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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Chilemba Outworked by Osleys Iglesias

Isaac Chilemba lost by unanimous decision to Osleys Iglesias at Hala Globus in Lublin, Poland tonight. Chilemba boxed well, but the combination punching of the Cuban prospect carried the fight.

Iglesias, a 24 year old amateur standout based in Germany, attacked from the opening bell. Though a southpaw, he wisely used his jab early against Chilemba, a righty. The 34 year old South African-based man from Malawi spent too much time on the ropes and in the corner where Iglesias unleashed hard combinations. The two wore Paffen Sport gloves, which are usually known as punchers' gloves, benefitting the Cuban with perfect knockout record.

Chilemba boxed better in the second, which set the tone for the rest of the fight. Offensively, the "Golden Boy" wearing the golden trunks conjured up creative counters and potshots, but Iglesias's right hook-straight left combos negated all of Chilemba's efforts. Isaac's defense was slippery and shrewd. He used the shoulder roll, ducked, and slipped the Cuban's shots. But one of the best ways to combat slick defense is to throw several punches at a time with the intent of landing only one or two. Iglesias did this frequently while Isaac was far more judicious in his punch selection. Osleys's punches flowed effortlessly; Isaac's were intricately planned forays of brilliance.

The fight was similar to a U.S. presidential election. Republicans win many more counties, but there are fewer people in those counties. Chilemba's ability to keep the fight at his preferred distance allowed him to have more winning moments within each round, but his margins were slim. Democrats win far fewer counties, but they have many more people in them. Iglesias was often missing or getting countered, but when he trapped Chilemba on the ropes or in the corner, he did damage and connected with the much harder shots to carry the rounds.

After winning the first five rounds, Iglesias wobbled Chilemba on his way to a monster sixth. After Chilemba was hurt, he fired back with a nasty right to the body, but Iglesias then smacked him with a right hook-straight left combo and later a counter left.

The seventh was slower, but Chilemba just didn't throw enough punches. He won the eighth, though. His best strategy was to turn the contest into a cerebral chess match at range. He countered especially well in the round and the right to the body proved to be a good punch for him all fight. Iglesias even went down in the round, although it was from a slip that caused him to do an acrobatic backwards somersault.

Chilemba maintained the momentum with his smart brand of boxing in the ninth for the first two minutes. He then ducked, Iglesias threw a right hook which connected with the back of Chilemba's head, and he went down in a daze. It was scored a knockdown. He didn't complain.

By the end of the ninth, Chilemba resorted to covering up on the ropes counting the seconds down. His left eye swelled, and he appeared on his way out. Chilemba has only been stopped once in 38 bouts and that was due to an injury against the future legitimate light heavyweight world champion, Olexandr Gvozdyk. In this one, Chilemba showed the guile and heart he has had his entire career. He made Iglesias miss and landed a nice counter left hook and a hard 1-2 combo to take tenth.

Iglesias had only fought in parts of seven rounds during his first five pro fights, so he coasted in the championship rounds. Despite his great defense, Chilemba had absorbed a lot of Paffen Sport leather due to Iglesias's impressive work-rate in the earlier rounds. When the final bell sounded, Isaac looked dejected. Iglesias raised his hands in triumph. He had passed a graduate level course in boxing.

The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 118-109 for Iglesias. Polish boxing has had issues with integrity as seen in the Igor Lazarev-Dominik Harwankowski fight in March, but there was no way to mess up this decision... until one score was announced as 148-108! When the real scores were revealed, they looked more appropriate: 120-107 (from the Polish judge), and two cards of 118-109 (from the Danish and Italian judges).

The post-fight interview featured the rare double translation. The questions in Polish were then translated by the interviewer into English for Iglesias's wife who asked her husband in Spanish, and the process was then reversed in a game of multi-lingual "telephone." Iglesias is now 6-0 with 5 KOs. Chilemba, who briefly retired from boxing after his last fight, is now 26-9-3 with 10 KOs. If this is it for Isaac, he's had an amazing career.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Controversial Split Decision Goes Against Alaverdian

The judges sided with David Alaverdian's opponent, Dmytro Zamotaev, who was awarded a split decision victory today in the quarterfinals of the flyweight tournament at the European amateur championships in Yerevan, Armenia. Improbably, two judges scored the close bout a shutout for Zamotaev.

Alaverdian, a 28 year old representing Israel, is 6-0 with 5 KOs as a professional. Against the 27 year old Zamotaev, who represented Ukraine, Alaverdian pressed forward for much of the fight. Zamataev was awkward and it took some time for Alaverdian to find his groove. Zamataev fought well on the inside early including some nice right uppercuts. He dictated when the two would exchange during the first half of the opening round.

A U.S.-based Israeli of Armenian heritage, Alaverdian shifted the momentum with a sustained body assault and closed the round strong. Three judges scored the first for the Ukrainian while two gave the Israeli the nod. It was a close round.

Alaverdian is known to switch stances often, but he mostly fought from the orthodox stance in this fight. Zamotaev actually started the second as a southpaw. Alaverdian attacked Zamotaev's body like a pitbull on a steak. David slipped and countered effectively despite the Ukrainian's unpredictable upper body movement. Zamotaev finished the round strong with two solid counter rights. On the whole, it was another close one, but the judges all gave Dmytro the round.

Knowing he had a virtually insurmountable advantage, Zamotaev spent most the third running and clinching. He engaged in spots, but Alaverdian did almost all of the good work. He landed a big left early, a combination to the body, and many left hooks to the midsection. At times, Zamotaev caught David as the Israeli pressed forward, and Zamotaev landed a couple of sneaky counter rights, but it was clear the Ukrainian just wanted to run out the clock.

Inconceivably, two judges gave Zamotaev the third. Jose Juan Romero Hernandez of Spain and Johany Maden of France exposed themselves as either incompetent or corrupt by giving the final period to Zamotaev. Zamotaev will now face a fighter from Spain in the medal round, so it's possible the Spanish judge scored the bout for the man he perceived to be weaker. Yesterday, Maden was one of two judges who scored the second round of Israeli Miroslav Kapuler Ishchenko's fight for the opponent, which was horrible. Maden should be removed as a judge from the tournament.

The judges from Bosnia and Romania gave David the first and third rounds while the judge from Sweden only gave David the third. Those scores are within reason. As a result, David lost the bout  by split decision, 3-2.

After the fight, David Alaverdian announced his retirement from amateur boxing due to its corruption. He will focus on his professional career, which is a wise decision. His style is more suited for the pro game anyway.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Chilemba and Iglesias Make Weight

Isaac Chilemba and Osleys Iglesias both made the 168 pound super middleweight limit ahead of their clash at Hala Globus in Lublin, Poland tomorrow. The 33 year old Chilemba, a native of Malawi who is now based in South Africa, comes in with a wealth of experience at the pro level. Iglesias, a 24 year old Cuban based in Germany, is a hot prospect.

Chilemba (23-8-3, 10 KOs) came in at the 168 pound limit today after missing weight for his last fight. Against Pavel Silyagin in November, Chilemba missed the super middleweight limit by three pounds. He told Mphatso Malidadi of The Times Malawi, “Last time I had personal issues that disturbed everything." It also must be noted that the fight was postponed several times by a week here, two weeks there, which could have contributed to his missing weight.

This is only the second time in twelve years Chilemba has made the super middleweight limit. He made it against Fedor Chudinov last year. For the most part, Isaac has fought in the light heavyweight division over the last decade. In 2019, he came in at 188.3 for a fight against the slightly heavier Alexander Kubich. That is over ten pounds heavier than Chilemba has weighed for any other fight and was clearly an anomaly.

Iglesias (5-0, 5 KOs) weighed in at 167.5 pounds. His lightest has been 166.5 for his second pro fight and his heaviest was 172 for his debut.

This bout is for a couple of minor trinkets and is scheduled for twelve rounds. Click here for The JBB's preview of the fight.

Miroslav Kapuler Drops Controversial Split Decision

Miroslav Kapuler Ishchenko lost a controversial split decision to Salvatore Cavallaro today at the 2022 European amateur championships in Yerevan, Armenia. Though the ultimate decision was not an outrageous travesty, the bout was marred by two of the judges.

