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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.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

What is Triller?

Triller is a video-sharing app akin to Tik Tok that has recently tried its hand at boxing promotion. When it first burst onto the boxing scene, it appeared a welcomed addition to fans and fighters alike. But, as Saturday's event featuring Cletus Seldin and Super Cat shows, its foray into the fight game is at a crossroads.

After promoting an exhibition match between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones last November, the company made headlines when it won a purse bid to promote a sanctioned fight between Teofimo Lopez and his mandatory challenger George Kambosos. They threw money at the fighters, a good thing for boxing. The fight was scheduled for June 19 and the estimable Jim Lampley was brought back from retirement to call the blow-by-blow action. Triller looked like the real deal.

Lopez contracted covid-19 the week of the fight and the promotion was postponed until August. And then to October 4. And then to October 16. And then Triller lost Lopez-Kambosos and its million dollar deposit. In the meantime, Triller promoted Oscar De La Hoya's comeback fight against Vitor Belfort. But, he also contracted covid-19 in the run-up and was replaced by the Real Deal, Evander Holyfield.

Holyfield, 58 years old, should not have been allowed to fight on September 11, 2021. Belfort, a 43 year old MMA fighter, dominated the retired champ in a match that lasted under three minutes. The presence of former President Donald Trump, who hosted the event with his son, was just another peculiarity of the circus.

Last Saturday's show was a bizarre mix of elements. The headliner on the boxing side was Cletus Seldin, who brought along his "Hamma Heads." Seldin describes himself as a throwback fighter. He is a link to an era when ethnic rivalries fueled the sport. He appeals to Long Islanders, Jews, and Long Island Jews.

The announcers, with the exception of respect-worthy boxer Gabe Rosado, were like a 58 year old Evander Holyfield entering a boxing ring with gloves wrapped around his hands, a total disaster. Ray Flores is a decent blow-by-blow announcer on Fox. He sometimes tightropes along the upper regions of his vocabulary and he can be a bit wordy, but he seems to know and enjoy boxing. His performance on Triller was just embarrassing.

His cursing was unprofessional and forced. At various times, he claimed he needed to "smoke a J" to calm down or grab a drink because it was all too exciting. And he practically begged the audience to believe we were watching four consecutive Hagler-Hearns reincarnations. An important point for new promotional companies: When your announcers have to constantly convince the audience how good your product is, maybe it's not that good. Let your product do the promoting.

Flores also made the unpardonable sin of chronicling the great history of Jewish boxers by recalling, "Dmitriy Salita, Yuri Foreman, and Max Baer." Much love to Dmitriy and Yuri, but if you asked them, they'd certainly start the conversation with Benny Leonard and Barney Ross. Baer's relationship to Judaism is, well, complicated.

Flores's partner, "Crimefaces," performed the age old routine of the huckster: say nothing forcefully enough that it sounds like something. In a thick Brooklyn accent, Crimefaces didn't add to the discussion in the least. The unofficial judge, Sean Wheelock, screams about how many judging trainings he's attended and then misses badly with his assessments. In a hard to believe score, he had Seldin winning the first four rounds and losing the fifth on Saturday night. The JBB disagreed with his scoring on four of those five rounds.

The announcing was theoretically designed to appeal to younger male viewers, the coveted 18-29 demographic. Awkward cursing, a Brooklyn accent, and a loud but incompetent unofficial judge is probably not the best strategy.

After boxing came a concert featuring 58 year old reggae star Super Cat and 52 year old hip hop emcee Wyclef Jean, because there's no better way to attract Long Island Jews or 18-29 year old males than Super Cat and Wyclef. The following evening's part of the two-night Triller bonanza featured a rap battle between legendary emcees Big Daddy Kane and KRS-ONE, who began their hip hop careers in the 1980s. And while Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, good marketing sense, apparently, doesn't.

It all begs the question: What is Triller? And to whom does it appeal? The editor of The JBB is a Jew, a boxing aficionado, and a fan of those hip hop pioneers, but I finished watching Saturday night disgusted by the embarrassing announcers (again, except for Rosado, who was a bright light in the abyss). As a boxing promoter, it's safe to say, Triller has yet to figure it out.

"It looks so easy," Bob Arum, who has promoted fights for over fifty years, recently told Elie Seckbach. "You put up the money, you pay the fighters, it's a ring. It's not rocket science. And yet, unless you know what you're doing and you're very careful, you're going to blow your brains out."

