that you could feel up in the rafters! He was just vicious. There was nobody- nobody- who was meaner in a boxing ring than Bennie Briscoe. He was the meanest man I ever saw. He would scare his opponents half to death when he would come out for the referee’s instructions. He was one of the first guys to have a shaved head." 

After winning his first fifteen fights- all in Philadelphia- Briscoe battled many notable boxers. In addition to Monzon and Valdes, he faced Hall of Famer Emile Griffith (twice), Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler, and (future) world champion Vito Antuofermo. He beat many quality opponents including George Benton, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, and Eugene "Cyclone" Hart.

He fought all of them with a Star of David on his trunks.

In his book Four Kings, George Kimball writes, "Briscoe had a certain crossover ethnic appeal as well; he had converted to Judaism and wore a Star of David on his trunks." (pg.35). If true, Briscoe wouldn't be the only Black Jewish Bennie/Benny from Philadelphia. Active boxer Benny Sinakin checks all those boxes as well. And there is another Ben Briscoe, a Jewish politician from Ireland.

Boxing Insider notes, "Boxing magazines and news reports in the early 1970s said [Briscoe] was practicing the 'Jewish faith.'"

Russell Peltz, his promoter, told a revealing story to Matt Silver of the Jewish Exponent in 2019 about a group of Israelis who sat ringside during one of Briscoe's fights. “They jumped up and waved their Israeli passports and said, ‘Hey, we’re Jewish, too, Bennie!’

“Of course, Bennie wasn’t actually Jewish, but, you know.”

After Briscoe won the fight, the Israelis stormed the ring and carried him around on the shoulders. Bennie, reportedly a kindhearted man when he wasn't fighting, didn't want to burst their bubble and enjoyed the ride.

Rob Murray, the late trainer based in Philadelphia, told Bill Dettloff of RingTV.com that Briscoe probably didn't even know what the Star of David on his trunks meant.

Dettloff explains, "He simply wore it as a personal favor to Jimmy Iselin and [then] Arnold Weiss, his Jewish managers." Iselin, the son of the New York Jets owner at the time, sold Briscoe's contract to Weiss, who happened to be Peltz's brother-in-law.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Shawn Sarembock Improves to 6-0

Junior middleweight Shawn Michael Sarembock won his last fight by fourth round TKO against Adan "Ojitos" Gamboa. The fight took place on October 8 at the famed Big Punch Arena in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.

Sarembock is a 30 year old based in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. He turned pro in 2019 and scored four stoppage victories before the pandemic slowed his career's progress. After a sixteen month layoff, Sarembock returned to the ring in July. All six of his fights have been in Tijuana. He has yet to face an opponent with a winning record.

In the first round of his fight against Gamboa, Sarembock started out jabbing. Gamboa landed an overhand right, and Sarembock retreated to the ropes. It would be the highlight of Gamboa's night. Off the ropes, Shawn landed several left hooks to the body. He followed one of them up with a right uppercut that put down Gamboa. Sarembock showed good poise throughout the bout but was perhaps too patient after scoring that first knockdown.

Wearing a gold Star of David on the left leg of his black trunks, Sarembock dominated the second round. He threw in combination, doubled up his jab, and mercilessly attacked the body. Ojitos switched to southpaw out of desperation. Shawn reacted by attacking Gamboa's round midsection some more. Those body punches set up right uppercuts and a short right over the top. Gamboa's response was to land a straight left below the belt at the end of the second round.

The third was more of the same. Gamboa came out as a righty and ate a jab as he rushed forward. Sarembock continuously pumped the jab into Gamboa's face. Ojitos became frustrated and switched back to southpaw. At one point he taunted Shawn to come forward as Adan himself fled. Towards the end of the round, Sarembock threw a triple jab and a right behind it. Gamboa took a knee for the second knockdown of the night.

The final round lasted 48 seconds. After several more body shots, Gamboa waved his arms towards Shawn in an unconvincing imitation of punches. Sarembock landed a right uppercut, Gamboa took a knee for the third time in the fight, and referee Fernando Renteria waved off the contest.