Kapuler, a 25 year old representing Israel, came out of the red corner in ring A pressing forward, but the southpaw quickly reverted to fighting off the backfoot. Cavallaro, a 20 year old from Italy, was effective in close. Kapuler's timing and balance seemed just a bit off. At one point he lunged forward with a 1-2 that came up short and Cavallaro capitalized. Kapuler had his moments in the round, including a counter left early, but three judges gave what was a close round to the Italian because of  some nice body work.

The second was a bit messy early, but Kapuler fell into a rhythm and controlled the round. The Israeli landed many counter right hooks and counter lefts. He moved well so that Cavallaro couldn't return fire. Halfway through the round, Cavallaro was visibly frustrated. He threw down his arms and shook them; they were stiffening up because Miroslav was not allowing him to release his punches. Kapuler landed a beautiful left and got out as the round waned. He slipped when the Italian tried to throw. It was a great round for the Israeli.

Amazingly, two judges scored the second for Cavallaro. At best, Johany Maden of France and Maciej Robert Dziurgot of Poland are incompetent at judging boxing matches, but at worst, a few extra Euros helped them determined their scores, which were baffling.

The third was a competitive round because Cavallaro intelligently began to shoot rights to Kapuler's chest since the southpaw proved too slick to fall victim to head shots. Later in the round, the Italian landed the right uppercut, another smart choice since Miroslav leaned forward at times. But Kapuler connected with some good lefts from the outside. He landed plenty of jabs, a left to the body, and a big left over the top. He punctuated the fight with an eye-catching combo and seemed to do enough to win the round and the fight. Four judges gave him the third.

But the only judge he needed sided with the Italian. The judge from Czechia agreed with his colleagues from France and Poland, giving Cavallaro a 29-28 victory although in a more reasonable manner than the other two. Antonin Gaspar only gave Kapuler the second while, curiously, Maden and Dziurgot only gave him the third. Judges Geir Dahlen of Norway and Recep Itmez of Turkey both had it 30-27 for Kapuler. Cavallaro moves on to the quarterfinals in a very unsatisfying decision thanks to Maden's and Dziurgot's scoring of the second round.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

David Alaverdian Dominates in Preliminaries of Euro Championships

David Alaverdian, a 6-0 pro boxer, dominated his preliminary bout today in Yerevan, Armenia against Akritidis Panagiotis of Greece. Alaverdian used slick defense, set effective traps, and ravaged the body to earn a wide victory.

Representing Israel, Alaverdian fought out of the blue corner. Per amateur boxing rules, David was forced to shave his facial hair which made the 28 year old look like a Bar Mitzvah boy (I can relate).  While not sporting the most intimidating look, he held a slight height advantage over the 24 year old man from Greece.

There were two matches going on simultaneously in the room. Alaverdian, who fought in ring A, began the opening round pumping his jab as the public address announcer introduced the combatants for ring B. Bells designed for ring B rang in the middle of the rounds. Despite the aural chaos, Alaverdian switched to southpaw and threw a couple of lead lefts from the outside. He switched back and smacked a left hook to Panagiotis's body, which caused him to wince in a mixture of pain and frustration. He then knew he was in trouble.

Alaverdian bounced at the end of the first, which is usually considered a bad habit because boxers must set their feet to land a hard punch, so when boxers bounce, they basically announce to the opponent when a punch is coming. It's not something David does normally, and he soon stopped. To start the second, Alaverdian loaded up with big rights that Panagiotis was able to avoid, another habit David rarely does. Panagiotis had his best moments to open the second round by getting in close and throwing pitty pat punches that touched the Israeli.

Alaverdian quickly got back on his jab as a righty, and the fight opened up for him. He found a short counter right over the top when Panagiotis was in close trying to pitty pat and that effectively ended Panagiotis's offense. Alaverdian was money from either stance with hooks and body shots. At one point in the second, he was trapped in the corner, but Panagiotis could do no damage.

After the round, coach Pavlo Ishchenko, a 2012 Olympian and former pro Jewish boxer, snapped a towel in front of David to give him some air as Pavlo gave his charge instructions. Alaverdian convincingly grabbed the third round with a beautiful stick-and-move style. He occasionally set himself and landed some hard left hooks as a righty. At one point, he shoe-shined to distract Panagiotis and then smacked him with a left hook to the midsection. The only problem in the round was when David received a stern warning for lowering his head, which is an amateur rule referees are apparently told to enforce as if their lives depend on it.

All five judges gave Alaverdian a shutout victory. The judges from Kazakhstan and Czechia scored it 30-27, and the judges from England, Algeria, and Lithuania had it 30-26. The English judged gave Alaverdian a 10-8 round in the second and the other two scored the final period 10-8. It should be noted, the judges and the referee did an excellent job.

In the quarterfinals, Alaverdian is scheduled to fight Dmytro Zamotaev of Ukraine on Friday, May 27 during the afternoon session. Zamotaev is a frenetic fighter who knocked out his German opponent's mouthpiece three times on route to a third round amateur-style stoppage, as the opponent was not really hurt.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Two Pro Jewish Boxers Competing at European Amateurs

David Alaverdian and Miroslav Kapuler are professional boxers representing Israel at the 2022 European amateur championships, which begin today in Yerevan, Armenia. Professionals have been allowed to take part in major amateur competitions for the past few years. This event is particularly meaningful to Alaverdian whose father is Armenian.

David is seeded fourth in the flyweight tournament. The U.S.-based Israeli is 6-0 with 5 KOs as a pro. The 28 year old's style is more suited for the pro game because of his power and his body attack. Alaverdian faces Akritidis Panagiotis of Greece on May 25 in the afternoon session. The man from Greece does not seem to have much experience at big tournaments. In a previous meet, he fought at bantamweight and his first and last names were reversed as they are on BoxRec.

Lurking on David's side of the bracket is the favorite, Artur Hovhannisyan, who owns the number one seed. Hovhannisyan, who is from Armenia, competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics and won gold at the 2019 European championships, but the 26 year old earned these accolades at light flyweight.

Miroslav, 25 years old, has alternately fought with the surnames Kapuler and Ishchenko. For this competition, he's listed as "Miroslav Kapuler Ishckenko." He is 3-0 as a pro, but his style is more suited for the amateur ranks than Alaverdian's. A slick, intelligent boxer, Kapuler is willing to simply touch his opponent to score points. Though he still has more of an amateur style, he has thus far been very impressive during his young pro career.

Kapuler is the fifth seed and earned a bye in first round of the junior middleweight tournament. On May 26 during the evening session he's scheduled to face the winner of the fight between Scotland's Stephen Newns and Italy's Salvatore Cavallaro. In this division, Yurii Zakharieiev from Ukraine is the favorite. The 19 year old won gold at the 2021 World Championships and holds the number one seed.

The International Boxing Association (IBA, formerly AIBA) was suspended from running the boxing tournament at last year's Tokyo Olympics due to repeated acts of corruption. These European championships fall under the umbrella of the IBA, however.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ray Miller's Left Hook

"If you fight a good left hooker, sooner or later he will knock you on your deletion. He will get the left out where you can't see it, and in it comes like a brick," Ernest Hemingway once theorized.

Ray Miller wasn't a good left hooker; he threw a great left hook. In virtually every writeup about him, the devastation wrought by that particular punch merited mention. His best version of the left hook was as a counter from the outside.

"You have the greatest left hook in boxing history," the great retired featherweight champion Abe Attell once told Miller. "The greatest... if it hits anybody."

"When I hit a guy with a left hook," Miller acknowledged, "if he didn't go down, he did some funny things on his feet."

*****

Ray Miller was born on October 5, 1905 on the Westside of Chicago not far from where Barney Ross and Jackie Fields would grow up. It was a tough Jewish section of the city at the time. Born lefthanded, Miller fought in an orthodox stance. "First time I got in the ring, the other guy stuck out his left hand," Miller explained. "So I shouldn't look like a rube, I stuck out my left hand." It proved to be a fateful choice. Perhaps Miller's left hand wouldn't have been so powerful had it been his backhand.

Ray certainly put in the work, but he was somewhat of a pugilistic natural. His wife Mary recalled a story about his early years in the sport to the Sun Sentinel. "As a youngster in Chicago, he once walked into a gym where one of the trainers talked him into boxing a few rounds for a few dollars. After doing that a few times, the gym manager gave him $10 and told him not to come back 'You just knocked out our champion,' they told him."