Perhaps someone should take away Triller's gun before it's too late.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Seldin Scores Stoppage in Seventh after Slow Start

Cletus "Hebrew Hammer" Seldin knocked out William "Baby Face" Silva in the seventh round of their fight tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Seldin struggled to catch Silva in the first three rounds before he turned the fight in his favor in the fourth.

After a slow feel-out first round, the taller Silva used his five-inch reach advantage to great effect. Silva spent much of the opening round running for two reasons. He wanted to avoid eating an early overhand right while he was still a bit cold, and he wanted to see how Cletus would react to his movement. Seldin chased in the first, failing to cut off the ring.

Silva's movement in the next round had a different purpose. Having evaluated Seldin's attack in the first, Silva lured him in during the second. Seldin came straight in, which allowed Silva to pick off the Hammer as he charged forward. Silva then smoothly turned out of harm's way and reeled in Cletus once again. That second stanza must have given the "Hamma Heads," Seldin's rowdy followers, nightmarish flashbacks to his fight with Yves Ulysse in 2017. In that contest, Ulysse outboxed Cletus, scoring three knockdowns while Seldin chased in vain, becoming increasingly frustrated.

The third round wasn't much better for Cletus. Silva's feet slowed just a bit, but Seldin was still out of range. The Brazilian punctuated his boxing clinic with a hard right hand at the end of the third.

The situation looked dire for the New Yorker heading into the fourth. Silva started the round by lifting up Seldin, showing his dominance. It turned out to be his last gasp. Cletus, in his customary purple trunks with silver trim, decided to absorb a few punches for the opportunity to get inside and maul Silva. It worked and by the end of the three minutes, Seldin had smashed Silva with two hard straight rights. He had finally found his range.

Most of the fifth was sandwiched between two Seldin Specials- the overhand right. Silva still connected as Cletus came towards him, but those shots were like a cool breeze; Seldin surely felt them, but they didn't change his plans.

In the sixth, Cletus Seldin showed an ability to adjust on the fly that few felt he possessed. His objective for much of the round was just to touch Silva. Stick a jab in his face. Let him know he could be reached with the right. Seldin had switched southpaw a couple of times already, but in the sixth the switch seemed to throw Silva off his game. After the ten second warning, Cletus unleashed a right that wobbled Silva. It was a masterful display that set up what was to come.

The bell rang to open what would be the fateful round. Seldin jabbed, and then landed his signature punch. The overhand right crunched Silva's face. William's eyes rolled backwards. But he hadn't yet fallen, so Cletus launched another rocket. This one ended the night. Silva laid on the canvas with no hope of beating the count. Twenty four seconds into the seventh, the 35 year old Seldin achieved perhaps the biggest win of his career.

"I wanted to wreck everything, but I had to be patient," Cletus acknowledged after the fight, his first in nearly twenty months. His 26th win and 22nd KO against one defeat were for his late Uncle Frankie who passed not long before the fight. Silva tumbles to 28-4 with 16 KOs.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Cletus Seldin Makes Weight

Junior welterweight Cletus Seldin made weight ahead of his clash tomorrow against William Silva at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Seldin came in at 139.4 pounds. Silva weighed in at 139. Those weights are par for the course for both men compared to their recent fights.

Seldin, nicknamed the “Hebrew Hammer,” was an athlete in high school but didn’t start boxing until he was 22 years old. While makes the rounds with the media in the build up to this fight, Seldin often told a hilarious story about walking into a boxing gym for the first time.

It was a tough gym, and Cletus noticed a bucket of used mouthpieces. He thought to himself, “What is going on here?” Then he saw guys reaching in and just grabbing a random mouthpiece, sliding it in, and biting down. “It was wild!” Cletus recalled.

Silva, a 34 year old native of Brazil, holds a significant height advantage over the 35 year old New Yorker. But Seldin is much stronger. Here is The JBB’s preview of the scheduled ten round affair. The fight will be shown on Fite TV and promoted by Triller.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Alaverdian Earns Stoppage Victory

Flyweight David Alaverdian earned a stoppage victory tonight over Jesús "Gallito" Bojorquez at Auditorio Benito Juárez in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Alaverdian landed a body shot that floored Bojorquez in the second round.