Sarembock varied the level and intensity of his punches. He controlled center-ring and remained relaxed throughout the fight. His body shots were vicious, he possessed powerful uppercuts, but his left hook could've been tighter. Defensively, he blocked the punches. He did not slip, move his head, or use his feet. Against Gamboa, blocking mostly did the job although Ojitos connected here and there. The 36 year old native of Tijuana is a 33-fight veteran, but 28 of those have been losses. He has been stopped in half of those losses and scored just two KOs himself. Against a better opponent, Sarembock will need to show improved defense.

Regardless, Shawn is now 6-0 with 6 KOs. His father, Neil, was a decorated kickboxer from South Africa and briefly served as a boxing judge. Shawn's dream is to become the next Jewish world champion.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Holocaust Boxers

The aim for this post is to be a reference point for those who wish to learn more about boxers victimized during the Holocaust. The intention is that this post will expand as new information becomes known.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum defines victims of the Shoah as: "Any persons, Jewish or non-Jewish, who were displaced, persecuted or discriminated against due to the racial, religious, ethnic, social and political policies of the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945. In addition to former inmates of concentration camps, ghettos, and prisons, this definition includes, among others, people who were refugees or were in hiding." This broad definition will be used for this post.

Jewish Boxers
Lazzaro Anticoli
Salamo Arouch
Heinie Buchbaum
Herman Buchbaum
Max Buchbaum
Willi Besmanoff
Benny Bluhm
Ben Bril
Moise Bouquillon
Theo Bouquillon
Francesco "Kid Francis" Buonaugurio
Robert Cohen
Harry de Wolf
Pacifico Di Consiglio
Joop Cosman
Leone Efrati
Harry Haft
Shmuel "Samuel" Kenigswein
Sim Kessel
Jonas Kessler
Noah Klieger
David Kropveld
Sam Lewko
Lina Lisauer
Gunter Loewinski
Imre Mandi
Adam Paluch
Benjamin "Kid" Perez
Victor "Young" Perez
Jacko Razon
Abraham Rosenberg
Szepsl Rotholc
Harry "Kid" Ruckenstein
Bram Sanders
Leen Sanders
Meijer Sanders
Salem Schott
Eric Seelig
Nathan Shapow
Norman Shneidman
Klaus Silber
Seigfried "Siggie Lander" Stadtlander
Harry Stein
Settimio "Terry" Terracina
Juda van der Velde
Leo Vogelfang
Sander Waterman
Lard Zilverberg
Leo Zurel

Polish Boxers
Antoni Czortek
Zygmunt Małecki
Tadeusz Pietrzykowski
Andrzej Rablin
Kazimierz Szelest

Romani Boxers
Johann Trollmann

Communist Boxers
Erwin Volkmar

Holocaust Fighters By Jeffrey Sussman
Harry Haft By Alan Scott Haft
The Boxer's Story By Nathan Shapow with Bob Harris
Johann Trollmann and Romani Resistance to the Nazis By Jud Nirenberg
The Boxing Medal By N. Schneidman
Hanged in Auschwitz By Sam Kessel
K.O. Auschwitz By José Ignacio Pérez  (in Spanish)
Quatre boules de cuir ou l’étrange destin de Young Perez, champion du monde de boxe By André Nahum (in French)
Duello nel ghetto By Amedeo Guerrazzi Osti and Maurizio Molinari (in Italian)
The Fighter of Auschwitz By Erik Brouwer
Deutscher Meister By Stephanie Bart (in German)