The exact date of Ray Miller's professional debut is lost to history, but it likely took place late in the summer of '22. He began as a bantamweight and showed good promise. He mostly fought in Chicago and around the state of Iowa. During his boxing career, Miller was also shoe salesman and cartoonist in order to earn extra dough.

*****

By 1924, he had moved up to featherweight and had improved by "leaps and bounds in a year's time," according to former bantamweight champion Harry Forbes and Eddie McGoorty, another ex-fighter who once held a portion of the middleweight crown. In an article for the Chicago Daily Tribune, Walter Eckersall compared Miller to Joe Burman, a British-born bantamweight who held the world title for two days when the previous champion allegedly faked a shoulder injury and Burman was awarded the belt before losing it two days later.

On August 24, 1924 in Aurora, Illinois, Miller stopped Minnesota's Dandy Dillon in the second round, reportedly with a right. Dillon "was knocked colder than a newly-risen spring," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Miller had a busy 1925 in the ring, including a draw against Chick Suggs and Babe Herman. On June 12, 1926, Ray beat Mike Dundee, who was described as Miller's old boxing coach. In a battle of the left hands, Dundee was the aggressor, but Miller's "left was more accurate and more deadly in its effect," according to James Dawson of the New York Times. Miller's ability to counter Dundee's aggression led to a ten-round victory on points in Coney Island.

After dropping a decision in Montreal to Kid Roy, Miller fought Billy Petrolle. In the opening round, Miller connected with a left hook and added some left uppercuts. He was knocked down in the second but soon scored with two left hooks to get back into the fight. Miller landed left hooks to the body and jaw in the ninth. At the end of ten rounds in Coney Island, the bout was declared a draw.

Ahead of a January 20, 1927 fight in Chicago against Eddie Shea, Miller was described as "a double of Charley White, the local lightweight who used to knock over opponents with short left hooks." In an exciting fight with no lulls, Miller scored a knockdown against Shea in the first round. As Shea pressed forward, Miller countered well at range. Left hooks hurt Shea in the seventh, and Miller then went for the knockout, but to no avail. Shea was tough, but Ray won the decision in a ten-rounder.

The rest of 1927 and the first half of 1928 featured a few setbacks. He was away from the ring for ten month in '27 due to an injury and dropped a rematch with his old coach, Mike Dundee, at the end of the year.

*****

Sid Terris possessed a pair of the fastest hands in the history of boxing and his feet were just as quick. A 5' 10" lightweight, he had all the physical gifts to vault him to legendary status. On July 6, 1928 in Coney Island, New York, Terris moved and jabbed for two minutes when Miller caught him on the ropes and landed a hard right. A left hook to the chin soon followed and Terris, who outweighed Miller by six and a half pounds, plummeted to the canvas for the count.

The destruction was so thorough that Frank Wallace, in a special to The Washington Post, wrote, "Sid Terris is through as a fighter. He crumbled before the first rushing attack Miller put on." Terris continued fighting until 1931, but he was never the same.

Miller's best win came on November 30, 1928 against Jimmy McLarnin. Miller was 2-2 following the win over Terris, which included a decision loss to King Tut of Minnesota. Ray couldn't figure out Tut's bob-and-weave style. Miller settled on the left uppercut, which helped him take the third round. In the tenth, Miller hurt Tut with the same punch, but it wasn't enough. In a loss, Miller had again given up six and half pounds.

Outweighed by five and half pounds against McLarnin, Miller controlled the first three rounds. McLarnin got back into the fight in the next two, but a left hook in the sixth turned the fight back to Miller. McLarnin then took an absolute beating as his blood splattered all over the ringside observers. The seventh amounted to a "murderous assault." Before the bell rang to begin the eighth, McLarnin's corner mercifully threw in the towel. It was deemed the "biggest upset in years." It would turn out to be the only time in McLarnin's storied career he would ever be stopped. In his later years, the legend loved talking about his old fights, but finding his comments on the Miller bout turned out to be a fruitless challenge.

Miller next fought Tommy Grogan. On January 11, 1929 at Olympia Stadium in Detroit, Michigan- the same venue as his bout against McLarnin- Grogan smacked Miller silly, scoring five knockdowns in the span of 25 seconds in the second round. When the bell finally rang, Miller walked to the wrong corner. But in the fourth, Miller amazingly flattened Grogan with a left hook to punctuate one of the most stunning comebacks in boxing history. Miller even helped Grogan up and walked him back to his corner.


After a decision victory over Grogan in the rematch a few weeks later, Miller faced McLarnin in another highly-anticipated rematch. Jack Farrell described, "The biggest crowd paying the biggest gate of the professional boxing season saw the worst fight of the year at Madison Square Garden." Farrell said, "The Chicagoan [ran] away like a frightened rabbit." It was a disappointing decision loss.

On May 5, Miller won an unpopular decision in a rematch against Billy Petrolle. Miller backed up Petrolle with left hooks in the fifth and landed a left hook on the chin to score a knockdown in the eighth, but the fans at Olympia Stadium booed when Ray was announced the winner.

The disputed decision necessitated another rematch. Their third fight took place a month later, again at Olympia Stadium. This time Petrolle stayed inside Miller's left rendering the hook ineffective. Petrolle won convincingly. With a record of 1-1-1 against Miller, Petrolle would later call Ray "the hardest hitter" he ever faced. He ranked Miller as the fourth best opponent of his career, just behind Barney Ross and ahead of McLarnin.

*****

"Just a few months ago, Miller was hogging all the limelight in the lightweight class. He climaxed a sensational string of victories by knocking out Jimmy McLarnin," wrote light heavyweight champion and master boxer Tommy Loughran. Speaking of Miller, Loughran continued, "He looked like the biggest shot and the best drawing card among the smaller men. Then, all of a sudden, he wasn't up there any more."

On August 12, 1929- three days before Loughran's article ran- Ray dropped what should have been a tune-up fight for him against Bruce Flowers. After breaking Miller's nose in the fourth, Flowers was "easily superior" and won in "unmistakably convincing fashion."

Miller had lost three in a row by the time he faced the "Alpha Assassin" Johnny Canzoneri on April 1, 1930 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Ray earned a much-needed win with a first round KO in 50 seconds thanks to a series of left hooks punctuated by a right cross.

Ray put together a streak of six out of seven against good fighters, but then he dropped three out of four including a loss to Justo Suarez. Miller next rode a nine-fight win streak in which he knocked out Jimmy McNamara and Solly Ritz in the first round. That led to stiffer competition.

Against tougher foes, Miller dropped five out of his next six. He floored Sammy Fuller with a left hook in the first round of their fight on February 26, 1932 at Madison Square Garden. But a right cross put Miller down in the fourth, and the decision went to Fuller. On May 13, 1932 at Olympia Stadium in Detroit, Miller crunched a left hook on Wesley Ramey's jaw in the fourth round that scored a knockdown. But for the rest fight, Ramey thoroughly outboxed Miller.

*****

The left hook proved something of fool's gold for Miller. It carried him far, to world class level, in fact. But perhaps its power hindered his progress in other areas of his game. He could be outboxed and his poor record in rematches suggests his style could be figured out.

On August 26, 1932, Miller fought a fellow Jew from Chicago. Barney Ross had yet to become a three division world champion when the two met at Sparta Stadium in their hometown. Ross connected with a left hook that sent Miller down in the opening round. As he had many times before, including during the five knockdowns against Tommy Grogan, Miller shot up before the referee could count. He never learned to stay down for a few seconds and clear his head.

Miller began to land on Ross in the fourth and nearly knocked him out with a right cross in the fifth. How things would have been different if he had! But Ross came back a round later and wobbled Miller. Ray landed his signature punch in the seventh, but it strayed low and he was warned for the infraction. Ultimately, Ross was awarded the decision.

Miller was to fight lightweight champion Tony Canzoneri in an over-the-limit bout in October, but a nose injury forced him to pull out, and his old nemesis Billy Petrolle got the fight. Miller later won on New Year's Day and retired. He never received a title shot.

Joe Gould, the manager of heavyweight champion James J. Braddock, pulled Miller out of retirement halfway through 1935. "Outside of champion Barney Ross," Gould declared, "there's very little talent in the welter ranks right now, and a knockout puncher like Ray should have easy pickins [sic]." Miller was 29 years old. He fought twice more, and that was it.

