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Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022: Year in Review

Canceled fights and curious decisions defined the year in Jewish boxing. Sadly, there were more canceled or postponed fights this year than actual fights. The Jewish Boxing Blog summed up the frustratingly unfair outcomes in an article last month.

David Alaverdian went 2-0-1 with 2 KOs in the pro ranks. He deserved to win the draw. Shawn Sarembock improved his record to 8-0 with 8 KOs. Stefi Cohen and Isaac Chilemba each went 1-1 this year. Igor Lazarev lost both of his fights but deserved to win one of them.

On September 15, four Jewish boxers took part in three bouts in Ashdod, Israel. Kickboxing star Itay Gershon won his pro boxing debut. Prospect Sagiv Ismailov won his third fight, and Aki Mishaev scored a knockout in his second fight. Ismailov, Mishaev, and Lazarev are among the Jewish boxers scheduled to fight on a card in Bnei Ayish, Israel on February 9. The resurgence of pro boxing in Israel is a big development.

There were quite a few boxing exhibition events in Israel this year, a great way to grow the sport in the country. Former world champion Hagar Finer put on a couple of them. Mor Oknin, Mikhael Ostroumov, and Nikita Basin were among the Jewish pro boxers to take part in such shows.

Former world champion Robert Cohen Z"L and heavyweight contender Tim Puller Z"L passed away this year.

The JBB reviewed Holocaust Histories, a podcast about boxers victimized during the Shoah. The reviews of books published this year or late last year include Boxing in Atlantic City, Gangsters vs Nazis, and The Unexpected Danny Green.

Some noteworthy profiles of past Jewish boxers were of Charley Phil Rosenberg, Henry Nissen, Ray Miller, Jack "Kid" Berg, and Izzy Zerling. Then, there was a look back at the wild Israeli amateur boxing scandal in 1988 and the night in 1929 when five Jewish boxing stars fought to raise money for the Jews of British Palestine. Two articles examined the different brands of boxing gloves and the importance of pad work.

The JBB conducted interviews with a few Jewish boxers this year. The interview with Yuri Foreman became two articles, one on his ambitions and another on his reflections. There were two separate interviews with David Alaverdian, one in article form, and a different one in video form. Shawn Michael Sarembock told The JBB his inspiring story. And the two articles about Dmitriy Salita concentrated on his career as a boxer and his work as a promoter.

As for The Jewish Boxing Blog, this year was amazing! Two of the last four months have seen the most traffic in the nearly 13-year history of this site. The other two months were not far behind. The number of followers of the Jewish Boxing Instagram page has more than tripled in the past year, and Twitter followers have doubled in the past two years. A special shoutout to supporters of the Jewish Boxing BuyMeACoffee page ($3 for all newsletters). You are truly appreciated!

Next year looks like there will be a few pro debuts, which is exciting. And hopefully, there will be many more fights. All the best to you and yours.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Several Jewish Boxers in Action on Israel Card in February

A boxing show to be held on February 9 in Bnei Ayish, Israel will feature several Jewish boxers in action. Currently, Jewish boxers are scheduled to take part in four different fights.

Sagiv Ismailov (3-0, 2 KOs), a 20 year old Israeli, is scheduled to face Kristi Doni, (2-2, 2 KOs) a 19 year old from Albania, in a super middleweight affair. Ismailov last fought in September, earning a unanimous decision victory over fellow Jewish boxer Nikita Basin. Doni last fought in November. He was stopped in the fourth round against the undefeated Mohamed Elmaghraby.

Igor Lazarev is set to return against Vladislav Gaurec (0-3), a 20 year old from Moldova, in a lightweight contest. Lazarev, a 36 year old resident of Israel, is 8-4 with 3 KOs. Lazarev has dropped his last three fights to opponents who now boast a combined record of 21-0. Lazarev deserved to win one of those fights, a bout last March against Dominik Harwankowski. Lazarev was stopped in his last fight against Angelo Pena in April. Gaureac last fought on December 2, a unanimous decision loss.

Aki Mishaev (2-0, 1 KOs), a 36 year old Israeli, is set to face debutant Andrey Bordyoug at welterweight. Mishaev scored a second round TKO in his last fight in September. BoxRec lists Bordyoug's home country as Israel, but nothing more is known about him at this time.

Alex Karchevski is slated to make his pro debut on the card. The 31 year old Israeli is an experienced amateur boxer. He is scheduled to face Leon Balandine, who is also making his debut. Baladine is a 21 year old from Israel.

All bouts are scheduled for four rounds. The Jewish Boxing Blog will have more information about and previews of these fights in the coming weeks. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Stefi Cohen to Face Kedra Bradley in January

Dr. Stefanie Cohen is scheduled to face Kedra Bradley on January 27 at Quiet Canyon Country Club in Montebello, California, USA . The two had been scheduled to face each other in October.

Cohen, a 30 year old is 2-1-1 with one KO. She has had to endure a number of cancellations during her brief pro boxing career. Stefi had been scheduled to fight Paola Ortiz in California on October 22. Ortiz backed out and Bradley, a 26 year old former college basketball player, was inserted as a late replacement, but the fight never happened. Cohen said at the time that Bradley backed out at the last second.

At the time, The Jewish Boxing Blog published a preview of the scheduled Cohen-Bradley fight, which can be found here. Since then, Bradley (1-5-1) has fought once. On November 19, Bradley gave up nearly five pounds to bantamweight Michelle Morales (4-0). They fought next door to Morales's hometown and yet, Bradley came away with a split draw, a very impressive showing against a heavier undefeated opponent.

Cohen-Bradley is scheduled for four rounds.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Top 5 Jewish North African Boxers

Ron Schneck's Top 5 Jewish North African Boxers

Ron Schneck has made invaluable contributions to the field of Jewish boxing history. An expert on the subject, there is likely no one alive who knows more about Jewish boxers from North Africa. Over the years, he has been very generous in sharing his knowledge with The Jewish Boxing Blog.

Ron acknowledges there are many great boxers who were considered for this list, which he was asked to limit only to Jewish boxers from North Africa. Boxers with North African heritage but who were born and raised in Europe such as Fabrice Benachou and Stephane Haccoun were not eligible. Even so, it's a very strong list.

1. Robert Cohen
2. Alphonse Halimi
3. Victor "Young" Perez
4. Felix Brami
T5. Nessin Max Cohen
T5. Emile Chemama

Other Top 5s
Jewish Canadian Boxers
Jewish British Boxers
Jewish Israeli Boxers
Jewish Female Boxers
Jewish French Boxers
Jewish Dutch Boxers
Jewish Londoner Boxers
Jewish South African Boxers
Jewish Boxers since 1960

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Shawn Sarembock to Fight in February

Junior middleweight Shawn Michael Sarembock is scheduled to fight on February 17 in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Sarembock, a pro since 2019, is 8-0 with 8 KOs.

Sarembock has fought all of his pro bouts in Tijuana. "I love fighting in Tijuana," he told The Jewish Boxing Blog recently. "The crowd is amazing. They're very respectful. I have nothing but good things to say about fighting in Mexico," Shawn said. "Except cutting weight there."

Sarembock's last fight was March 25, a TKO victory over Miguel Reyes Gonzalez. That fight lasted a minute and 36 seconds into the fourth round, the deepest into a fight Shawn has gone as a prizefighter. He has only seen the fourth round in one other fight.

Check out The Jewish Boxing Blog's interview with Shawn Sarembock.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Alex Karchevski to Make Pro Debut in February

Light heavyweight Alex Karchevski is scheduled to make his professional debut on February 9, 2023 in Ashdod, Israel. Karchevski qualified for the 2022 European amateur championships but couldn't secure funding and was unable to participate.

Karchevski is a 31 year old father of two. He is from Ofakim, Israel which is just west of Be'er Sheva.  He moved to Ashdod as a youth and now lives in Lod. He fights out of HaPoel Bat Yam boxing club. Vitali Kaganov has been his trainer.

Alex's father forced him to box when the family lived in Ofakim. Alex didn't like it. After three years, the family moved to Ashdod and Karchevski continued boxing at HaPoel Bat Yam. That was the turning point in his career.