The Survivor (2021)
The Champion

Journalistic Articles
Abram, Len. "Boxing for Time." Boxing Over Broadway.
David, Ariel "A Real-life Inglorious Basterd: The Jewish Boxer Who Battled Nazis." Haaretz.
de Klein, Dirk. "Behind the Star." History of Sorts.
Ganor, Tomer. "The Jewish boxing champ killed in Auschwitz." YNetNews.
Jakubek, Anna Maria. "Champion of Auschwitz." The Times of Israel.
Kentish, Portia. "The Boxer of Auschwitz." Emerging Europe.
Newland, Christina. "Gypsy in the Ring." Vice.
"Norman Schneidman"
Piattelli, Ariana. "Addio ad Ada Di Segni." La Stampa (in Italian).
Smith, Martin. "Rukeli 'Johan' Trollman." Dream Deferred.
Starkman, Harvey. "The Final Victory of Leone Efrati." The Hamilton Spectator.
Van Thyne, Nico. "The Boxer Leen Sanders... My Dad's Hero." Once a Knight...
"Veteran Jewish Boxing Champions in Israel." The Palestine Post.
"In Love and Auschwitz." Sydney Jewish Museum.

Academic Articles
Finder, Gabriel N. "The Politics of Retribution in Post-War Warsaw" in Warsaw: the Jewish Metropolis
Levis Sullam, Simon. "Uncovering the Italian Muscle Jew." Quest. October, 2017.
Paluch, Adam. "The Story of Adam Paluch." in Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust
Paulsson, Gunnar S. "The Hidden Jews of Warsaw." in How Was It Possible?: A Holocaust Reader.

The Jewish Boxing Blog Articles


If you have relevant information (particularly names of boxers) please email me (link near the top of the site) or post a comment below. Comments will be moderated and likely deleted after reviewed.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Andrew Klein: The Real Estate Heavyweight

Andrew Klein's professional boxing career extended from 2010-2016, but it lasted all of three fights. A college educated real estate mogul, Klein was in his late 30s when he entered the ring for his first prizefight.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Klein attended the University of Colorado and graduated in three years with a BS in Business Administration in 1995. In 1998, a 24-year-old Klein formed Westside Property Investment Company. His aim for the new company was simple: "development with a conscience." Klein says, "Westside strives to develop projects that generate new opportunities and create communities that will stand the test of time."

All along, Klein pursued another passion: boxing. He called himself the "Hebrew Hammer" and in 2010 turned professional. On August 20, at an age when many boxers have hung up the gloves, Klein debuted.

The fight, in Softball Country Arena, didn't go Andy's way. He dropped a four-round unanimous decision to Isaiah Barela, a 6' 205-pound heavyweight. Though the blue-eyed, curly-haired Klein held a nearly 70-pound advantage, the judges scored the bout 40-36, 39-37 (twice) for Barela. Barela would win his first four fights before dropping his next eight, last fighting in 2018.

In 2011, Klein's mansion fell into foreclosure, according to Penny Parker of The Denver Post. “It’s been a hard three years," Klein told Parker.

Three and half years after his debut, Andrew made a comeback. On March 14, 2014, Klein entered the ring against Mike Seymour with a nearly 55-pound advantage. In the boardroom Klein looks like a heavyweight boxer, but in the ring he looks like a real estate mogul. Carrying 270 pounds, Klein's body resembled another Andy -Ruiz- but without any of the former champion's ability. 

Klein was nominally a southpaw, but he barely kept his stance. He fought like a novice. Seymour, an 0-3 fighter with three stoppage losses from Nebraska, pelted Klein with at least ten straight rights to the head and midsection. What Andy lacked in skill, he made up for in toughness. Mouth open, blood rushing from his nose, he remained standing as he heard the bell to end the first round.

When the bell rang to begin the second, blood continued to seep from Klein's nose and a prominent welt formed on the left side of his forehead. But the doctor could be seen shining a light into Seymour's eyes. Whatever the diagnosis, it was bad for Seymour and the fight was stopped. Klein raised his hands in triumph, and officially, he won by way of TKO six seconds into in the second. Sometimes just surviving counts as a win.

Klein's final fight came two and half years later. On September 3, 2016 he faced Juan Jose Romero (1-0) at the Glitter Dome. Like his other two fights, this one also took place in Andy's hometown of Denver. Coming in at 266 pounds to Romero's 259, Klein survived all four rounds to earn a unanimous decision. The scores were  39-36, 38-37 (twice). In the end he wasn't as badly marked up as in his bout against Seymour.