David showcased his footwork and ability to create angles. In the second, Bojorquez missed a wild swinging right, and Alaverdian landed a right uppercut counter from the orthodox stance. A few seconds later, Alaverdian pushed Bojorquez to the ropes, switched to southpaw, and landed a left to the body that generated an audible groan from the crowd as Gallito plummeted to the canvas. Bojorquez rose before the count of ten, but the referee waved off the bout. Alaverdian is now 5-0 with 4 KOs. Bojorquez falls to 0-2-1 and has been stopped twice.

Most prospects are fighting either professional novices or journeymen in their fifth and sixth professional fights. At 28 years old and with his advanced skill level, Alaverdian wants to move up the ranks at a faster pace. All five of his fights have been in Mexico, but he hopes to fight in the U.S.

It’s complicated, though.

"People don't want to fight me because of my amateur experience," David told The Jewish Boxing Blog. Not only are potential opponents intimidated by the Israeli's amateur success, but his Instagram account, filled with impressive clips of him working with Floyd Mayweather Sr. and schooling amateur foes, might frighten them further.

Other 112-115 pounders, worried about the risk Alaverdian presents, price themselves out. “They want money that no one will give them,” David explains.

Covid-related restrictions on travel to the U.S. have limited the pool of prospective opponents. According to BoxRec, there are only a combined total of 50 American boxers in the flyweight and super flyweight divisions. In Mexico, the number is five times higher, so it’s much easier to find an opponent at the lighter weights there.

Though Alaverdian craves tougher opponents, he may need to be patient. Even Manny Pacquiao, a 15-1 flyweight in 1996, fought a fighter with a record of 1-2-1. Pacquiao won by way of second round stoppage.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Alaverdian Makes Weight

David Alaverdian made the flyweight limit heading into his fifth professional battle tomorrow at Auditorio Benito Juárez in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Alaverdian's opponent will be Jesús "Gallito" Bojorquez.

Alaverdian (4-0, 3 KOs) flew on a private plane to Los Mochis earlier today. The U.S.-based Israeli is coming in the lightest of his pro career. He has been working with legendary trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. Check out a JBB profile of David here.

Bojorquez (0-1-1) is likely overmatched in this bout against Alaverdian. "Gallito" is from Guasave, which is less than an hour's drive from Auditorio Benito Juárez and is also located in Sinaloa. For his two fights, he has weighed in around the light flyweight limit of 108 pounds. In his debut, he drew with another debutant. That fight took place in April. He was stopped in the second round of his last bout which took place in June.

Alaverdian and Bojorquez both weighed in at 112 pounds. This fight is scheduled for four rounds. The card will be shown on UFC Fight Pass.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Review of Holocaust Fighters

Holocaust Fighters: Boxers, Resisters, and Avengers
By Jeffrey Sussman
Rowman & Littlefield, 2021

Holocaust Fighters smashes the myth that Jews were simply lambs led to the slaughter. Jews fought the Nazis before, during, and after the war. Not only did boxers such as Victor "Young" Perez, Nathan Shapow, and Harry Haft achieve some retribution, but so did non-boxers like those who joined Nakam and plotted to poison high-ranking Nazi POWs.

The theme of the book, however, is primarily the Holocaust. Fighting is a secondary topic. Each chapter is its own vignette, sometimes loosely connected to the rest of the book. The first chapter explores Hitler's obsession with boxing as an arena to showcase Aryan superiority. The next is a general overview of high-profile Nazis. Then there are five chapters each profiling a different boxer associated with the Holocaust. The boxers include Perez, Shapow, Haft, Salamo Arouch, and Johann Trollmann. The rest of the book is a mishmash of topics ranging from escapees of concentration camps, to revenge-seeking survivors, from the Nuremburg trails, to an overly positive take on Max Schmeling (a counterpoint here) and an extended appearance from, oddly, Wladimir Klitschko.

It all makes for an ambitious book that probably should have been more focused. Other Holocaust-related boxers are mentioned and could have been featured in their own chapters. Biographies of Benjamin "Kid" Perez (Victor's brother), Leone Efrati, Eric Seelig, Kid Francis, and Jacko Razon (to name a few) would have fit better than the Nuremburg trials or Klitschko.

With various chapters attempting to achieve different goals, the writing is naturally a bit uneven. There are flashes of brilliance and many spots where the narrative flows well. But those moments are eventually broken up by brief bouts of wordy sentences or needlessly repetitive phrases. Overall though, the prose is solid enough.
Within the narrative, Sussman describes the fate of each Nazi perpetrator, a welcome bit of research that places the Holocaust in a larger context. Providing the larger context in which the people chronicled here lived is a strength of the book. The tortuous lives the boxers were forced to endure in the camps during the Shoah is on heartbreaking display.