Karchevski is an experienced boxer who can fight in a variety of styles. He has sparred with pro boxer Nikita Basin among many others. Karchevsky recently fought Duncan Nwaoha in an exhibition match late last month. Alex controlled center ring and press forward against the taller slick southpaw.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Dmitriy Salita: The Promoter

On a typical Friday in the fall of 2016, before the sun sets to mark the beginning of Shabbos, Dmitriy Salita purchases The Wall Street Journal to read over the weekend. A brief article about a two-time Olympic gold medalist catches his eye. In many ways, that moment has not only shaped Salita's post-fighting career but also the trajectory of women's boxing.
Dmitriy Salita
After a pro boxing career that lasted from 2001-2013, Dmitriy Salita (35-2-1, 18 KOs) needed to find something new. After reading that article about Claressa Shields, Salita tells The Jewish Boxing Blog, "As they say, the rest is history."

If the 27 year old Shields retired today, the 13-0 "GWOAT" is a surefire Hall of Famer. In addition to her two Olympic gold medals, she has held world title belts in three weight divisions and has become the undisputed world champion in the junior middleweight and middleweight divisions.

In her second pro fight, Shields became the first woman to headline a premium television card when she was featured in the main event of a 2017 Showtime show. She hasn't been the last. Salita believes, "She is the right woman at the right time."


"The Good Lord gives us talent. I love boxing. I love every aspect of being a promoter," Salita declares. 

His first promoter was Bob Arum, for whom Salita has tremendous respect. "I was exposed to the highest level early in my career," Dmitriy says. "Being a wondrous kid, I wanted to know how everything works." After studying Top Rank's operation, he would promote some of his own later fights.

Salita says his experience as a professional boxer has helped his work as a promoter tremendously. "There is often a disconnect between the business side and the athletics side. Many smart businessmen have come into boxing and failed. There are many details they don't take the time to learn. Boxing is a unique business."

When asked for the toughest part about being a promoter, he responds with a chuckle, "Most of it is tough." It's a hard business. Those who have done it for many years have an advantage because they possess the necessary connections.

"I'm knocking on the door. I'm getting a seat at the table," Salita says before pausing for a beat and continuing with bemusement, "But I'm not invited!" He's quick to add, "I have a good working relationship with the other promoters."

He is very confident in his new profession. "I have an eye and an ability to identify talent," he says.  "Of all the top promoters, I have the most talent [for this]."

Dmitriy understands how far he has come and just how improbable his story is. "I grew up in Odessa in the Soviet Union. I came to this great country; I was on welfare, food stamps. And here I am now."


In addition to Shields, Salita has helped bring heavyweight Otto Wallin to world level thanks to a tough fight with heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in 2019. He has also guided the career of heavyweight Jarrell Miller, who had been set to challenge Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight title before failed PED tests halted his progression. Developing fighters is the most satisfying part of the job for Salita.

Another heavyweight in his stable is Jermaine Franklin, who recently traveled to England to fight former world title beltholder Dillian Whyte on November 26. Two days before, Salita made headlines at the press conference.

During the staredown between Whyte and Franklin, Dmitriy stood to Franklin's right. Franklin, Whyte, and Whyte's promoter Eddie Hearn looked like giant skyscrapers while Dmitriy resembled something like a single family home.

Salita told SecondsOut, "Dillian was trying to intimidate Jermaine, and I said, 'He's staring right back at you.'" Whyte then pushed Dmitriy, and Dmitriy pushed him right back. In many ways, that moment has best represented Salita's career as a promoter. He may get pushed by the big guys, but he'll push right back.

"I'm allergic to being bullied," Salita tells The JBB. "And Whyte tried to bully me when he pushed me."

Video of the exchange went viral. But instead of focusing on Dmitriy's feisty courage, the social media trolls, bots, and bigots peddled in the old anti-Semitic tropes of supposed Jewish wealth and power. The hateful comments masqueraded as "jokes," although one wonders if those claiming comedy understand the concept of a joke.

A religious Jew, Dmitriy proudly wears a kippah in public. It's a source of strength, but can also make him a target.

At the fight, in Wembley Arena, Dmitriy says a man in the third row yelled threatening anti-Jewish comments at him. Dmitriy noticed that security soon ejected the man, a step in the right direction. "It shows that kind of thing isn't accepted," he notes.


Despite the obstacles and the odds, Dmitriy Salita continues to make a name in boxing. He's banging on the door, bringing his own chair, and forging his own spot at the sport's proverbial table. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

The Long, Eventful Life of Izzy Zerling

Izzy Zerling, born Srol Tzerlin on November 22, 1914 in Valga, Russian Empire, lived a long, eventful life. Valga, called Walk in German, remained under the talons of the Russian czar until Estonia declared independence in February of 1918. After the Bolshevik takeover of Russia, Estonians fought the Reds from 1918 until 1920 for their independence.

Leaving from Libau, Latvia on the aptly named SS Estonia, nine-year old Srol set foot on Ellis Island in New York on December 1, 1923. He arrived with his mother Lea, a 36 year old housewife who could read and write in German, and his seven year old brother, Elie. Their closest relative in the U.S. was Lea's sister Sara Pavlovsky.

Srol grew up in New York's Lower East Side. At some point he changed his name to Isidore, Izzy for short, and the family's surname became Zerling. The change would have happened while the family had been living in New York, because names were not changed at Ellis Island. According to esteemed historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., the notion that any names were changed upon arrival at Ellis Island is a myth. Immigrants Americanized their own names.

At 16 years old, Izzy applied to become an amateur boxer. He had been training at Stillman's Gym since he was ten. The doctor found a heart murmur and rejected his application. Over the next two years, Zerling returned frequently, over a dozen times, and each time the doctor refused him. Izzy participated in over fifty bootleg bouts before finally gaining an amateur license around 1932.

Sporting blond hair and blue eyes, Zerling stood 5' 6.5" and began as a flyweight before moving up to the bantamweight division. "My first fight, I lost a close fight," Izzy said of his amateur career. "My seventh fight, I had a winning streak. I fought the [future New York] Golden Gloves champion, Johnny Cabello."

Against Cabello, Zerling shook hands and then went back to his corner. When it was time to fight, he inexplicably tried to shake hands with Cabello again and got hit for his trouble. He lost that fight by first round KO but won the rematch convincingly. As an amateur, Zerling twice beat another New York Golden Gloves champion, Davy Crawford.

Izzy turned pro in 1934 and fought mostly as a featherweight. He was knocked out in the third round of his debut. "I forgot to duck," he joked. His heaviest weight for a fight was just over the lightweight limit. BoxRec lists 22 fights during his three-and-a-half year career. Elsewhere, he's given credit for "around 37 fights."

Zerling fought in four and six round affairs as a pro. He lost all his six-rounders. Izzy fought in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx in such venues as St. Nicolas Arena, New York Coliseum, and Broadway Arena. BoxRec lists his record as 14-6-2 with 3 KOs.

Izzy Zerling in 1936

Zerling applied for American citizenship in 1936. He lived at 216 Clinton St. in Manhattan at the time. The following year, he founded G&S Sporting Goods, which was located at 43 Essex St., less than a half mile from his home. He manufactured and sold boxing equipment and other sporting goods.

In 1940, Zerling married Rebecca "Betty" Seidenberg, a 20 year old immigrant from Poland. The couple lived in an apartment above Zerling's store with Betty's dad, mom, and younger sister. His citizenship application was approved shortly after his wedding. The couple would have two daughters and a son.

When the United States entered World War II, Zerling hoped to join the Army. He tried to enlist, but Betty wouldn't sign the papers. So he waited until he was drafted. "I wanted to be in the Army because [heavyweight champion] Joe Louis and all of my friends who were fighting, they were all in the Army."

Instead, Izzy served in the Navy aboard the USS Booth beginning in the middle of 1942. Zerling was the fitness coordinator on the ship. It was his job to whip the sailors into shape. The Booth docked in Casablanca and Italy during the war. Zerling was occasionally challenged to a boxing match by unsuspecting sailors who didn't know he was a former pro. He decided to show up his challengers by utilizing his defensive skills rather than hurting the poor saps. Eventually, Zerling was asked to represent the Booth in boxing matches for the enjoyment of the sailors. Weighing 160 pounds at the time, he fought bigger men. Izzy was honorably discharged at the end of the war with a bad back. His brother, who served in the Army, spent a year as a prisoner of war in Germany.