Miller remained close to the sport and  refereed fights until the mid-1950s. He didn't even start his most famous match in the ring. "Sugar" Ray Robinson was outboxing light heavyweight champion Joey Maxim on a scorching June day at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in 1952 when referee Ruby Goldstein fainted from heat exhaustion in the tenth round. Miller became the first known person to replace a referee mid-fight. Robinson succumbed to the heat himself after the thirteenth round and later said, "I lasted longer than the referee and no one was hitting him!"

Ray worked in the liquor business after he retired from boxing. He died of lung cancer on March 31, 1987. He was strong until the end.

After his passing, his wife reminisced, "Two weeks ago, his power. If you saw his hand, you would know. Just a powerful, powerful hand."



Sources
"Braddock's Pilot Resurrects Ray Miller, Forecasts Title." The Washington Post. July 16, 1935, Pg. 19.
Breit, Harev. "Talk with Mr. Hemingway" New York Times. Sept. 17, 1950. Pg. 14.
"Dandy Dillon Cooled in Aurora Battle." Los Angeles Times. Aug. 22, 1924. Pg. 9.
Dawson, James. P. "Terris Conquers Petrolle at Coney." New York Times. June 12, 1926. Pg. 9.
Dunkley, Charles W. "Ray Miller, Rank Outsider, Sinks Coast Boy in Seventh." Chicago Daily Tribune. Dec 1, 1928. Pg. 29.
Eckersall, Walter. "Miller Outpunches Shea in 10 Rounds." Chicago Daily Tribune. Jan 21, 1927. pg. 21.
Eckersall, Walter. "Ray Miller is Comer, Boxing Experts Say." Chicago Daily Tribune. Aug. 17, 1924. Pg. A5.
Farrell, Jack. "21,000 Fans See Miller Lose to Jimmy McLarnin." Chicago Daily Tribune. Mar. 23, 1929. Pg. 23.
"Flowers Beats Ray Miller In Easy Fashion." Philadelphia Tribune. Aug. 15, 1929. Pg. 10
Loughran, Tommy. "Fistic Fates are Peculiar, Says Loughran." The Atlanta Constitution. Aug 15 1929. Pg. 19.
"Miller Beats Petrolle; Fans Boo Decision." Chicago Daily Tribune. May 2, 1929. Pg. 23.
"Petrolle in Draw With Ray Miller." New York Times. July 3, 1926. Pg. 10.
"Petrolle, Retiring With $200,000, Asserts Battalino Greatest Foe, McLarnin Overrated." The Washington Post. Jan 26, 1934. Pg 14.
"Petrolle to Oppose Canzoneri; Miller Hurt." The Washington Post. Oct 4, 1932. Pg. 11.
"Ray Miller was Longtime Boxer, Referee." Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), April 2, 1987. 6B.
"Ross Floors Miller; Wins Decision." Chicago Daily Tribune. Aug 27, 1932. Pg. 13
Silver, Mike. Stars of the Ring. 2020.
Wallace, Frank. "Terris Loses in Round by Knockout." The Washington Post. July 6, 1928.
"Wesley Ramey Gives Ray Miller Boxing Lesson" Chicago Daily Tribune. 14 May 1932: 21

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

David Kaminsky to Fight July 9 in Miami

Middleweight David Kaminsky is now scheduled to fight on July 9 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Miami, Florida, USA. Kaminsky, a 21 year old southpaw, had been scheduled to fight last Saturday in Los Angeles, California. Then, his fight was moved to June 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kaminsky (6-1, 3 KOs) is an Israeli-born resident of California. He works as a personal trainer and boxing coach at his family's gym. Kaminsky possesses fast hands and slick skills. Though his technique is sound, he can be a flashy boxer at times. The awkward style of MMA fighters has given him some trouble during his young career, however.

If it takes place, this will be Kaminsky's first fight on the east coast of the U.S. As a professional, he has fought three times California, thrice in Nevada, and once in Texas.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Stefi Cohen Not Fighting Tonight

Dr. Stefanie Cohen had been scheduled to fight tonight in Jackson, Mississippi, USA, but the entire Gamebred Promotions card is off. The football player Frank Gore had also been pegged for the card. Gore will instead fight in Biloxi, Mississippi tonight, which happens to be his 39th birthday. Cohen's management team released a promotional poster announcing her appearance, but the event quickly fell apart.

Already Cohen has had a few fight dates fall through during her nascent career. Despite Stefi's popularity as a record-setting powerlifter and fitness expert, fights falling through is a fairly common occurrence for every boxer, particularly one just starting out.

Stefi Cohen's May 14 fight date fell through

Cohen has made a ton of progress since first learning to box. Catch up on her career here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Review of The Night the Referee Hit Back

The Night the Referee Hit Back: Memorable Moments from the World of Boxing
By Mike Silver
Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

Along with Ken Blady's Jewish Boxers' Hall of Fame and Allen Bodner's When Boxing Was a Jewish Sport, Mike Silver's Stars in the Ring is one of the three most seminal books for those of us interested in Jewish boxing history. The Night the Referee Hit Back, a collection of previously published articles, is Silver's follow up, and it's fantastic. All boxing enthusiasts should read Silver's book, but Jewish boxing fans especially.

Part One begins with a masterful profile of Stillman's Gym, once the epicenter of the boxing world. The sights, smells, and sounds of the legendary gym are intertwined with its rich history and Silver's personal recollections. It will be an invaluable article for generations of boxing historians to come. The other articles are chock full of amazing Jewish boxing history about boxers-turned-referees such as Sammy Luftspring and Ruby Goldstein, the smooth boxer Benny Valgar, and, of course, Stillman's. The articles that aren't about Jews are just as entertaining and informative.

Part Two is filled with opinion pieces that often buck popular beliefs. Silver curmudgeonly waxes nostalgic about yesteryear at the expense of the modern era. The "Thrilla in Manilla" wasn't that good, Floyd Mayweather wasn't that good, the coaches, the boxers, nothing was as good as it was when Silver was coming up. For the most part, he's right. With the exception of the referees (who I would argue have done a better job of stopping non-competitive fights earlier than they used to), Silver accurately diagnoses the current problems with boxing: There are too many belts, too many weight classes, and too many protected fighters. Unlike some other sports, an observer can reasonably argue that boxers used to be better because there were more of them, they fought more often, and they've remained the same size due to- for the most part- the same weight restrictions. But Silver can go too far in making his point.

In an article about an HBO card featuring Isaac Chilemba vs. Dmitry Bivol and Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez called "A World of Professional Amateurs," Silver describes Chilemba as "a second-rate opponent whose purpose was just to survive the 12 rounds and collect the payday." The Jewish Boxing Blog has covered Chilemba for ten years, and that's an unnecessarily harsh and unfair take. In both fights, Silver says he saw "fewer than a dozen body punches... There were no double jabs or combinations or feints, ducking, parrying, or weaving under punches." I went back and checked my notes from Bivol-Chilemba, and they directly contradict virtually every point of this assessment. I then rewatched the fight for this review and concur with my notes.

Silver also asserts, "Other than occasionally stepping back out of range to avoid a punch, defense was limited to the usual gloves in front of the face while standing still waiting to be hit. No attempt was made to slip a punch and counter." Slip and counter is actually a great description of Chilemba's style. In fairness, Bivol's timely jabs and infrequent combinations prevented Isaac from countering much, though. Chilemba kept his left far too low and his right just below his chin, which meant his defense relied on the shoulder role, slipping punches, and ducking Bivol's attacks. An excellent defensive fighter, he certainly didn't hold his gloves in front of his face waiting to be hit. Silver's overall argument is valid, but his specific analysis of Chilemba was off base.

Part three features transcripts of interviews Silver has conducted. The ones with Archie Moore, Carlos Ortiz, Ted Lowry, and Curtis Cokes were particularly insightful. Part four includes miscellaneous articles that often link boxing and showbusiness. There's also a profile of three boxers who fought in five different decades, including Saoul Mamby.

The Night the Referee Hit Back is a must read for boxing fans, particularly those interested in Jewish boxing history. Today's boxing scene is heavily criticized, but Silver's critiques, while occasionally overeager, are provocative and often instructive. The  cranky view of today's fighters aside, the history within the book is absolutely enthralling.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Chilemba on Bivol's Win Against Canelo

Dmitry Bivol pulled off a stunning upset victory over Saul "Canelo" Alvarez this past Saturday night. Canelo, a 5/1 favorite was generally regarded as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world when Bivol won the fight by unanimous decision with three scores of 115-113 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

On August 4, 2018, Bivol defeated Isaac Chilemba by unanimous decision (120-108 twice, 116-112) at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. The Jewish Boxing Blog asked Chilemba about Bivol's performance this past weekend and how it compared to his fight against the Russian national who was born in Kyrgyzstan. Chilemba had some interesting answers.