The thesis of the book is, "The men who created the hellish conditions in the Nazi concentration camps... were individuals of pure evil." And thus, fighting back against the Nazis is justified. While there is no issue with the second part, to consider the Nazis as pure evil strips them of their agency, their free will. They weren't born evil monsters, they were humans who chose to commit those evil actions. We all have a spark of evil and a spark of good within us, and it is up to us to make the right choice.

The prime exception to the good/evil dichotomy presented in the book comes in the form of a letter written to Harry Haft by his son Alan. It is a gut-wrenchingly beautiful missive to his late father showing the moral ambiguity of the Holocaust and the importance of understanding the horrors its victims faced.

Jeffrey Sussman's Holocaust Fighters comes at an important time. Knowledge of the Holocaust is fading as the years pass. A 2020 Pew Research poll found that fewer than half of Americans know that approximately six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust or that Adolph Hitler rose to power through democratic means. This book is for those who need to improve their knowledge of the Holocaust. Jewish boxing fans will appreciate it as an introduction to Holocaust boxers. Just be sure to skip the chapter on German boxing; it misses the mark.

More Holocaust boxing sources:
Harry Haft
A Boxer's Story
Triumph of the Spirit

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Alaverdian to Fight on Thursday

Super flyweight David Alaverdian is scheduled to fight this coming Thursday, October 14. The contest will take place at Auditorio Benito Juarez in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Alaverdian is 4-0 with 3 KOs. All of his fights have taken place in Mexico.

Alaverdian is an Israeli-born, U.S.-based 28 year old. A slick boxer, David can switch stances to throw off his opponent's rhythm. Recently, he has begun working with the legendary trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr.

"I feel blessed. To be honest I never thought such thing can happen to me in my wildest dreams," says Alaverdian about getting the opportunity to train with Mayweather.

The up-and-comer started boxing at about seven years of age. He inherited his mom's genetics, and so his dad worried David would be bullied because of his small stature. As a result, his dad forced David to take up boxing. "I was quitting on and off all the time," David remembers. "I didn't like boxing because I was forced to do it."

At eighteen years old, just before his induction into mandatory military service in Israel, David fell in love with the sport and began to take it seriously. He was talented but eventually became disillusioned with the corruption in amateur boxing.

Alaverdian debuted as a pro in December 2019. Though he has faced limited competition during his nearly two-year pro career, he has shown improvement. David understands where he has grown as a boxer." I think I got a little bit tougher," he reveals.

"I stopped jumping a lot. In the amateurs, the boxers they jump to throw punches. In the professionals it takes too much energy because there's way more rounds," David explains.

He last fought on May 7, a third round TKO victory in Hermasillo, Sonora, Mexico. No opponent has yet been named for Thursday's bout.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Seldin to Fight Silva on October 16

According to multiple sources, Cletus Seldin is scheduled to fight William Silva at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, USA on October 16. This bout replaces the long-delayed Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos clash that has been plagued by countless date changes. Seldon-Silva is a competitive matchup on paper.

Cletus Seldin, a 35 year old New Yorker, sports an impressive 25-1 record with 21 KOs. When the 16th rolls around, it will be nearly 20 months since the "Hebrew Hammer" last entered the ring. Seldin had a fight scheduled last month, but it was canceled the previous day when his opponent Victor Vazquez failed the physical.

William Silva (28-3, 16 KOs) is a 34 year old from Sao Paolo, Brazil. Silva lacks a signature win, but his three losses all came against world class competition. In 2016, Felix Verdejo won a wide unanimous decision over Silva utilizing his superior hand speed. Verdejo, a 2012 Olympians with a bright future, has since lost twice as the A-side and now stands accused of murdering his pregnant mistress.

Things are going better for Silva's next conqueror. The aforementioned Teofimo Lopez is an undefeated top ten pound-for-pound fighter and the Transnational Boxing Rankings champion at lightweight. In 2018, Lopez battered the tough Silva for six rounds flooring him three times. In 2019, Arnold Barboza put Silva down for the count with a right to the body in the fifth. The Transnational Boxing Rankings lists Barboza as the number five challenger at junior welterweight.