After the war, Izzy continued to train fighters while running G&S. He was one of the first coaches to work with female fighters, and trained young kids throughout the rest of his life. In 1954, Zerling was the guest of honor at the Children's Aid Society Banquet. His son Lenard took over G&S in 1957. Izzy opened the Izzy Zerling Youth Recreation Center in 1966, a non-profit designed to serve socio-economically disadvantaged children. It was located in Brooklyn on Church Avenue.

Dione Warwick once did a benefit show for the center in the early 1970s. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, the center produced quality amateur boxers. Among the more colorful people Zerling trained were Flory "Non-stop" Goldberg and David Ruggerio, a famous chef who used to work for the mob. In a 2003 interview, Zerling boasted that, at nearly 90 years old, he weighed a svelte 140 pounds.

On September 10, 2011 at the age of 96, Izzy Zerling died. He is buried at Montefiori Cemetery in Queens, New York. G&S, still owned by his descendants, closed its physical store in 2014 but continues to operate online. It's just the most tangible legacy of the long, eventful life of a true mensch, Izzy Zerling.

Interview with Izzy Zerling. Randal Library Oral History Collection. April 22, 2003.
New York Amsterdam News. 30 Jan 1971: 20. (Warwick benefit)
On Essex. Vimeo. Jan 28, 2010.
Sherman, Gabriel.  Vanity Fair; New York Vol. 64, Iss. 5, May 2022.
Star in the Ring. YouTube. Mar 1, 2011.
Other sources include his immigration record, his naturalization records, the 1940 U.S. census, and Find a Grave.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Dmitriy Salita: The Boxer

In preparing for the last fight of his career, Dmitriy Salita experienced a profound realization. "I didn't want to die in the ring."

Salita, a former boxer with a 35-2-1 record  (18 KOs) and now a respected promoter, tells The Jewish Boxing Blog in an interview that throughout his career, "I was so focused on winning even if it meant dying in the ring." But in the run-up to that final fight in 2013, he recalls, "I began to find value in other areas of life. I didn't want to die in the ring."

Born on April 4, 1982, Dmitriy immigrated to Brooklyn from the Soviet Union as a kid. He found a home in the Starrett City Boxing Club and a mentor in Jimmy O'Pharrow. "He taught me about boxing, how to be a leader, and about life," Salita says of the late Jimmy O. "He would explain situations in life to me. He was like a prophet."

Salita describes the Starrett City Boxing Club as an intense place filled with aggression and a lot of egos. He still marvels at Jimmy O.'s leadership in running the club. Dmitriy often felt judged in boxing circles because of his appearance and his status as an immigrant, which in part fueled his success.

As a teenager, he fought in the New York Golden Gloves at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, an experience that filled him with "inspiration and aspiration." As part of a decorated amateur career, Salita won the 2000 under-19 U.S. national championships. After winning the 2001 New York Golden Gloves in the 139-pound division, he earned the Sugar Ray Robinson Award as the best boxer in the tournament. Those were two of his proudest moments as a fighter.


As Dmitriy took off his shirt and had those small gloves taped up before his pro debut in 2001, the magnitude of the moment struck him. "It was a strong moment. I realized I'm putting it all on the line," he remembers. "I might die. Of course there was no real risk, but that was my mentality."

Asked for his best win, Salita responds, "Most people think the toughest fights are when you reach the top. But the toughest fights are often early in your career."

He recalls his fifth pro fight. He took on a tough journeyman named Rashaan Abdul Blackburn at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas back in 2002. "I was a 19 year old kid, and he was a 28 year old grown man. That man was strong, muscular," Salita says. "We both had small eight-ounce Reyes gloves, the ones with the horsehair padding. He jabbed me in the first round, and I could feel his knuckles on my teeth. The pain was quite significant. Even after all these years, I still remember that feeling."

Not only does he remember that feeling, but after twenty years and nearly forty fights, he correctly remembers the opponent's age. Incidentally, Salita, who scored two knockdowns and won by unanimous decision, and Blackburn share the same birthday, nine years apart.


Jimmy O. once told Dmitriy, "If you ever see three guys out there, hit the one in the middle." Dmitriy laughed, but Jimmy O. said he was serious. Early in his pro career Salita was thumbed in the eye. "And it happened. I saw three guys!" he says.

"So you hit the one in the middle?" he is asked.
"I hit the one in the middle and dropped him!"

Dmitriy Salita, photo courtesy of The Times of Israel

Salita believes his best attributes as a fighter were hard work and mental strength." He notes, "The toughest opponent is yourself. The mental aspect is very important in boxing." In the ring, his jab, body punches, and left hook were his best weapons.

His 2005 TKO win over Shawn Gallegos to snag the NABA 140-pound title and his 2008 unanimous decision victory over Raul Munoz at Madison Square Garden to win the IBF international and WBF world junior welterweight titles were among his proudest achievements as a pro. So was the fact that he refused to fight on Shabbos.

In this moment of increased attention on anti-Semitism in the United States, Salita explains that he was often the target of anti-Semitic heckles throughout his career. It's important to remember: anti-Semitism has been an unfortunately persistent phenomenon, not merely a recent problem.


On December 5, 2009, Salita traveled to Newcastle, England to take on WBA junior welterweight world champion, Amir Khan. Khan scored three knockdowns and the fight was stopped in the first round. "I was stunned, but I wasn't hurt," Salita says.

Dmitriy calls the Khan fight his most disappointing moment as a fighter, but it wasn't all negative. "It was a great experience. It opened a lot of doors for me." Salita saw Khan at a recent event in England and the two reconnected. "He told me, 'That fight doesn't count. I think I would've beaten you anyway, but the fight doesn't count.'"

When Khan's first round defeat to Breidis Prescott is brought up, ever the proud competitor, Salita draws a distinction. "He was knocked out in the Prescott fight. I wasn't knocked out."

After the Khan fight, Jimmy O. wanted legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward brought onto the team. Another of Jimmy O.'s great qualities was his ability to delegate and bring in help. The late Oscar Suarez and the late Francisco Guzman had contributed to Dmitriy's development. So too had the knowledgeable Hector Rocha, who in his 90s still goes to the gym every day. "He's one of those young old guys," Dmitriy jokes.

Steward's nephew Sugar Hill did most of the training of Dmitriy at that time. "I was already a developed fighter, but they could see little things that made a big difference." The Kronk Gym in Detroit possessed the same atmosphere of intensity as the Starrett City Boxing Club had years earlier. Dmitriy felt at home there.

After the Khan loss, Salita notched five straight wins. Then came his last fight, a 2013 showdown against Gabriel Bracero. He shuts down any talk about the knockdown the ref overlooked or that he made many of Bracero's punches miss. "That wasn't me," Dmitriy says simply, "I didn't want to die in the ring."

He then knew it was time to retire. Soon after, Dmitriy Salita began a new endeavor as a promoter. But that's a story for next time.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

David Alaverdian Wins By TKO

David Alaverdian beat Edgar Mendoza at Auditorio Ernesto Rufo in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico tonight. Alaverdian's body assault led to a second round TKO.

In that second round, Mendoza let his hands go. Alaverdian blocked and landed his patented left hook to the body. As Mendoza fell to the canvas in pain, David pounded his gloves together in satisfaction.

Whatever chance the taller man from Mexico City had to win, he gave it away by fighting the wrong fight. He tried to trade with the Israeli instead of utilizing his reach advantage. Alaverdian has said, "For myself, it has always been easier to fight taller guys on the outside and counter them rathar walking them down." Mendoza played right into David's fists.

Mendoza showed guts to beat the count. After a clinch, Alaverdian landed a smooth combination that included left hook to the body and another to the head. Mendoza continued to return fire and ate a straight right for his trouble. Another left hook to the body put Mendoza down again and the referee immediately waved off the fight.

Alaverdian is now 7-0-1 with 6 KOs. Mendoza is now 3-9 with one KO. This is the third time he has been stopped.

courtesy of La Voz del Boxeo

Friday, December 2, 2022

David Alaverdian Weighs In

David Alaverdian and Edgar Mendoza Hernandez weighed in ahead of their super flyweight+ bout tomorrow at Auditorio Ernesto Rufo in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Alaverdian came in at 115.7 pounds and Mendoza was 115.3.

Alaverdian, a 29 year old from Israel, is 6-0-1 with 5 KOs. His lightest weight has been 110.5 pounds ( a bogus split decision draw three weeks ago in which David deserved to win) while his previous heaviest was 114.8 pounds. Alavardian told The Jewish Boxing Blog, he believes the scale was off. He said he was 115.3 pounds when he left home. After five hours and a trip to the bathroom, the scale claimed he somehow gained weight, which of course is impossible. Before stepping on the scale, officials noticed on the bout sheet Alaverdian was from Israel. With a raised eyebrow, one said, "Israel, hmm. Krav Maga?"