It has been over five years since Klein last entered a ring. He finished with a record of 2-1 with one KO. In a sport that has seen rich men corrupt it for their own vanity- men such as Mexican businessman Jorge Kahwagi- there was a certain nobility in Klein's toughness. The blood and welts were real.

Having bought and sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets, Klein continues to run Westside Property Investment Company. The 47 year old is a single father of three.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Chilemba-Silyagin Postponed Two Weeks

Isaac Chilemba's oft-postponed fight with Pavel Silyagin has been pushed back once again. It is now scheduled for November 26, still in Moscow, Russia for now.

Chilemba is no stranger to delays. He was originally scheduled to fight Fedor Chudinov in March of 2020 when covid-19 shut down the world and postponed the fight. In February of this year, Chilemba and Chudinov finally fought to a split draw.

Chilemba-Silyagin is turning into the Russian version of Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos.

Lopez was supposed to fight Kambosos in June, but the fight was delayed when Lopez tested positive for covid-19. There was an August fight date that came and went. The fight was moved to a Monday, October 4, and then pushed back to October 16. The promotional company, Triller eventually defaulted and lost the right to stage the fight. Cletus Seldin took over the October 16 spot on the Triller card and shined.

George Kambosos's position as "mandatory challenger" for one of Lopez's alphabet organization belts is the only reason the fight wasn't scrapped along the way. There are four major alphabet organizations and Lopez owns four out of five of the belts. That's not a typo; one of them has two world champions, down from the four they had up until this summer.

Kambosos is a good fighter and deserves respect, but there is so much talent in and around the lightweight division, there really isn't any justification for him to be a mandatory challenger. The southpaw technician, Vasiliy Lomachenko, lost a close decision to Lopez last year in a fight that many thought was a draw. Then there's slick boxer Devin Haney, social media star Ryan Garcia, southpaw puncher Gervonta Davis, and Olympian Shakur Stevenson lurking. Such is boxing. Lopez-Kambosos is now scheduled for November 27.

Chilemba knows all about the bizarre business of boxing. He has been on the wrong side of many close decisions in the opponent's hometown and now he's dealing with the shenanigans with his upcoming fight date. This bout against Silyagin was originally scheduled for October 15. It was then moved to November 5. Then, it was pushed back to November 12.

Chilemba told The Times of Malawi, “Russia is under a complete lockdown due to an increase in covid cases, so the fight has been moved to November 26th.”

The Times reporter, Mphatso Malidadi, notes that the lockdown may only be confined to Russia's capital. Yesterday, a boxing card took place in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia in which Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov enjoyed strawberries as he watched the fights.

Regardless, Chilemba is keeping his fingers crossed that the fight will happen. “I hope the lockdown won’t be extended, and we will be allowed to enter Russia," Chilemba said. "It is very frustrating. This is the fourth time the date has been changed. I am actually losing hope if it is going to happen this year at all.”

The Jewish Boxing Blog's preview of Chilemba-Silyagin can be viewed here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Alaverdian Hopes to Fight in the U.S. in January

In an interview with Mike Orr on his show Knuckle Up, David Alaverdian said he hopes to fight in January in the United States against an opponent higher in the ranks than himself. Alaverdian has an ambitious plan. Though just 5-0 with 4 KOs, the 28 year old U.S.-based Israeli hopes to fight for a world title by the beginning of 2023.

David's head coach is legendary trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. "I come from a little town in Israel, the country itself doesn't have [hardly] any boxing in it, I used to train in a bomb shelter..." Alaverdian told Orr in an endearing display of disbelief. "Then I come to train in the United States, in the mecca of boxing, Las Vegas, and I'm being trained by the guy I was watching on tv! You gotta be kidding me! It just blows my mind. I don't believe what's happened to me."