"Bivol fought a very impressive fight; I'm very proud of him, " Chilemba said. "Before the fight I gave him no chance whatsoever, but he proved me and the world otherwise."

Canelo and Isaac are both counterpunchers who didn't counter much against Bivol. Perhaps Bivol's timely jab and his occasional but purposeful combinations prevented those counters from coming back. Chilemba didn't see it that way.

"I had huge personal issues the day before the fight which disrupted my performance," Chilemba revealed. "I can't say more of my performance that night as I wasn't myself." Surprisingly, he described Bivol as one of the easier of all his major opponents, which includes many world class foes.

Most humans would be impacted if they experienced issues just before a big event. Canelo is one of the few who can compartmentalize to the extreme. In the week before his December 15, 2018 fight against Rocky Fielding, Canelo's brother was kidnapped, and the star personally negotiated with his brother's captors to free him. Of course, Bivol is in a different class than Fielding is.

Chilemba is scheduled to fight next on May 27 against Osleys Iglesias at Hala Globus in Lublin, Poland. Isaac said the bout is at super middleweight and is for a couple of international title belts. Chilemba missed the 168 weight limit in his last fight against Pavel Silyagin in November.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

News Update

A couple of bits of general news about Jewish boxers from this weekend.

*****

Yuri Foreman was inducted in the Jewish Sports Heritage Association Hall of Fame in Lawrence, New York. Boyd Melson was there to support Yuri, the first ever Israeli world champion. Foreman, the best Jewish boxer of the 21st century, was followed by a film crew for an upcoming documentary about his life called Lion of Zion.

Foreman then spoke at the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Jewish boxers Al Singer, Solly Krieger, and Herbie Kronowitz were all posthumously inducted today.

Foreman, who hopes to make a comeback soon, should be a shoe-in for New York State Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible. Singer and Krieger have already been inducted to the latter.

*****

Dr. Stefi Cohen sat near the ring for yesterday's incredible fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano for the legitimate lightweight championship of the world. The atmosphere in Madison Square Garden was electric as Taylor and Serrano battled in a fight for the ages.

"What a war!" Cohen declared after the fight. Taylor took a close split decision victory to retain the lightweight title. Cohen is tentatively scheduled to fight next on May 14.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Isaac Chilemba to Face Osleys Iglesias

Isaac Chilemba is scheduled to face Cuban amateur standout Osleys Iglesias on May 27 at Hala Globus in Lublin, Poland in what should be a very interesting match. Chilemba retired after his last fight in November but changed his mind in January after consulting his friends, family, and officials at the Malawi Professional Boxing Control Board.

Chilemba, a 34 year old from Malawi and based in South Africa, sports a 26-8-3 record with 10 KOs. Though he is just 2-6-1 in his last nine fights, Chilemba has faced extremely tough competition. Isaac is a superior defensive fighter with a great jab and an amazing ability to counter.

Iglesias, a 24 year old Cuban based in Germany, is 5-0 with 5 KOs. The southpaw was an excellent amateur. As a pro, Iglesias has fought as a super middleweight and light heavyweight against tougher than usual competition. In his second fight, he took on Rafael Bejaran, who sported a 26-4-1 record and in his last bout, Iglesias fought Robert Racz, who had a 25-2 mark. Neither Bejaran nor Racz is anywhere near the level of Chilemba, however.

Iglesias possesses impressive skills. He remains balanced while attacking, something he does from the opening bell. Incredibly calm, Osleys features a slicing right hook and whipping left. He varies his punch angles and positions himself to unleash the maximum amount of punishment at all times. In five fights, he has fought a grand total of 11 minutes and 23 seconds although much of that time has been spent waiting for his opponents to get up.

Three of his five fights ended weirdly. In the Cuban's debut, he landed a little right hook early that forced Malkhaz Sujashvili down. Sujashvili either didn't see it or he had endured enough punishment in the first minute of the fight and began searching for a way out. Facing Bernard Donfack, Iglesias's incidental right hook scored two knockdowns. Iglesias throws the right hook in order to land the straight left, and appears shocked when the opponent goes down from the right. In the next fight, Rafael Sosa Pintos may have been thumbed in the eye with a jab, because he fell immediately much to Iglesias's confusion. Pintos did have a cut below the left eye, which quickly swelled, but it didn't take much to get him out of there.

There were no flukes against Bejaran, who was knocked out cold, and Racz, who ate many flush shots and was knocked down three times. Racz managed to connect with a good right in a way that Chilemba could exploit. Iglesias throws many of his lefts from a lower angle, leaving himself open for a counter right over the top. Against a southpaw, righties typically want their lead foot to be outside the lead foot of their opponent. That gives an opening for the straight right. However, Chilemba might want to play with fire and circle into Iglesias's left which would expose the opening created by Iglesias's  lower punch-angle. It's risky and Iglesias will surely adjust, but it might sow some doubt in the undefeated Cuban's mind. Racz was able to land a right with this tactic although Iglesias barely blinked.

Chilemba has some advantages in height and experience. He has fought the far better competition in the pros. Iglesias is a younger and much fresher. He also has more of a hometown advantage. Lublin isn't in Cuba, but Iglesias has fought two of his five prizefights in Poland. We saw last month in the Igor Lazarev-Dominik Harwankowski decision that judging in Poland can be corrupt.

The weight limit and number of rounds cannot yet be confirmed. This will be updated when the information becomes available. My guess is a 12 round super middleweight affair.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Boxing Ambitions of Carl Schayes

"My father was 6'4". He was a boxer. Well, he was not a boxer," recalled Dolph Schayes, perhaps the best Jewish basketball player in history.

A Hall of Famer, Schayes was voted all-NBA 12 times in 15 seasons. He played 14 with the Syracuse Nationals and one with Philadelphia when the franchise moved and became the 76ers. Standing 6'8", Dolph averaged 18.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game in 996 career contests. His son Danny, at nearly 7', was an excellent role player for 1,138 NBA games over 18 years.

Dolph's dad, Carl, once dreamed of becoming heavyweight champion of the world. Carl loved boxing and took his three sons, Herman, Fred and, of course, Dolph to Madison Square Garden, the Polo Grounds, and Yankee Stadium to watch the great pugilists of the 1930s and 1940s.

Carl Schayes was an imposing figure, even to his gigantic sons. "If you shook his hand, your hand was lost," remembered Herman, who at 6'3" played basketball for the Washington Generals, the eternal patsy of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Carl was born in Durohoi, Romania, in 1901 not far from the birthplace of his future wife Tina, who was born the same year and eventually would top out at just 4'11". Carl immigrated to the United States in 1920 and Tina followed the next year. They were married in 1923. Fred came first in 1927, then Dolph the year after. Herman was six years younger. The family paid $40 a month to rent a one bedroom apartment at 2275 Davidson Avenue in the Bronx.

"When he came to this country, he was very, very strong, " Dolph said of his dad. A boxing manager named John the Barber told Carl, "Boy, you are a real strong guy. I would like to make a boxer out of you."

Dolph explained, "My father told him that his feet were frostbitten during the First World War. John the Barber suggested that he get an operation on his feet so he could become more agile, because you had to be pretty agile in the ring.

"He got this operation. However, the operation was quite painful, and a cast was put on his feet. It became so painful that, with a cast on, it restricted his movement so much that he broke the cast by smashing his foot against something hard and this left his feet in bad shape. So because of that he never pursued a boxing career."

If he had not had the foot injury, Carl may have been a successful heavyweight. "My father was very strong and got into a lot of barroom brawls and came out victorious," Dolph said. "At least, he told me."

Instead of becoming heavyweight champion, Carl drove a laundry wagon. He was often bitter. "He got into a lot of scrapes," Dolph recalled. "As I said, he drank a little bit. He would get into a lot of fights in the local bar on Jerome Avenue."

Looking back, Dolph figured Carl's injured feet might have been responsible for his own athletic greatness. "This was the early twenties and Jack Dempsey was at his height, and had my father fought Jack Dempsey maybe I never would have been born."