Mendoza is a 29 year old from Mexico City, Mexico with a record of 3-8 with one KO. His heaviest weight was for his last fight on November 11 when Mendoza came in at 118.5 pounds. His lightest weight was 110.8 pounds back in 2019.

BoxRec lists both Alaverdian and Mendoza as "suspended" because they fought on November 11 in separate bouts. Everyone from that card has the same label. Boxers are usually "suspended" for a period of time after a fight so that they don't fight too often for health and safety reasons. Typically BoxRec lists the commission in charge of issuing the suspension and either the expiration date of the suspension or that it is indefinite. BoxRec only has the word "suspended" on the pages of the boxers from the Acapulco card, which is unusual.

The health and safety of the fighters should be paramount, but suspensions should be based on what happens in the fight. Alaverdian was barely touched in his last bout. Mendoza was stopped, so his safety is a bigger issue. Fortunately, he wasn't knocked unconscious and didn't suffer a prolonged beating last month. His previous fight before that was in July, not unreasonably recent. The only other time Mendoza was stopped was in 2016. But the recent stoppage is concerning.

For a preview of this fight, check out "David Alaverdian Back in Action This Saturday."

Note: The idea of adding a "+" to a bout where the fighters are barely over the division's limit comes from the great Tim Boxeo.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

David Alaverdian Back in Action This Saturday

David Alaverdian is scheduled to fight on Saturday, December 3 against Edgar Mendoza Hernandez at Auditorio Ernesto Rufo in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Both men fought on the same card on November 11 in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico.

David Alaverdian (6-0-1, 5 KOs) is a 29 year old from Nahariya, Israel. On November 11, the judges called his fight with Angel Geovanny Meza Morales a split draw. It was a horrible decision meant to save the local kid's undefeated record. Alaverdian landed about as many punches as Meza threw. The judges seemed to discount David's jab completely. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 59-55 for Alaverdian.

Edgar Mendoza (3-8, 1 KO), nicknamed Torito, is a 29 year old from Mexico City, Mexico. Torito translates to "little bull," and it isn't an apt description of Mendoza. A tall super flyweight, Mendoza is best on the outside keeping his opponent at range.

Teddy Atlas and Emanuel Steward, both legendary trainers and tv analysts, used to say they preferred taller fighters. But taller fighters tend to have skinny legs and at times Mendoza has exhibited the grace of a newborn fawn while circling the perimeter of the ring. In his 2015 debut against Edgar Hernandez Villanueva, Mendoza traded too often with his shorter foe and lost a majority decision.

On November 11, Mendoza was beaten badly by Ernesto Garcia, an aggressive fighter who switches stances like Alaverdian, and cuts off the ring well. Torito showed heart and a willingness to trade while under fire, but he was officially knocked down three times in under two rounds of action. His corner mercifully stopped the contest.

This is the right opponent on the right timeline for Alaverdian after that frustrating draw. Mendoza, a tall guy who lets his hands go, of course has a puncher's chance, but he boasts of only one KO in eleven fights. He is tough however, only stopped twice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

News and Notes

Shawn Sarembock, a 31 year old junior middleweight, had been tentatively scheduled to fight on December 16, but his bout has been pushed back to January although nothing is official yet. Check out his interview last month with The Jewish Boxing Blog.

Yuri Foreman worked with his old trainer Joe Grier this past week. Grier, who is retired, helped Foreman win the WBA junior middleweight world championship in 2009. Grier threw in the towel after Foreman tore his ACL in his first title defense against Miguel Cotto in Yankee Stadium. In so doing, Grier attempted to save his fighter by stopping the fight in the eighth round, but referee Arthur Mercante Jr. inexplicably rejected the towel and forced the fight to continue. Foreman, normally an agile boxer, was a sitting duck because of his compromised leg.

David Kaminsky, a 22 year old super middleweight, had surgery this week to repair a torn ACL and MCL. Despite the injuries, he attempted to fight on October 8th, but the California State Athletic Commission won't allow him to enter the ring until his injuries are surgically repaired. The absolute minimum timetable to rehabilitate after ACL surgery is six months, but a year is closer to the norm.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Frustratingly Unfair Decisions

There is an old anti-Semitic trope that asserts Jews run the world, and since boxing is part of the world, they run boxing, too. This line of thinking is particularly deleterious, because it casts suspicion on any individual Jew who achieves success. At one time, Jews were certainly overrepresented as boxing promoters, but overrepresentation, of course, does not equal control.

If, for some peculiar reason, we accept the anti-Semites' view that Jews control boxing, it certainly hasn't helped Jewish boxers. This year has seen several frustratingly bad decisions go against Jewish fighters.

The worst decision came in Poland this past March. Igor Lazarev dominated the local kid, Dominik Harwankowski. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 59-55 for Lazarev, but the local judges disagreed. Eugeniusz Tuszynski, Tomasz Chwoszcz, and Arek Malek scored the fight 59-55, 58-56, and 58-56 respectively for their fellow countryman. The JBB soon learned that Arek Malek had a significant conflict of interest considering he was Harwankowski's mentor.

On November 11, David Alaverdian showed off his skills against local prospect Angel Geovanny Meza Morales in Mexico. The JBB scored the fight 59-55 for Alaverdian. The judges' scores are a bit of a mystery, but one had it 59-55 one way, another scored it 56-58 the other way, and the third judge saw it 57-57 for a spit draw.

The most bizarre incident dates to Mor Oknin's fight on February 26 in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Oknin claims he defeated Jose Cariaga by fourth round TKO. BoxRec lists the result as a third round TKO victory for Cariaga. The JBB investigated and was told by an editor of BoxRec that the site has "lots of problems with wrong reports." BoxRec posts whatever result the local commission reports. This fall, Oknin told The JBB that an effort to overturn the result was ongoing.

There has been no evidence of anti-Semitism as a motivation for any of these bad decisions. They were almost certainly erroneous decisions made to favor the local fighter regardless of the background of the opponent. The pro game is so decentralized that local commissions can pretty much do whatever they want. 

Jewish boxers also suffered from bad decision in amateur boxing this year. During the European Amateur Championships in May, Alaverdian and Miroslav Kapuler were the victims of curious judging. In Alaverdian's fight, two judges inconceivably scored the third round for his opponent. Kapuler clearly controlled the second round of his bout, but two judges inexplicably scored the round for his opponent. Judge Johany Maden of France was the common denominator in both decisions, scoring against the Israelis regardless of their performance in the ring.

The IBA, which ran the European amateur champions, is so corrupt it has been barred from running the Olympic boxing tournament. That corruption is the likely culprit for those bad decisions.

For all the power a faceless group of Jews supposedly possesses, it sure hasn't helped actual Jewish boxers. Those boxers have been on the short end of some terrible decisions this year, not because of their religious persuasion, but because the amateur game is shrouded in corruption and the pro game is so decentralized that results are determined by the whims of individual commissions.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Importance of Pad Work

*Pat-pat-pat-pat* Floyd Mayweather's Grant gloves land with a unique mixture of speed and grace on the carefully placed Everlast mitts of his uncle Roger. A generation of aspiring boxers watch as Floyd throws nine punches in less than two seconds on HBO's hit show 24/7.

Origins and Popularization
The origins of pad work are murky. All roads lead to an unsourced Wikipedia article, but there are some verifiable moments of significance. The martial arts legend and actor Bruce Lee designed a focus mitt that looked something like a baseball catcher's glove. Hall of Fame coach Emanuel Steward brought pad work into vogue by initially wearing boxing gloves backwards and catching his charge's punches on the padded backside of the gloves.

But Mayweather's extravagant combinations on 24/7, intricately coordinated with his uncle, popularized pad work. Nowadays, one can find countless social media videos mimicking Mayweather's moves.

Bruce Lee's focus mitts

Styles of Pad Work
Some older trainers disapprove of pad work. Former WBA junior middleweight world champion Yuri Foreman states, "Russian trainers told me, 'Don't embrace the pads,' when I was young." A native of the Soviet Union, Foreman immigrated to Israel before moving to Brooklyn. "It messes up distance. Your perception of distance is very important in boxing."