Alaverdian has the speed and the skills to make good on his ambition even if he doesn't yet have the résumé. He has yet to face a fighter with a winning record although that is not unusual for boxers with his level of pro experience. It is unusual, however, for a fighter with his ambitious timeline.

But his biggest obstacle to moving up the ranks so quickly might just be the numbers. BoxRec lists only 532 male flyweights in the world. For reference, there are nearly 1,700 male welterweights. As a result, there aren't as many "step-up" opportunities to face. To complicate things further, covid restrictions limit the pool of potential opponents. Alaverdian would most likely need to fight someone based in the U.S. Miguel Cartegena and Marco Sustaita are a couple of beatable step-up options, but the pickings are pretty slim.

Whenever his next fight happens to be, Alaverdian will be ready because he trains year round. His walking around weight is between 117-120.  He usually does cardio work in the morning and boxing in the evening. David told Orr he loves to spar and travels around Las Vegas to find as much sparring as possible. In sparring, he has developed shoulder issues though. Alaverdian likes to switch stances and has experienced these shoulder issues in clinches to whichever his lead shoulder happens to be at a given time. "I stretch a lot and I do a lot of resistance band exercises," David said about how he has dealt with the shoulder problems, "and it  does help a lot."

In the short-term, David has planned a month-long vacation visiting friends and family back home in Israel. Then he'll come back to train in Nevada and hopefully make his U.S. debut when the calendar turns. David's long-term plans involve fighting in the 112, 115, and 118 pound divisions and acquiring a few world title belts along the way before his career is done.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Mor Oknin to Fight in December

Mor Oknin's second professional fight was originally scheduled for November 18 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. However, it has been postponed until December 11 and will take place in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Oknin's first fight was also in Mexico, in Sinaloa, north of Jalisco. He scored a first round stoppage victory when his opponent bowed out due to injury after Oknin had started to take control of the contest.

Oknin, who is from Israel, fights in the super flyweight division. Fellow Jewish boxer David Alaverdian, who has fought at flyweight and super flyweight, has also fought exclusively in Mexico. Mexico might seem like a strange choice for a couple of Jewish boxers from Israel. Though the first Jew to arrive in Mexico came 500 years ago (believed to be Hernando Alonso in 1521) there are only about 65,000-70,000 Jews currently living in Mexico. For reference, about twice the number of Jews live in Montgomery County, Maryland, U.S.A. than in all of Mexico.

Some American boxing writers and pundits look down on fights in Mexico, but that's unfair. In the United States, the commissions in California, Nevada, New York and Pennsylvania do a better job than others in regulating who can fight. Too many commissions in the U.S. are far too lax. Similarly, there are areas in Mexico where it's easy to build up a record and other places where the opponents are better qualified.

The truth is Mexico the place to go to fight in the 112 or 115 pound divisions. According to BoxRec, Mexico is home to the most fly and super flyweights by far. There are about 130 super flyweights and 140 flyweights in the country. That's more than 25% of all the 112 and 115 pounders in the world.

Japan (about 150 total) and the Philippines (70ish) also have a lot fighters in those two weight classes, but Mexico has more than both of them combined. BoxRec says their are 33 American super flyweights and just 23 flyweights. Believe it or not, there are only 43 fighters between 109 and 115 pounds in all of Europe! Even Thailand has more, 44 in total, in the two classes. So Mexico is the place to be for super fly and flyweights.

Fortunately, both Oknin and Alaverdian have had positive experiences in Mexico. Alaverdian told Mike Orr that the atmosphere at a fight in Mexico is awesome. "When they hear I'm from Israel, they're a bit surprised, but very cheerful." The crowd is happy when he wins and David poses for many pictures and signs many autographs after his fights there. "It's fun. I can't lie; it's pretty cool," he said of the experience. Oknin's appreciation for Mexican culture has grown since fighting there last time. He now has a deeper affinity for the language, the country's hip hop, and its boxers.