By not fighting Dempsey, Carl lived to see his son Dolph's incredible Hall of Fame basketball career.


Sources
George, Justin. "He knows that losing isn't all that there is." Tampa Bay Times. Mar 15, 2004.
Stark, Douglas. When Basketball Was Jewish. 2017.
1930 U.S. Census.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Stefi Cohen to Fight on May 14

Dr. Stefanie Cohen is scheduled to return to the ring on May 14 in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. Cohen is a 2-0-1 with one KO.

Stefi, who is a world record breaking powerlifter, last fought in February. She has made great progress in the ring since picking up the sport less than two years ago. The 30 year old is a native of Venezuela.

The promotional company associated with the event, which is called "Action in Jackson," is Gamebred Fighting Championship. They are based in Miami, Florida- Cohen's adopted hometown- and have primarily promoted MMA shows. The event is tentatively slated to be aired on Fite.tv, but it is not yet on the streaming service's schedule.

No opponent for Cohen has yet been named.

Monday, April 18, 2022

The Different Types of Boxing Gloves

Boxing gloves are an important and yet overlooked aspect of the sport. Boxers must consider many different features of a glove in order to choose the right one for them. Wrist support, knuckle support, room in the hand compartment, and design are a few of the more important factors. One significant similarity, however, is the weight of the glove. Typically, welterweights and lighter fight with eight ounce gloves while junior middleweights and above wear ten ounce gloves.

Though most brands offer different types of gloves, they tend to get associated with a certain style. "Reyes is more of a puncher's glove, and Everlast is more of a boxer's glove," says former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

Reyes was founded in Mexico City, Mexico in 1945. Its founder, Claudio Reyes, was an innovator. His product soon gained a reputation as a puncher's glove. “The Reyes boxing gloves are what you use if you want to knock people out,” claims  Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, whose most famous charge, Manny Pacquiao, wore Reyes gloves. 

Writer David Walker explains, "The Reyes glove is known as 'a puncher’s glove' because it has a lightweight feel, a slimmer profile and, most importantly, an inner layer of horsehair padding that tends to flatten down and harden over the course of a fight."

Floyd Mayweather Jr. used Reyes gloves early in his pro career but developed hand problems and switched brands. Hand injuries are a major concern for boxers as former pro Boyd Melson well knows.

"Personally, I liked having a good amount of padding on my knuckles. You’re going to hurt your knuckles, so it’s important to keep them as protected as you can!" says Melson, who wore Everlast gloves in the ring.
Manny Pacquiao wore Reyes gloves

Founded in the Bronx, New York in the early 1910s by Jacob Golomb, the Jewish son of an immigrant tailor, Everlast was initially devoted to swimwear. As the story goes, Golomb provided a down-and-out Jack Dempsey with boxing equipment. In return, Dempsey wore Everlast gloves when he destroyed Jess Willard to win the world heavyweight championship in 1919, and the brand took off.

The great Jewish world lightweight champion Benny Leonard not only wore Everlast, but played an advisory role in the company. More recent Jewish fighters (former WBA world junior middleweight champion) Yuri Foreman and (WBF world junior welterweight champion) Dmitriy Salita wore Everlast gloves, too. While Dempsey was more of a brawler, Leonard, Foreman, and Salita were technically sound boxers to varying degrees.

Everlast is known as a boxer's glove because of the foam padding on the knuckles which is meant to protect them at the expense of power. However, Everlast does sell a puncher's glove called the MX, which uses horsehair as padding.

Cletus Seldin, a massive puncher, has also worn Everlast in several of his fights. Clearly, the gloves have not hindered his knockout power. The Hebrew Hammer has also worn Grant gloves, going back-and-forth between the two types during his career.

Benny Leonard wore Everlast gloves

Grant was founded in 1995 in New York and the gloves are made in Mexico. They are know for their high quality materials. After using Reyes gloves, Floyd Mayweather Jr. moved over to Grant and helped the popularity of the company soar.  Gennady "GGG" is another popular figure who punches with Grant.

Grant gloves are known to protect a boxer's hands but don't take away as much power as some brands. The gloves fit snug and lock in the hand and wrist in a straight line offering wrist protection. Padding around the wrist only enhances the protection. "Every fighter should be fighting in Grant boxing gloves," says Mayweather. "The gloves are extremely comfortable."

Floyd Mayweather Jr. switched to Grant gloves midcareer

Over in the United Kingdom, Lonsdale, founded in 1960 in London, soon developed a
positive reputation. Celebrities hoped to be seen in their clothing. Former pro boxer Tony Milch remembers going with his stepdad to the Lonsdale store on Beak Street in London's shopping hub known as Covent Gardens when he just started boxing. "It was a real old school boxing shop," he recalls fondly. "The original Lonsdale was the best."

In the early 2000s, neo-Nazis throughout Europe began proudly displaying Lonsdale gear. The term "Lonsdale youth" became synonymous with teens who espoused extreme right wing views. These neo-Nazis wore bomber jackets over their Lonsdale shirts, which coincidentally have the letters "nsda" which almost amounts to the initials of Adolph Hitler's Nazi party (NSDAP). Bizarre as that might be, it signified a major problem for Lonsdale, who actively combatted the unwitting association with neo-Nazis by initiating an anti-racist campaign.

Around the same time, in 2002, Sports Direct, now known as the Frasers Group, bought out Lonsdale, just as they would acquire Everlast five years later. The quality of the gloves have worsened since. Tony Milch blames the gloves for a broken right hand and bursitis early in his pro career. "They are not the best quality," Milch says of Lonsdale, "The brand changed and sold out."

Milch, the head of the Gloves and Doves initiative which promotes peace in the Middle East through boxing, prefers Reyes and Winning gloves.

Tony Milch soured on Lonsdale gloves (Marc Morris)

Reyes and Winning are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of style, but both are known for superior quality. While Reyes are puncher's gloves, Winning gloves are often refer to as pillows.

Winning was founded in 1937 in Japan, around the height of its empire. The gloves are of high quality and very expensive. They are protective of a boxer's knuckles and wrists. Some argue that the hand compartment is too snug.

Many boxers, including Floyd Mayweather Jr., train with Winning gloves. They're usually not used in competition because it's difficult to generate power due to the high-level of synthetic padding. However, "The Monster," Naoya Inoue, the most feared bantamweight in the world and a top ten pound-for-pound fighter with 19 KOs in his 22 bouts, fights with Winning gloves. It's a testament to Inoue's punching power that he's able to score so many knockouts with such pillowy gloves.

Naoya Inoue uses Winning gloves

While Winning is generally regarded as the best gloves to protect one's hands, Rival gloves are usually thought of as the coolest looking. Former trainer and current cutman Russ Anber founded the company in Montreal, Canada in 2003. He initiated several design changes, including creating a shorter body of the glove and longer cuff so that the laces are tied on the boxer's wrist. The gloves also have an angular lace track to promote increased wrist support.

Vasiliy Lomachenko and Olexandr Usyk, two of the ten best boxers in the world, wear Rival in the ring. Anber serves as cutman to both fighters. Isaac Chilemba, a contender at super middleweight and light heavyweight for many years, often wears Rival gloves. In fact, his first fight against Tony Bellew on March 30, 2013 was the first time two competing boxers wore Rival gloves
 in a professional fight outside of Canada.
Isaac Chilemba wears Rival gloves

These are just a few of the more noteworthy brands that sell boxing gloves. In addition to Leone (from Italy), Venum (from France), Title, and Hayabusa, there are many more, each with their own unique makeup. For fans who don't already, be sure to note the boxers' gloves. They can give a window into a fighter's mentality.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Igor Lazarev Stopped in Action-Packed Fight

Igor Lazarev was stopped following the second round of his fight against Angelo Peña at Stadttheater Bern in Bern, Switzerland tonight. After two exciting rounds in which Lazarev was outclassed, his corner asked the referee to stop the fight.

Lazarev, a 35 year old from Israel, strutted to the ring wearing white trunks with red trim to the song "Live and Let Die" by Guns N' Roses. His dark hair trimmed short, Lazarev sported his familiar thin goatee.

When the opening bell rang, Peña rushed forward in his southpaw stance whipping his fast hands at Igor. His right hooks damaged Lazarev's body from the outset and would prove to be one of the 26 year old Swiss fighter's most potent weapons. Halfway through what would turn out to be a disastrous round for Lazarev, Peña smacked Igor's body with yet another right hook which forced Lazarev to bend over in agony.