Adam Hadad, a coach based in Israel, explains why older trainers might be against the exercise. "They often see that Mayweather style and think it’s not real boxing, and they're right. But real pad work is highly valuable and a more modern form of training, so it makes sense that the old guard doesn’t like it."

Shawn Sarembock, an 8-0 fighter with 8 KOs, says, "We use zero hand pads, but not by choice." His dad and trainer, Neil, was a champion kickboxer whose career was cut short due to injury. "It's just me and my dad and I don't want to rip his arms off," Shawn says. "But if I did pad work, I wouldn't do it in the Mayweather style, because I don't fight like that."

Former pro boxer turned coach, Tony Milch says, "I did a lot of pad work with [coach] Ian Burbedge when I was a pro." But he notes, "We didn't do speed pads- Mayweather style- ever." 

"The problem with modern pad work stems from Mayweather’s pad work during open workouts before fights," explains Coach Hadad, who counts Israeli amateur standouts David Bazov and Tomer Benny among his fighters "In front of the cameras Floyd and his uncle did the Mayweather style of pad work: continuous, light combinations with lots of flashy movements. What the Mayweathers did in front of the cameras was just for show."

According to Hadad, a coach- the late James Ricky Coward, known as Coach Rick- started a program called Mittology which taught coaches to hold the pads like Roger Mayweather to produce flashy combinations. Hadad says the videos portrayed this style "as if it were real work rather than fancy stuff for the cameras."

"This style, being visually appealing, proliferated in boxing training because it’s highly Instagramable," Hadad concludes.
Floyd Mayweather works the pads with his uncle Roger

David Alaverdian (6-0-1, 5 KOs), who works with Floyd Mayweather Sr., notes that the fancy Mayweather style of pad work has it's place but can't be the only method. "You gotta do the old school and new pad work style together. You can't just do the new one.

"The biggest problem with the new one is they don't use a lot of footwork," Alaverdian says. "They stand in place, and it's a lot of combinations. So if your opponent is just in front of you, you're going to unload some crazy nice-looking combinations. But what happens when somebody has really good footwork running around the ring? You can't do nothing. You can't even land your jab on this guy."

Hadad agrees that there is something to the Mayweather style, "There is some value to it in terms of building instincts and flow." Specifically about Floyd and his uncle, he expounds, "What most people didn’t contextualize was that that pad work was built over two decades. The original combinations and sequences were sharp and explosive."

The Benefits of Pad Work
Pad work can be used for a variety of reasons. Junior middleweight Tony Milch used pads when he was an active boxer "for sharpness and angles as I was a tall boxer for the weight."

Yuri Foreman says, "I like doing the pads now because it challenges my stamina."

"I find that with beginners, working with the pads allows me to shape their punches and stance faster," Coach Adam Hadad explains. "With advanced fighters, it’s a great tool for tuning counter punches, reactions, and timing. It allows me to push the fighters to have a higher punch rate, more accurate punches, and better overall flow, especially for counter punching."

"That's an advantage that I have over a lot of boxers here in the States," David Alaverdian says of using the old school method of pad work. "Some coaches won't do the basic old school 1-2, jab, jab, jab 1-2 on the pads. They would just do these combination drills all the time. [In a fight against their boxers] I just started running around the ring and using a lot of footwork, and they just can't do anything."

Emanuel Steward works the pads with Thomas Hearns

Alaverdian says both old and new styles of pad work are useful together. "You gotta do both. Because there's a time your opponent's going to move and a time when your opponent's going to stand and trade with you."

Final Thoughts

"As a retired boxer and coach I believe pad work, of course, has its place," says Milch, "but it's not the most important. Overall you do need pad work to keep sharp, but it's not needed as much as boxers or people think nowadays."

"I would do pad work like Abel Sanchez and Triple G [Gennady Golovkin]," says Shawn Sarembock, who, like Milch, believes shadowboxing and sparring are more useful. "Like Robert Garcia does or like Manny Robles."  Sanchez, Garcia, and Robles are all top-level coaches who move around and call for punches that more closely simulate a fight than does the newer style of pad work. 

"It’s hard to maintain focus and motivation with bag work and shadowboxing," Hadad notes. "Pad work is highly engaging and responsive, so it makes training more fun and dynamic."

Though pad work can be quite useful for an expert coach like Hadad, Milch rightly observes, "A lot of people can look good on pads but cannot fight at all."

The opinions of boxers and coaches on pad work are quite nuanced . Those interviewed agree in some areas on the subject and disagree in others. The Mayweather style of pad work may or may not have some value but all agree it shouldn't be a fighter's primary training method. Some see more value in using the pads than others. "Everyone's different," Yuri Foreman puts it aptly. "There's not one approach."

Friday, November 11, 2022

David Alaverdian Deserved to Win, Fight Called Split Draw

Flyweights David Alaverdian and Angel Geovanny Meza Morales fought to a split draw tonight at GNP Segura Arena in humid Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. Alaverdian, a 29 year old from Israel, dominated the six-round fight virtually from start to finish and deserved to win by a wide margin.

From the opening bell, Alaverdian controlled center ring with his jab and feints from the orthodox stance. At first he threw a range-finding jab, but by the end of the round that jab was landing effectively. Meza, a 22 year old from Mexico, wasn't able to counter the entire fight and kept his hands home most of the way. When Meza did throw, David used the shoulder roll defense to slip the shots.

In the second round, Alaverdian landed a beautiful lead left as a southpaw, avoided Meza's right with a quick step back, and then landed an eye-catching counter left to punctuate the fight's prettiest combination. Alaverdian attacked the body and landed a left uppercut as a righty to easily take the round.

David exuded confidence in the ring by the third round. In that round and the next, he landed left uppercuts from the outside and lead lefts as a southpaw. Both shots are dangerous to throw because they leave one open for a counter. By consistently shooting those punches, Alaverdian showed no concern for Meza's hand speed or counters. In the fourth, the Mexican prospect landed a right while Alaverdian was against the ropes, but the Israeli had won every round to that point.

Meza came out with fire in the fifth and backed Alaverdian to the ropes where he began launching bombs. Body shots and a right uppercut landed. It seemed as if Alaverdian was getting a bit too cute feeling he had the fight in hand. While he continued to jab and land left hooks to the body periodically throughout the round, Meza won it. He had David's back to the ropes multiple times and showed a bigger commitment to the body than before.

Alaverdian won the sixth and final round with his jab. When Meza connected with a shot to the midsection, Alaverdian landed several right back.

The judges scored the bout 59-55 one way, 58-56 the other, and 57-57 although it wasn't clear which score corresponded with which fighter. "I'm kind of bummed out it's a draw," David told The Jewish Boxing BlogThe JBB scored the fight 59-55 for Alaverdian. The only round that was close was the fifth, which The JBB scored for Meza.

"I'm frustrated. I felt like for every shot he landed, I landed five," Alaverdian said. Boxing's scoring system is subjective, but to put it frankly, Alaverdian was robbed of a win. Perhaps the judges favored the local fighter, which happens far too often in the sport, but incompetence in judging worldwide has reached epidemic proportions.

Alaverdian is now 6-0-1 with 5 KOs) while Angel Meza is very fortunate to maintain an undefeated record at 4-0-2 with 4 KOs.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

David Alaverdian and Angel Meza Make Weight

David Alaverdian and Angel Geovanny Meza Morales both weighed in under the flyweight limit ahead of their six-round clash tomorrow at GNP Segura Arena in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico.

Alaverdian (6-0, 5 KOs), a 29 year old Israeli based in the U.S., came in at 110.5 pounds, the lightest of his pro career. His previous lightest weight was 112 while his heaviest has been 114.8, a very narrow range for a boxer and an indication of extreme discipline. Last month, Alaverdian told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I can make light flyweight as well." On social media yesterday, he mentioned he had the last couple of pounds to drop.

Meza (4-0-1, 4 KOs) is a formidable 22 year old from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Nicknamed Rayito, he also came in at 110.5 pounds. The lightest he's weighed was 110 pounds back in 2020. In his debut he came in at 121.8 pounds, by far the heaviest of his career. This will be Meza's third fight as a flyweight. He's had two as a super flyweight and one as a junior bantam.