Silva's best win might be against Fernando Ferreira da Silva whose claim to fame is he fell to a young Jeff Horn. William has beaten other guys with good records, but they were on the road to the becoming journeymen. The "Baby Face" Brazilian is 22-0 in his home country and 6-3 in the U.S. and its territories.

Silva prefers to box. He's a good counterpuncher and a quality punch-picker. But as most fighters who counter and pick their punches well, the Brazilian doesn't throw too many combinations. Seldon's lone loss was to Yves Ulysse, a skilled boxer., but Silva doesn't move nearly as well as the Canadian Ulysse, and the Brazilian's hand speed is slow for world level. Silva is tough, but he can be hit and he will go down as the fights against Lopez and Barboza showed. Cletus is a puncher. His best attribute as a fighter is his concussive overhand right.

At 6'1", Silva is tall for the 140 pound weight class, but he'll the smaller man in this fight. Silva has fought most of his career as a lightweight while the 5'8" Seldon started as a welterweight. Seldon and Silva share two common opponents.  In 2015, Silva KOed Bayan Jargal in the third round and Adam Mate in the fifth; Seldon fought Jargal twice in 2014. An accidental butt caused a no contest and then Seldon won the rematch by TKO in the ninth. Seldon stopped Mate 48 seconds into their fight in 2019.

This junior welterweight contest is slated for ten rounds.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Cohen to Fight December 26

Dr. Stefanie Cohen announced that she is scheduled to fight next on December 26 in Switzerland. Ironically, in many Christian countries, December 26 is called Boxing Day.

Fighting at featherweight, Cohen is 1-0-1 with one KO thus far in her pro career. In her first fight, she stopped Haidde Zapa in the third round of their June 4 bout held in the Dominican Republic. Cohen was the aggressor in her debut. On September 18, Stefi fought Marcela Nieto to a majority draw in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cohen showed much improved footwork and a quick jab in that fight.

A doctor of physical therapy and exercise physiologist, Cohen is a record-breaking powerlifter and a social media influencer who is serious about her new sport. Though she has used social media to build up her business, Hybrid Performance Method, Stefi doesn't want to be included in the new genre of influencer boxing.

"I am an influencer who also boxes," the U.S.-based native of Venezuela said in a recent interview with iFL TV. "I've always been an athlete first."

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Ostroumov Suffers Major Knee Injury

Southpaw super middleweight Mikhael Ostroumov recently disclosed that he suffered a severe knee injury in a post on Instagram. The injury will keep him out of action for a significant but undisclosed amount of time.

Ostroumov is 3-0-1 with one KO as a pro. He made his debut on June 27, 2020 and earned a TKO victory over a 40-fight veteran. His lone draw came in his second fight against a 5-0 opponent, Ravshan Ergashev. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout in favor of Ostroumov.

His next fight ended in a convincing victory over Vasily Shytck, a  tough opponent despite his mediocre record. Ostroumov last fought on December 10 against a weaker foe.

As the lines between amateur and professional boxing become increasingly blurred, Mikhael participated in the Israeli national amateur championships this past August. He dominated his semifinal match but dropped the final by decision to Yan Zak. Ostroumov's heaviest weight as a pro has been 168.75 pounds. In August, he fought in the 86 KG division in the amateur tournament, which is over twenty pounds heavier.

When Ostroumov recovers, and after a couple tune-up fights, a matchup against undefeated prospect Stephane Fondjo would be a good one. Fondjo (6-0, 5 KOs) is from Cameroon and based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Despite his impressive record, Fondjo's people probably won't want any part of a healthy Ostroumov. Fondjo has been in with soft touches thus far. One opponent was so green he spent much of the brief fight crouching with his hands over his head, not a defensive technique typically used in the sweet science. Predictably, Fondjo won that "fight" by KO. But if Fondjo's management has the courage, a bout against Ostroumov would be a good test for their man.

While Ostroumov recovers, catch up on his career by viewing video and reading The Jewish Boxing Blog's coverage of his fights...

Mikhael Ostroumov's pro fight videos and coverage:

Fight 1- June 27, 2020 vs. Karen Avetisyan [JBB article]
Fight 2- September 4, 2020 vs. Ravshan Ergashev [JBB article]
Fight 3- October 30, 2020 vs. Vasily Shtyk [JBB article]
Fight 4- December 10, 2020 vs Evgenii Tershukov [JBB article]