Lazarev quickly righted himself and continued to fight back. He landed some of his own blows to the body, but they didn't have the intensity of Peña's punches. Two minutes and eleven seconds into the fight, Peña connected with yet another right hook to the body. Lazarev paused a moment and then fell.

Igor beat the count and used his veteran guile to stay in the fight. He held and moved and threw back just enough. The Israeli displayed guts in the second round. He landed a straight right to open the period. Then a jab stung Peña's face. He did well in the pocket, which helped negate Peña's hand speed advantage. Lazarev even had some good moments fighting off the ropes. But Peña landed two vicious left uppercuts and continued with the body assault. The left uppercut was the other punishing weapon in Peña's arsenal, and he unleashed it brilliantly.

Though Igor had a better second round than first, his corner grabbed the referee's attention to stop the fight after the round. The referee asked Lazarev for confirmation, and he nodded. Peña, whose bloody lip was receiving attention from his cutman, was informed of the stoppage and ran to a neutral corner before leaping onto the ropes with his hands raised in victory.

Lazarev, who is now 8-4 with 3 KOs, did not repeat his incredible performance of last month, when he thoroughly beat undefeated prospect Dominik Harwankowski only to have the decision stolen from him by allegedly corrupt judging. But he was valiant against a classy opponent. Peña showed real skill. He cut the ring off effectively, maintained balance, possessed fast hands, attacked the body, and exhibited a high boxing IQ. Peña, who is now 2-0 with 2 KOs, looks like a prospect to watch.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Igor Lazarev and Angelo Peña Weigh In

Lightweight Igor Lazarev is scheduled to face Angelo Peña tomorrow at Stadttheater Bern in Bern, Switzerland. Lazarev is 8-3 with 3 KOs and Peña is 1-0 with one KO.

Lazarev came in the lightest of his pro career at 131 pounds today. Peña was 130.5 pounds when he stepped on the scale. Igor had weighed in between 131.5 and 135.3 pounds during his nearly four years as a pro. Lazarev averages 4.5 rounds a fight. Peña, a 27 year old based in Switzerland, weighed 133.8 pounds for his lone prizefight which lasted a minute and 35 seconds into the second round.

Lazarev, a 35 year old from Israel, fought brilliantly against undefeated prospect Dominik Harwankowski less than a month ago on March 19. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 59-55 for Lazarev. As it turned out, Harwankowski's mentor was one of the judges who gifted the Polish fighter a unanimous decision victory in the worst decision The JBB has ever covered.

Lazarev hopes to repeat his stellar performance from last month. He also hopes the judging in Switzerland will be fairer. This bout is slated for six rounds and can be viewed via Fite.tvHere is The JBB's preview of the fight.


Saturday, April 9, 2022

BoxRec Changes Mor Oknin's Name and Says He Lost

BoxRec has changed Mor Oknin's name to More Vaknine. His full name is listed as More Refael Vaknine, and his age is recorded as 36 years old. A BoxRec editor told The Jewish Boxing Blog that the organization was sent a copy of Oknin's passport information which prompted the change.

Countless boxers have fought under pseudonyms rather than their legal names including Sugar Ray Robinson, Benny Leonard, Archie Moore, Barney Ross, and more recently, Dmitriy Salita, just to name a few.

BoxRec claims Oknin lost his last fight, held on February 26 in Terraza Sport Bar in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico to Jose Cariaga Yanez by third round TKO. Vaknine's record is posted as 1-1.

Oknin, the name he uses on his trunks and on Instagram, shared two videos on the social media site with highlights of the fight. At the end of the second video, the referee raises Oknin's hand after the result is announced. Oknin gives a salute and then smilingly shakes the hand of the referee. He does not appear to be a man who had been stopped moments before.

The editor said BoxRec still has "lots of problems with wrong reports" out of many countries, including Mexico. BoxRec only records what the commissions in charge tell them. In this case, Comision de Box Agua Prieta is in charge. If the result should be changed, Oknin's team will need the commission to send a correction to BoxRec.

This site will continue to refer to him as Mor Oknin but mention his legal name when appropriate. The JBB will follow up on any additional information about this story should it become available.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Review of The Cambridge Companion to Boxing

The Cambridge Companion to Boxing
Edited by Gerald Early
Cambridge University Press, 2019.

The Cambridge Companion to Boxing, edited by Gerald Early, covers a wide range of topics about pugilism, beginning in the ancient world, through the bare-knuckle era, and then examining the sport's modern stars such as Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Muhammad Ali. Featuring articles from great boxing intellectuals, this book also looks at women's boxing, the history of Latinos in boxing, and the issue of race in the sport. This review will focus on the two chapters about Jews in boxing.

Professor Steven A. Riess contributes a chapter called "Jews in Twentieth Century Boxing." Reiss is a retired history professor from Northeastern Illinois University and has published numerous books about sports including editing and contributing to the book Sports and the American Jew. A respected scholar, Riess is right on the mark with "Jews in Twentieth Century Boxing."

Riess hits the highlights in tracing the history of Jews in boxing. By mentioning Daniel Mendoza and Joe Choynski, he gives important context. Brief overviews of Abe Attell, Benny Leonard, and Barney Ross, and Maxie Rosenbloom show that Jews consistently reached the top of the sport during the first forty years of the twentieth century. Riess notes the percentage of Jewish world champions and top rated fighters at a given time to show how prominent they were in the sport. He shows the decline of Jews in boxing during the latter portion of the twentieth century. Even Jewish nonparticipants are covered.

The only issue I have with the chapter is the line, "Today there are virtually no Jewish boxers." While the line is technically correct, the mission of The Jewish Boxing Blog is to show that the story of Jewish boxers is still being written. But Riess is right, boxing will almost certainly never be as significant to Jews as it once was. For those who don't know much about the history of Jews in boxing, "Jews in Twentieth Century Boxing" is an excellent overview. The writing is accessible, and it's a great starting point to learn more about the topic.

Tony Gee's chapter "A Surprising Dearth of Top English-Born Jewish Fighters in the Bare-Knuckle Era" is misplaced here. Gee, a former kickboxer, is clearly an expert on the subject, but the chapter belongs in a book on bare-knuckle boxing and not in a general boxing anthology.

The title suggests you thought there were a lot of top English-born Jewish fighters in the bare-knuckle era. I don't know you, but I bet you didn't. I'm not an expert, but I have studied the subject a bit and must admit I was not at all surprised by the small numbers of top English-born Jewish fighters during this era. I'd bet most Jews would find it surprising that there were any Jewish bare-knuckle fighters, let alone top English-born ones. The title implies the chapter was written for a very specific and quite narrow readership.

Given the title, you might expect to read about the cultural factors that limited the number of top English-born Jewish fighters in the bare-knuckle era or about the role of anti-Semitism in preventing English-born Jewish fighters from reaching the top. Neither is covered.

Instead, this chapter focuses on technical reasons as to why there is a surprising dearth of top English-born Jewish fighters in the bare-knuckle era. They might have been born elsewhere, their mothers might have had a questionable link to Judaism, they might have had success in the U.S. or Australia instead of England, or there isn't enough documentation to determine if they were top level. As a result, there is very little interesting information here.

Writing preference is subjective, and this chapter is for those who prefer winding sentences that include many clauses. Awkward and outdated terms such as "Jewess" do not help matters. Editor Gerald Early should have recognized the shortcomings of this entry. An overview of bare-knuckle fighters with Jewish heritage would have been better suited for this book.

Despite this missed opportunity, Early, who possesses one of the most important voices on American sports and culture, includes many renown authors such as Randy Roberts, Colleen Aycock, and Kasia Boddy- just to name a few- that makes this collection a worthy read.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

David Kaminsky's Fight Postponed

Middleweight David Kaminsky's fight has been postponed. It is now scheduled for June 24 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Kaminsky had been scheduled to comeback on May 14 in Los Angeles, California.

Kaminsky, a 21 year old southpaw from Israel, last fought on June 18, 2020. On that date, he suffered his lone career loss, dropping a split decision to Clay Collard. Sporting a record of 6-1 with 3 KOs, Kaminsky is slick boxer with fast hands.

During the layoff, Kaminsky took time to recover from a torn ACL. He trained rapper Blueface for a celebrity boxing match last year. David also parted ways with his promoter, Top Rank.