During the weigh-in the MC announced that a boxer in a different fight was from Ukraine and another boxer from Romania. It turned out they were both from Armenia, and based on his reaction, Armenia is a country the MC had likely never heard of. During the stare-downs, the MC often pushed one of the fighters closer to the other, trying to generate some animosity. A different official moved Alaverdian and Meza closer during their stare-down, but the two were stoic and professional the entire time.

A coin was then flipped to choose corners. Alaverdian will receive his instructions in the red corner while Meza will fight out of the blue. The two then shook hands.

The event will be shown on Fite.tv. It can be viewed with a Fite + subscription, which is only $4.99 a month. Fite + is offering a seven day trial period, so the event can be viewed for free as long as the subscription is canceled before the trial period ends. Fite.TV can be watched on a smart tv, mobile device, or computer. Video quality can vary from event to event, but on the whole Fite.TV is quite reputable.

The JBB's preview of Alaverdian-Meza is here. Video of the weigh-in can be viewed here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Updates on Alaverdian, Bazov, and Cohen

David Alaverdian is scheduled to face Angel Geovanny Meza Morales at the WBC annual convention in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico this Friday. Here is The Jewish Boxing Blog's preview of the fight. The card is slated to be shown on Fite TV. It's a six-round flyweight affair. Former two-division world champion Carolina Duer is at the convention.

David Bazov had been scheduled to make his pro debut on November 12 in Kosovo. He is now off the card. Bazov fought in an exhibition match just a couple of weeks ago.

Stefi Cohen mentioned that December 10 was a possible date for her return to the ring, but she is now scheduled to fight on January 27, 2023. The fight is penciled in for Quiet Canyon Country Club in Montebello, California, USA. It's a four-rounder in the super bantamweight division against an opponent to be announced at a later date. The event is to be shown on UFC Fight Pass.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Dr. Stefi Cohen May Fight in December

 Dr. Stefi Cohen was recently asked on social media about her next fight. She responded by saying, "December 10ish." The fight is also pegged to take place in the U.S. state of California although nothing is official.

Cohen had been scheduled to fight Ontario, California on October 22, but her opponent backed out just before the weigh-in. Stefi sports a record of 2-1-1 with one KO during her boxing career. Cohen, as is the case with most boxers, has had quite a few fights cancelled during her career, which began in June of last year.

A 30 year old native of Venezuela, she is currently based in Miami, Florida. Stefi is a world record-holding powerlifter, entrepreneur, and social media star. She has also been open about her struggles with anxiety. She admitted she experiences a fear of failure, fear of disappointing others and herself, and a fear of looking bad. Though her record contains blemishes, Stefi has acclimated herself to the ring quite well for someone who began boxing just two years ago.

"I never imagined I'd be doing any of this at 30 years old," Cohen recently wrote, "At this rate I won't be surprised if I become like... a 52 year old carpenter living in Arkansas with three kids that aren't even mine."

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Back from the Brink: Interview with Shawn Sarembock

Shawn Sarembock, now 8-0 with 8 KOs, found himself on a potentially disastrous path as a teenager. "I was rebellious, a trouble maker," he told The Jewish Boxing Blog in a phone interview. His teen years were filled with "drugs, drinking, and girls."

At the age of 19, Shawn had an epiphany while staying in a house filled with drug addicts. "What am I doing?" he said to himself. "I called my dad to pick me up, and we started training again the next day." Shawn immediately stopped using drugs.

Born on January 11, 1991 in California to South African parents, Shawn spent two years living with his mother in Tel Aviv, Israel after his parents divorced. He then moved back to the United States to live with his dad, Neil. A champion kickboxer whose dreams were derailed after suffering a freak injury in sparring, Neil transitioned to training boxers and studied under the tutelage of Hall of Famers Jesse Reid and Jackie McCoy at the Westminster Boxing Club in California.

When Shawn was four years old, Neil began teaching his son the sweet science with hand pads. The training continued until Shawn's life spiraled out of control. When he began training again as a 19 year old, "Boxing was like riding a bike," Shawn remembers. "It all came back to me." But it wasn't all easy.

Shawn started living in his father's gym in a Mexican section of Phoenix, Arizona. He slept on a mattress on the floor in the gym's office. He showered at a local gym and washed his clothes in a neighborhood laundromat where Spanish was the primary spoken language. "It's a cliché about boxers: without boxing we'd be either dead or in jail. But for me, it's true," Shawn explains.

He spent two years focusing on the fundamentals with his dad. "It took time to get my coordination back," he admits. He had his first amateur fight in 2012. Only eleven more would follow.

"I have a patient style. I like to take time to study my opponents. I felt very rushed in the amateurs," Shawn reveals. Amateur matches are three rounds and the scoring system rewards activity, not the best situation for a deliberate boxer-puncher.

Turning pro in 2019, Shawn has shown tremendous poise in the ring as a prizefighter. When opponents such as Adrian Zendejas, who Shawn fought last year, come rushing in throwing bombs, Sarembock exudes calm under pressure. "I have to be prepared for anything," Shawn says. "In training, I'm conscious of the fundamentals- my hand-placement, my footwork- until it becomes second nature. So when the lights come on, I'm ready for anything."

Shadowboxing contributes immensely to Shawn's preparation for a fight. He envisions his opponent while working on his technique. He notes the old trainer's maxim, "A trainer can tell how good a guy can be after watching him shadowbox for five seconds." It's his favorite way to prepare for a fight and believes it's the most helpful.

Shawn's next fight is tentatively scheduled for December 16 in Tijuana, Mexico. As with his eight other pro bouts, Shawn will likely go into this one without seeing film on his opponent. "When the first bell goes, I try to figure them out. I take it as it comes. I feint to see their reaction, and I'm making mental notes."

Because he has faced hardships and nearly lost it all, nothing in the ring can bother him. Undefeated, Shawn Sarembock is ready for anything.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

David Alaverdian to Fight on November 11

Super flyweight David Alaverdian is scheduled to fight on November 11 in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico at the WBC's annual convention. A name being mentioned as a possible opponent is undefeated prospect Angel Geovanny Meza Morales.

A 29 year old native of Netanya, Israel, Alaverdian (6-0, 5 KOs) last fought professionally in April. He was supposed to fight on October 8 in Jackson, Mississippi, USA, but his opponent Artrimus Sartor came in drastically overweight and wouldn't accept a rehydration clause.

Based in Las Vegas, Nevada in the U.S., Alaverdian will fight in Mexico for the sixth time. "It's nice, and actually the support I get there for being an Israeli is quite surprising," David told The Jewish Boxing Blog in an Instagram Live interview earlier this month. "Mexican people are great fight fans, great boxing fans. Not once have I had a bad experience there."

Angel Meza, nicknamed Rayito, is a 22 year old from Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. He boasts a record of 4-0-1 with 4 KOs and deserved to win the lone draw. Meza had his first two fights against nondescript opposition just before covid-19 turned into a pandemic. He won his third fight in November of 2020. After a 14-month layoff, Rayito stopped Jesus Alberto Rojas, who was 2-0 at the time, in the fourth round this past February.

Meza's last fight occurred on August 27 against José "Durán" Pérez in Tijuana. He began tentatively against Pérez, who came in with a solid 11-3 record. Meza mostly looked to land hard counters during the first half of the six-rounder. By the third, though still reluctant to lead, Meza pressed forward. No longer wary of Pérez's punches, Meza let his hands go in the second half of the fight and battered his more experienced foe. Only one judge saw it for Meza though; the other two scored it a draw.

Against Pérez, Meza aimed to either parry or time Pérez's punches. Strictly a counterpuncher during the first half, he loaded up on his shots in the second part of the fight, rarely throwing combinations until he was in complete control. Meza showed a potentially devastating- if inaccurate- left hook to the head and an equally damaging and more accurate left hook to the body. But he rarely jabbed and didn't set up his offense.

There are a few ways to combat a counterpuncher. One is to throw combinations, something Alaverdian does regularly. Another is to get in and out fast, which David can do effectively. Changing angles can also negate counters. In a phone interview last month with The Jewish Boxing Blog, Alaverdian, who switches stances, said that while his strength as a righty is his power, his best attribute as a southpaw is his angles.

In his pro fights, Alaverdian has often kept his hands low. "If a person is fast, I keep my hands up," David told The JBB. Against the hard-punching Meza, that would be wise. While Meza has a lot of ability and talent, this bout could see him shell up if Alaverdian's speed becomes overwhelming.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Stefi Cohen Off Ontario, California Card

Stefi Cohen had been scheduled to fight tomorrow at the Lumcolor-Phoenix Center (formerly the California Education and Performance Arts Center) in Ontario, California, USA against Kedra Bradley, but her fight has been cancelled.