Oknin's bout is scheduled for four rounds. No opponent has yet been named.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Stefi Cohen Schedule Update

Dr. Stefanie Cohen seems to have two fights scheduled. On November 21, Cohen is slated to do battle at Pabellon de Esgrima in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Stefi is also scheduled to fight at Kursaal Arena in Berne, Switzerland on December 26.

Cohen is a native of Venezuela who is based in the United States. The 29 year old is 1-0-1 with one KO. Her first fight was also in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She won by way of third round TKO last June. Her second fight took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in September. Stefi showed an improved jab and good footwork on route to a majority draw.

A record-breaking powerlifter, Cohen is an entrepreneur, an author, and earned her doctorate in physical therapy and exercise physiology. She doesn't consider herself part of the influencer boxing fad. She takes boxing seriously, working tirelessly with respected trainer Dr. Pedro Diaz. Diaz helped trained the Cuban boxing team in four Olympics and the Dominican Republic team, in one. He currently coaches many quality professional fighters.

These days few boxers have two fights scheduled, so one or the other might be dropped. However, it could be good for Cohen's development to be in the ring more often than do most fighters in this era. She came late to the game but has shown impressive progress. The best way to become a better fighter is to fight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Sinakin Off November 27 Card

Light heavyweight "Bulldog" Benny Sinakin (6-1, 3 KOs) is off the November 27 card at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. He had originally been aiming to fight on September 17 but was rescheduled for the November date.

It has been a tough year for most of us but especially Benny. Sinakin, a 24 year old from Philadelphia, suffered his first career loss in his last fight. In April, the Jewish Bulldog dropped a majority decision to Afunwa King.

In the run-up to that fight, Benny acknowledged he faced numerous distractions. More significantly, one of his coaches, who had acted as a dear mentor to him, passed away over the summer.

Best wishes and much love to Benny.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Basin Stopped in the First

Nikita Basin took a huge step up in facing Joel "El Toro" McIntyre tonight at South Parade Pier in Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom. McIntyre, a former English light heavyweight titlist, was a veteran of 22 fights and 122 rounds heading into tonight's fight. Basin, by contrast, had acquired just six rounds of pro boxing experience in four bouts.

McIntyre spent little time in dispensing with his Israeli foe, who was a last-minute replacement. El Toro landed a huge right hand that stopped Basin thirty seconds into the contest.

This was a cruiserweight bout as the scales read 182 pounds for McIntyre and 181.3 for Basin at yesterday's weigh-in. This was the heaviest of Basin's career and the second heaviest of McIntyre's. Both were coming off of career-long layoffs. Basin hadn't fought in 21 months while McIntyre last fought three years ago.

Basin is now 4-1 with 4 KOs. McIntyre is 19-4 with 4 KOs.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Nikita Basin to Fight Joel McIntyre Saturday

Light heavyweight Nikita Basin is scheduled to fight Joel "El Toro" McIntyre on Saturday, October 23 at South Parade Pier in McIntyre's hometown of Portsmouth, England, United Kingdom. Basin is a late replacement for Lewis Van Poetsch. Coincidentally, Lewis has fought and fallen to two Jewish boxers, Danny Ahrens and Tony Milch.

Basin was born in Belarus and now lives in Israel. After a late start in the pro game, he is 4-0 with 4 KOs. Basin has fought a total of six professional rounds. All four of his fights took place between July 2019 and January 2020. He last fought in a professional boxing match 21 months ago. His opponents sported a combined 1-15 record when he faced them. McIntyre is a giant step up.

McIntyre's career can be spun in different ways. On the positive side, he is a former English light heavyweight champion with a 18-4 record. All of his losses have been at the hands of men who have held the English light heavyweight belt at some point in their careers. Two of them came against Miles Shinkwin and another to Liam Conroy. His other loss came in a funky tournament in which he dropped a three-round decision to Doc Spelman after dropping him in the second stanza.

McIntyre has virtually all of the advantages heading into this fight. At 33 years old, he's a bit younger than Basin. He has loads more pro more experience, has fought the better opposition, and he's fighting in his hometown.