No opponent has been announced yet.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

David Alaverdian Scores Another KO

Super flyweight David Alaverdian stopped Jeno Tonte in the second round of their bout tonight at the Ford Community Theater in Dearborn, Michigan as part of Salita Promotions' Detroit Brawl. The bout was halted a minute and 15 seconds into the second.

Alaverdian, a 28 year old from Israel, dominated the action. After arriving to the ring to "Pushing P" by Future, Gunna, and Young Thug, David landed numerous lead rights from the orthodox stance and lead lefts as a southpaw. His eye-catching one-twos left the crowd in awe. Tonte's one moment of success, a left hook in the first, was immediately answered with the same shot.

Alaverdian didn't jab as much as usual. Though both men are listed as 5'5", Tonte held a height advantage of at least a couple of inches. Yet, it was Alaverdian who used footwork to measure the distance from the outside. He spent some of the opening moments of the fight feinting to see what Tonte would do. David figured out the 26 year old veteran very quickly and demolished him the rest of the way. For the most part, Tonte could only try to block or hold.

The Israeli was in such control, he toyed with Tonte. David squared up, stutter-stepped toward the befuddled Hungarian, and snapped back Tonte's head with a sneaky right hand before Jeno knew what had happened. In the second round, Alaverdian landed a lead left hook-straight right combo that let Tonte know this round wouldn't be any easier for him.

The most impressive moment came when Alaverdian was a southpaw. He stepped back, inviting Tonte in, and then sniped the Hungarian with a perfect left. Tonte fell to the canvas. To his credit, Jeno fired several shots at David after the knockdown, but Alaverdian made him miss badly. David feinted and then landed a crunching right. Alaverdian then attacked the body. After being warned for a rabbit punch, the Israeli landed two left hooks to the body and referee Gerald White jumped in to stop the fight. Jeno appeared relieved.

Alaverdian is now 6-0 with 5 KOs. Tonte falls to 9-10 with 8 KOs. This is the eighth time Tonte has been stopped.

Friday, April 1, 2022

David Alaverdian Makes Weight

Super flyweight David Alaverdian is scheduled to fight Jeno Tonte tomorrow night at the Ford Community Center in Dearborn, Michigan, USA. This will be Alaverdian's first prizefight in the United States.

Alaverdian, a 28 year old Israeli who is based in the U.S., is 5-0 with four KOs. Trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr., Alaverdian is a vicious body puncher. He weighed in at 114.2 pounds. David has been between 112 and 114.8 pounds for his first five fights, all of which were in Mexico. He averages 2.2 rounds per fight.

Tonte, also known as Tonté Jenő Ficak, is a 26 year old from Hungary with a 9-9 record. He has won eight by KO and has been stopped seven times. Tonte weighed in at 114 pounds, the lightest of his career. He has been as heavy as 123. He averages 2.4 rounds per fight.

This will be Alaverdian's first scheduled six-rounder. Half of Tonte's 18 fights have been scheduled for at least six rounds although none have gone the distance. The longest either man has fought in a pro bout is four full rounds. Dmitriy Salita is the promoter of record.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Yuri Foreman Reflects on His Career So Far

Rabbi Yuri Foreman is still an active boxer and his goal is to fight for the title, but he was kind enough to reflect on his career so far with The Jewish Boxing Blog. The 41 year former world champion's many great accomplishments make him the best Jewish boxer of this century.

Foreman's proudest moment in professional boxing was winning the WBA world junior middleweight title from Daniel Santos on November 14, 2009. "It was my proudest moment because I became the first Israeli world champion." It was also a time for the Brooklyn-resident to reflect on how far he had come and just how improbable his journey had been.

"I came from a city in the Soviet Union- it's now in Belarus- that has maybe one tenth of the people that live in Brooklyn. I came from a little place and became a world champion," Foreman says proudly. "If you put all your effort into something, you can do it."

His biggest disappointment was each of his four losses. "I can't grade them and say which one is worse." His losses came against Miguel Cotto, Pawel Wolak, Erislandy Lara, and Jimmy Williams. He hints at issues in preparation against Lara but generally makes no excuses. Against Cotto, he tore his ACL in the middle of the fight.  "I wish my knee held up," is all he says of that injury. He came back just nine months later to face Wolak. And against Williams, he had recovered from the first strain of covid-19 just three months before the fight.

Foreman names Cotto, a Hall of Famer he greatly respects, as the best opponent he has faced so far. "He's the most sophisticated. He has heart, and he's smart," Foreman says. Cotto is sophisticated in the ring because he "concealed his intentions."

"I landed a one-two in about the third round," Yuri, who has never gone back and watched the fight, remembers. "It landed flush. I thought I hurt him. He buckled a little bit. But he kept coming forward. He was smart. He didn't go backwards but was in attack. He concealed that he was hurt. I miscalculated."

The hardest puncher Yuri faced was a bit of a surprise: Daniel Santos. In winning the title from Santos, Foreman knocked down the champ twice. After the weigh-in for the 154 pound title, Santos put on an extra 19 pounds and entered the ring at 173, a number Foreman accurately remembers twelve and a half years later.

"Punches you don't see hurt," Foreman explains. "Punches you see, you can withstand. I could see the punches from Santos, but they were still paralyzing. He hit very hard."

As for the best opponent in terms of technical boxing ability, Foreman cites Erislandy Lara. Yuri dealt with personal problems in the lead-up to the 2017 fight against the Cuban great. "I wasn't the same as when I was getting ready for Cotto and Santos," he says.  Foreman, who was 37 at the time of the fight, wishes he was in his prime at the time because he would have loved to "match up our different schools of boxing."

Foreman jokes that not too many fans would have appreciated the boxer vs. boxer matchup between the men had Yuri been in his prime. He astutely notes that the Arturo Gatti-Mickey Ward trilogy of the early 2000s shifted the fans away from enjoying good technical boxing and more for the blood and guts style of fighting.

With that shift away from the sweet science, younger fans may appreciate Yuri's remarkable ability and amazing career less and less. Let's hope that's not the case.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Stefi Cohen to Fight in May

Dr. Stefanie Cohen revealed that her fourth career bout will be held some time in May. An exact date, location, and opponent have not yet been announced. Cohen, who just celebrated her 30th birthday yesterday, is a world record-breaking powerlifter, a PhD, a noted soccer player, and an entrepreneur.

Boxing has been her latest undertaking. Stefi has been boxing for less than two years but has made remarkable strides. Her debut came on June 4, 2021 in the Dominican Republic. She used her superior strength to bully and maul her opponent, Haidde Zappa, who entered the ring with a record of 3-4. Cohen used effective aggression to earn a third round TKO. But her punch technique and her footwork were that of a novice.

Cohen, her coach Dr. Pedro Diaz, and her team seemed to go back to the drawing board in the run up to her second pro fight. On September 18, 2021 in Dubai, Stefi came out with improved footwork and a sharp quick jab. She moved in and out of range as she jabbed and carried the first two rounds against an opponent with a 2-0 record and MMA experience. But the opponent, Marcela Nieto, adjusted and Cohen's only other weapon was a telegraphed overhand right. Though her skills had progressed, the result was a step back: a majority draw. After the fight, Cohen, a native Spanish speaker, assumed the unusual duty of translating the post-fight interview with Nieto, a native of Colombia.

After a couple of fights that fell through, Cohen came back on February 11 in her adopted hometown of Miami, to fight for the third time as a pro. Against a 31-fight veteran who had racked up 25 losses, Karla Valenzuela,Cohen displayed much improvement. Stefi, who was nearly eight pounds lighter than in her previous bout, showed better defense by moving her upper body and head. She still had a snapping jab but also added a body attack and a counter left hook to her game. She still telegraphed the overhand right but won by unanimous decision.

The results have not matched her progress. She earned her lone KO victory in her first fight, but Stefi's boxing ability has come a long way since her debut. It should be noted that Cohen has faced stiffer opposition than most pure novices would. Typically a well-managed beginner would battle against less experienced foes than Stefi has and wouldn't fight anyone even sniffing a winning record for quite a few bouts. The undefeated Nieto, who has since moved her record to 3-0-1, was Stefi's opponent for her second ever fight.

For her next fight in May, Cohen told The Jewish Boxing Blog that she's her training is focused on improving her "speed, volume, and angles." Considering her exponential growth as a boxer from one fight to the next, it will exciting to see what skills she adds next to her arsenal.