Cohen's fight was removed from BoxRec earlier in the day. The Jewish Boxing Blog contacted the promoter of the show, Red Boxing Promotions, but did not receive confirmation. Later in the day, the promotional company released photos of the "Weight In" as it called it on its social media pages, although no weights were provided. Cohen and Bradley were not pictured and did not weighed in. Cohen laer said that her opponent pulled out of the fight at the last minute.

Cancelled fights, particularly around the weigh-in, are unfortunately quite common in boxing. Cohen has endured her share of proposed bouts that have vanished into thin air. Some boxers have financial backing, but most have to pay out of their own pockets to train and and travel to their fights. Cancelled fights are frustrating for all involved, from the boxers to the fans.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Stefi Cohen to Face Kedra Bradley on Saturday

Dr. Stefi Cohen is scheduled to face Kedra Bradley at the Lumcolor-Phoenix Center (formerly the California Education and Performance Arts Center) in Ontario, California, USA on Saturday, October 22. Cohen was originally slated to face Paola Ortiz.

Cohen is 2-1-1 with one KO. She suffered her lone defeat in her last fight, a unanimous decision loss to Devany Cuevas Torres in July. Stefi is a world record-holding powerlifter, who began boxing a couple of years ago. The 30 year old has lost ten pounds over the last five weeks in order to make the bantamweight limit.

Kedra "Chico" Bradley (1-5) is a 26 year old from Danville, Virginia. She played Division II college basketball for Livingstone College from 2017-2019. At 5'6", she will have a significant height advantage over Cohen, who is about 5' tall. Bradley fights nothing like Ortiz, Cohen's original opponent.

Bradley has a good long quick jab that she often doubles up. Her best punch is a sneaky counter straight right. She has fast hands, but her punch technique frequently falls apart. Bradley telegraphs her punches by lowering her hands before throwing. She's athletic on her feet, but her balance isn't good.

On March 26, 2021- in her second pro fight- she faced Ashley Sciscente. Kedra landed that sneaky counter straight right to score a knockdown in the first. Bradley's upper-body movement was awkward but effective on defense. She often tried to exchange with Sciscente and found some success. Bradley was announced the winner by split decision, but Boxrec lists it as a split decision victory for Sciscente.

After losing her next two fights, including one to kickboxer Sarah Liegmann, Bradley and Sciscente fought a rematch. That bout took place on December 18 last year. Bradley jabbed as the shorter Sciscente charged forward. The result was announced as a majority decision victory for Sciscente although BoxRec lists it as a split decision win for her.

Bradley next fought six months later, taking on Mikiah Kreps this past May. Bradley was susceptible to Kreps's pounding left hooks and open to a body assault. Defensively, Kedra didn't move her upper-body like she did in the first Sciscente fight; instead, she clinched a lot. She was clearly in pain at the end of the fourth round, and the fight was stopped in the corner.

Cohen will want to apply pressure against Bradley, cut off the ring, and attack the body to set up the overhand right or left hook up top. Bradley has age, experience, height, and speed advantages. Cohen has the strength and technique advantages. Stefi should come out victorious as long as she doesn't get careless during exchanges or doesn't let Bradley control the fight on the outside with the jab.

This bout is scheduled for four rounds.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

David Bazov to Make Pro Debut on November 12

Southpaw light heavyweight David Bazov is scheduled to make his professional debut on November 12 at Palestra e sportit Bashkim Selishta in Gjilan, Kosovo. Bazov is a 19 year old from Israel.

Bazov participated in the 2021 European Youth Amateur Championships. He has sparred with pro prospect Mikhael Ostroumov. Bazov has also worked with Dan Mor, Tomer Ben Shalom, and his head coach for the past year Adam Hadad- all noted trainers based in Israel. David will be featured in one more fight before his pro debut. He's scheduled to take part in an amateur/exhibition card in Israel on October 25 promoted by former world champion Hagar Finer.

Ahmed Shtiwi, a popular undefeated Israeli welterweight from Nazareth, is also slated to fight on the card. No opponent has yet been announced for either man.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Chilemba KOs Kheri

Light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba knocked out Mbaruku Kheri in the second round of their fight at Carousel Casino in Hammanskraal, South Africa. The fight was stopped after just four minutes and 53 seconds.

“This was just a keep-busy fight, just getting back in the ring," Chilemba told Mphatso Malidadi. "From here will see what’s next,”

Chilemba is now 27-9-3 with 11 KOs. Kheri is now 18-12 with 15 KOs. He has been stopped eleven times including twice this month.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Isaac Chilemba and Opponent Make Weight

Both Isaac Chilemba and his opponent Mbaraku Kheri made the light heavyweight limit ahead of their fight tomorrow. They'll be battling for up to ten rounds at Carousel Casino in Hammanskraal, South Africa. This will be Chilemba's first fight in his adopted home country in eleven and half years.

Chilemba (26-9-3, 10 KOs) came in at 174.7 pounds. This is his heaviest weight in three fights after he improbably went down to super middleweight after spending a decade at light heavy. Chilemba's heaviest weight for a fight came in 2019 when he weighed 188.3 pounds for a fight, which was over eleven pounds heavier than his second highest weight. Isaac has only been over the light heavyweight limit four times in his career and two of those were by less than a pound.

Kheri (18-11, 15 KOs) came in at 172.3 pounds. BoxRec doesn't list Kheri's weight for many of his fights, but the smallest he's been listed as is 165.3 pounds in 2007. Kheri weighed in at 185 pounds when he fought Joey Vegas on October 1 in a cruiserweight bout. His heaviest listed weight is 188, which he was in 2011.

Chilemba is the heavy favorite against the dangerously overmatched Kheri. They have comparable records, but the quality of opposition is levels apart. Kheri has been stopped in ten of his eleven losses including in the October 1 fight.

A preview of the fight can be viewed here.

photo courtesy of 5th Element Promotions

Friday, October 14, 2022

Review of the Unexpected Danny Green

The Unexpected Danny Green: From Mississippi to Manhattan, Harlem to Hollywood... Boxing was Just the Beginning
By Paul R. Friedman

Danny Green, the main character of Paul R. Friedman's debut novel, grows up in segregated Mississippi, moves to New York to pursue a pro boxing career, and then to Los Angeles to become an actor. Intriguingly, Friedman has written a comprehensive biography of a fictional character.

Green's somewhat Pollyannaish life is occasionally interrupted by events such as incidental run-ins with the mob and getting trapped in a hurricane while on vacation. Because it's written like a biography, there's no real story arc. The pacing speeds up during bursts of action and slows down during intimate moments of relaxation, adding depth to the story and mimicking life. As a character, Danny Green is admirable if not relatable or altogether realistic. He's stoic and heroic. He writes moving essays for the New Yorker, never fights with his wife, and knocks out criminals.

Boxing fans will appreciate The Unexpected Danny Green although there are some anachronisms. Green turns pro in 1978 and is on a non-televised portion of a Showtime card. Showtime didn't begin to broadcast boxing until 1986. HBO and ESPN are also given significance far earlier than was the case. At some point, dates within the story become blurred, but the use of endswell in Green's corner during the Julio Ramirez fight may have come just before it was invented.

Novelists, of course, are allowed to manipulate the facts to fit their narrative, but there are a couple of inconsistencies within the book's own logic. Green was 16 years old in 1974 when he took up boxing, but in 1976, we learn "A few years earlier, he had started competing in the regional Golden Gloves tournaments." Green's entire boxing career is difficult to place. He's an Olympic alternate who begins his career in a six-rounder at Madison Square Garden. But no one in the sparse crowd has heard of him, and he has to travel to his opponents' hometowns for his next several fights. Without providing spoilers, the rest of his career is curious as well.

Nevertheless, there's a lot to like about the boxing portion of the story. Green trains at Gleason's and there is a discussion of the 1976 and 1984 U.S. Olympic boxing teams. But the true strength of the book is in the description of Danny and his wife's lavish vacation spots, and in his journey as an actor. You feel like you're soaking in the scenes with the couple whether they travel to St. Thomas or Italy. Green's progression as an actor is meticulously described, from his coaching to his meetings with his agents to his time on set. It's an entertaining guide to Hollywood from a true expert.