On the negative side, McIntyre has only three wins against fighters with a winning record. In his second pro fight, he beat a 13-12 opponent on points. Another win came against Shinkwin, who he has lost to twice. And the other win came against a 7-2 foe in a three-round decision in that weird tournament.

McIntyre has only three KOs on his record; Basin has four. Despite having more experience, El Toro has been inactive longer. All of Basin's pro fights have come since McIntyre last entered the ring. After winning the English light heavyweight title against Shinkwin in 2016, the pinnacle of Joel's career thus far, Conroy stopped him in the second round of their fight the following year. McIntyre scored a momentum-changing knockdown in the second round of his fight with Spelman, but became overconfident and was knocked down himself in the same round before dropping the decision.

McIntyre had a shot to regain the vacant English title in 2018. His opponent, for the third time, was Miles Shinkwin. At the end of the ten-rounder, the judges declared Shinkin the winner. "I’ll be honest, I was fed up with boxing," McIntyre told The Portsmouth News about the loss.. "I didn’t put on a pair of gloves for about a year- didn’t hit anything for about a year- I was totally done with it."

Though McIntyre has only three KOs, he's not a light-hitting boxer. He'll mix it up. But he can be hurt. He's been knocked down and cut in several fights. Basin is a puncher and roughing up McIntyre on the inside and trading punches with him is probably his best chance for what would be a huge win for the Israeli.

Basin-McIntyre is slated for six rounds.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Chilemba to Face Silyagin in Russia

Isaac Chilemba is scheduled to face Pavel Silyagin on November 12 in Moscow, Russia. This fight was originally scheduled for October 15 and then it was pushed back to November 5. It has now been moved back another week. Chilemba is a veteran who has assumed the position of high-level gatekeeper while Silyagin is an experienced and decorated amateur whose eight pro fights have all come since the start of 2020.

Chilemba (26-7-3, 10 KOs), a 33 year old resident of South Africa who was born in Malawi, goes by the nickname "Golden Boy." He has fought almost all of the best light heavyweights of the past five years. In terms of defense, Chilemba is one of the best of his era in any weight class. His ability to slip punches in the pocket is unique. He almost never gets hit cleanly to the head.

Chilemba is a cerebral boxer with a keen ability to counter and a smart jab that keeps his foe off balance. He has two weaknesses, though. He doesn't always let his hands go enough, and he often fights in the opponent's home country. In February, Chilemba fought Fedor Chudinov in Russia and was stuck with a split draw. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 96-94 for Chilemba. It's not the first time Chilemba's record was scarred by a hometown decision and it likely won't be the last.

Silyagin (8-0, 4 KOs) is a 28 year old from Novosibirsk, which is in the middle of Russia. Pavel has a high boxing IQ and can use a variety of styles. His favorite seems to be that of a volume boxer, an unusual combination. He moves, plants, throws a combo, and moves to the side to plant and throw some more. But Silyagin can walk down an opponent as he did against Orkhan Gadzhiev, in a second round stoppage victory back in August 2020.

Against  the previously undefeated Azizbek Abdugofurov in March, Silyagin primarily jabbed and moved. He switched stances frequently as he does in most of his fights. He's not fluid, but uses his awkwardness to his advantage. Silyagin had been pretty easy to hit in many of his first seven fights. He dominated Omar Garcia, scoring a first round KO in January, but even Garcia landed effectively to the body and through the guard to the head. Siarhei Khamitski, a game but mostly defensive 46 year old, was another foe who was surprisingly able to make contact with his punches against Silyagin. In their fight last December, Pavel scored two knockdowns in the fourth, though, causing his elder to quit in the corner after the round.

But the Russian fought like lightning in his last fight, a clash with Abdallah Shaban Pazzy last May. The Tanzanian couldn't lay a glove on Silyagin while Silyagin moved in the pocket and kept punching. In the fourth, Pavel landed a left hook from the orthodox stance while retreating and scored a knockdown. He dominated the entire fight to earn a shutout on the scorecards. Though Tanzania borders Malawi, Shaban Pazzy and Chilemba are worlds apart in terms of ability.

Chilemba has had only one fight since Silyagin turned pro. While Silyagin has faced good competition for a boxer with eight prizefights, Chilemba has more fights against top opposition than Silyagin has total contests. Isaac has faced nine fighters with undefeated records and at least 10 wins. That doesn't include his two bouts with Tony Bellew or two others with Maxim Vlasov.

This won't be an easy fight for Isaac, but Chilemba represents a Tyson Fury-sized step up for Silyagin. Don't be surprised if it turns into a high-level chess match. This bout is for fans of the sweet science, the bloodthirsty be warned. Chilemba-Silyagin is scheduled for twelve rounds.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The Unknown Fighters

Ignorance might be bliss, but it makes for poor boxing analysis. Boxing fans, pundits, and so-called experts too often dismiss fighters because they don't know anything about them.

Olexandr Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion and pound-for-pound top ten fighter in the world, upset heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua on September 25. Before the fight, most felt Joshua would be too big for the Ukrainian and would trounce him on route to a mega-fight against Tyson Fury. Incidentally, I happened to think Usyk, a supremely skilled southpaw, would win on points but could see how other's felt Joshua would retain his belts.

After the fight, Josh Peter opined in USA Today, "Anthony Joshua, the British heavyweight boxer, is now a famous artist. A choke artist." Peter continued, "Who is Oleksandr Usyk, you ask? Exactly."

At 24-2 with 22 KOs, Anthony Joshua is an Olympic gold medalist and a two-time holder of multiple world title belts, hardly the resume of a "choke artist." If he never fights again, he's a top five heavyweight of his era.

To follow boxing and not know Usyk would be like following American politics and not know Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz. Besides becoming the legitimate world cruiserweight champion, the 19-0 Usyk is also an Olympic gold medalist.

If the bad takes on Usyk's win were primarily confined to one writer of a national newspaper, the bad takes on Mikey Garcia vs. Sandor Martin could fill bookshelves. The pontificators argued that since they had never heard of Sandor Martin, he must be terrible.

There are too many examples of the Sandor Martin phenomenon, so here are some Twitter comment threads littered with people exposing their own ignorance about boxing: Here's oneanother oneanother, and another. Ok, one more. In social media parlance, these people posted their Ls.

DAZN's own announcers categorized a Martin win as potentially being "the biggest upset of 2021." They described Martin, who is from Spain, as a "domestic fighter." Most American fans might not appreciate the distinction, but in reality Martin had been a European-level fighter for over five years, won the European super lightweight title two years ago, and has had two defenses since, one against a former European champ. It's like calling a hot baseball prospect in Triple A an "A" ball player.

I had seen Martin fight several times on DAZN, something the network's own announcers may not have done, and became frustrated with the lazy argument that Martin stunk because boxing fans hadn't heard of him.

Boxing fans, pundits, and experts often forget that fighters can improve. A smaller pundit based his assessment of Martin on a fight from four years ago. Needless to say, "Sandor Martin fights like a bulldog... Little power and limited skill," was way off the mark. 

Cletus Seldin has faced this type of critique since his loss to Yves Ulysse on December 16, 2017. HBO's blow-by-blow announcer declared, "I don't believe we'll see Cletus Seldin on HBO again," after the fight. That turned out to be true, but only because HBO canceled its boxing division within a year of his comment.

Seldin has improved since his lone career loss. Don't judge him based on a fight that took place four years ago. Last Saturday, William Silva spent the first three rounds outboxing Cletus, but the Hebrew Hammer showed impressive progression within the fight. He stopped chasing, wore down Silva, and set him up for two overhand rights to score a seventh round knockout.

We all want to see the best fights possible, but we shouldn't denigrate someone simply because we don't know who they are or what they will become. Manny Pacquiao was once an unknown before he became the most famous boxer in the world. He was once a one-handed fighter before he rounded out his game. Of course, few fighters turn into legends, but it's important to show respect to boxers putting their lives on the line for our entertainment.