The Unexpected Danny Green features Jewish characters and boxing, but the two rarely meet. It's a fun read about a likeable main character written in a conversational tone filled with vivid details. Though fans of Hollywood will get the most enjoyment out of the novel, there's a Jewish ethos and enough boxing for fans of The JBB, especially those interested in the late 1970s and 1980s, to make it worth a read.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Joshua Feldman to Turn Pro Next Year

Joshua Feldman, an 18 year old junior middleweight from Cape Town, South Africa is planning on turning pro early next year. He's now training with Colin Nathan, a fellow Jew and renown trainer and manager based in Johannesburg. Nathan deserves consideration for Trainer of the Year after leading two of his charges, Hekkie Budler and Sivenathi Nontshinga, to improbable victories with masterful corner-work this year.

Feldman has been training in Cape Town for six years. He only had about ten amateur fights but came away with a gold medal in a regional tournament and silver in a national one.

"We've got a tremendous prospect," Nathan asserted to SA Boxing Talk. "Great fundamentals, great skill, very dedicated. You've actually got to stop him. If you don't stop him and say we're closing the gym, he'll be hitting the bag. It's- like- crazy."

The plan is to go for Josh's boxing license next March. "I'm really proud to be a Jewish fighter, a Jewish person," Josh said, "And having a Jewish coach, it just seems like it lined up."

Feldman has lofty goals. "My dream's to become a world champion," he declared.

"We're going to nurture him and take him along really slowly and develop him correctly, and let's see where the road leads to," Nathan assured. "But I think he's got a tremendous amount of potential, very talented, and let's see where it goes."

Monday, October 10, 2022

Isaac Chilemba to Face Mbaruku Kheri in Mismatch

Isaac "Golden Boy" Chilemba is scheduled to face Mbaruku Kheri on October 16 at the Carousel Casino in Hammanskraal, South Africa according to Mphatso Malidadi. This will be Chilemba's first fight in his adopted home country in over eleven years.

Chilemba, a 34 year old from Malawi, has a record of 26-9-3 with 10 KOs. He fought almost all of the best light heavyweights of his era. In his most recent fights, Chilemba battled two well-regarded undefeated super middleweight prospects, Pavel Silyagin and Osleys Iglesias.

Kheri is a 39 year old from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. His 18-11 record is deceptively good. Kheri has only beat two men who had more than two wins when he fought them, and only one with more than three wins. In his 18 wins, the only time he beat a fighter with a winning record was in his debut in 2005; Fred George was 2-1-1.

Kheri has fought in seven countries. In addition to his home country, Mbaruku has fought in Kenya, Uganda, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, and Zambia. However, he hasn't had any success against an opponent with a halfway decent record. In his 11 losses, he has been stopped 10 times. Eight of those KO losses have come before the fourth round.

Mbaruku Kheri lost by TKO nine days ago. Joey Vegas fought like a bull and pressured the taller Kheri. Kheri could only throw telegraphed jabs and slow, wide rights. Mostly, he covered up and clinched. In the middle of the sixth round, Kheri quit. His best attribute as a fighter is the courage to get in the ring despite limited skill and a weak chin.

Chilemba is a very slick boxer and not a concussive puncher, but frankly, this fight is a dangerous mismatch. The only way Kheri belongs in the ring with Chilemba is if Kheri gets a referee's license. Mismatches at this level are the responsibility of the matchmaker, promoter, and the commission. Hopefully, a new opponent will be found for Chilemba's homecoming fight.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Dr. Stefi Cohen Set to Face Paola Ortiz

Dr. Stefanie Cohen is scheduled to face Paola "La Loba" Ortiz at the Lumcolor-Phoenix Center (formerly the California Education and Performance Arts Center) in Ontario, California, USA on Saturday, October 22.

The 30 year old Cohen (2-1-1, one KO) is coming off of her first career loss. On July 8, Stefi was outboxed by Devany Cuevas Torres, and Cohen lost a unanimous decision. While Cuevas won two rounds convincingly, two others were close and could've gone Cohen's way for a draw.

Cohen holds a PhD, was a good soccer player, is an entrepreneur, social media star, and world-record holding powerlifter. The native of Venezuela began boxing later than usual but has made remarkable strides in a short period of time despite the loss to Cuevas.

Paola Ortiz (1-7-1) is a 29 year old from Mexico who is now based in Houston, Texas. She began her pro career in 2013 and lost her first five fights. She then fought Susan Reno twice in 2015. After the pair fought to a majority draw in February that year, they made history in their fight on May 15 at the Masonic Temple, in Brooklyn. The six-rounder became the first female fight in New York state to have three-minute rounds. Ortiz won that "fast paced" fight by unanimous decision. She then took nearly five years off.

"La Loba" returned to the ring on March 7, 2020, the weekend before covid-19 shut everything down. Shanecqua Paisley Davis used her reach advantage, faster hands, and quicker feet to shutout Ortiz in a four-round affair. Ortiz showed rust early: her jab was tentative and her reactions were delayed. As the fight progressed though, she began dipping her left shoulder and unleashing hard overhand rights.

A year and half later, Aliyah Pequeno completely outclassed Ortiz. She landed combinations from the outside and used an in-and-out style effectively. Paola's hands were too slow to compete, and she ate a lot of clean shots. Her corner pulled her out of the fight following the second round.

Cohen should be able to box effectively against Ortiz or slug with her if she chooses, as long as Stefi avoids Paola's overhand right. Ortiz, who prefers to wear long baggy trunks in the ring, uses some upper-body movement, but her best defensive attribute is a good chin. Ortiz is a great comeback opponent for Cohen because she's game and has some skill, but is too slow for Stefi, who should be able to work on her technique in the ring.

This bout is scheduled for four two-minute rounds.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

David Alaverdian's Fight Cancelled

David Alaverdian was scheduled to face Artrimus Sartor tonight at Mississippi Basketball and Athletics in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Sartor, who badly missed weight, did not accept a rehydration clause. He initially weighed seven pounds over and could only take off two pounds in the time allotted.

David (6-0, 5 KOs) was prepared to proceed despite Sartor's massive weight advantage, but his management felt it unwise. Sartor (4-3, 1 KO) has only weighed in under the bantamweight limit once and has never made the super flyweight limit during his pro career. He missed weight by nearly five pounds.

Sartor was previous suspended indefinitely by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board allegedly for unpaid fines. By taking the fight, one can speculate that he hoped Alaverdian's teams would pay the fines allowing Sartor to be reinstated while never planning on going through with the fight. It's also possible the 36 year old Sartor realized the caliber of opponent he was to face and looked for a way out before the fight began.

Alaverdian hopes he can land another fight quickly.

You can read The Jewish Boxing Blog's interview with David here and watch a different JBB interview with David here.

Friday, October 7, 2022

David Alaverdian Weighs In

Super flyweight David Alaverdian is scheduled to fight Artrimus Sartor in a showcase bout tomorrow, October 8 at Mississippi Basketball & Athletics in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Sartor was Alaverdian's original opponent, then it was Jenn Gonzalez, and now it's Sartor again.

Alaverdian, a 29 year old from Israel with a record of 6-0 (5 KOs), made the super flyweight limit by weighing in at 114.4 pounds. David has fought in the flyweight division, coming in at 112 pounds for a fight a year ago, but most of his fights have been at super flyweight. His heaviest weight has been 114.8 pounds. In an extensive interview, he told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I can make light flyweight as well. I really can make it. I don't cut much for weight. I walk around at 120."

Sartor, a 36 year old based in Texas, has a record of 4-3 with one KO. He not only missed the super flyweight limit, but the bantamweight limit as well. He came in at 119.7 pounds, the second lightest of his career. For a fight three years ago, he weighed in at 117.8 pounds, the only time he has made the bantamweight limit as a pro. His heaviest weight was 133 pounds, a lightweight, for a fight in 2015. Four of his fights have been at featherweight.

When Sartor was originally named as Alaverdian's opponent, BoxRec listed him as suspended indefinitely by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, but that notice has since been lifted. Jenn Gonzalez would have represented a tougher challenge than does Sartor. Sartor hasn't fought in three years, is about ten years older than Gonzalez, has less pro experience, and hasn't faced the same level of competition as Gonzalez. They fight in very different styles as well. Sartor is a counter puncher who likes to jab.

At this stage of his career, it's important for Alaverdian to build up his record and look impressive even if it's against seemingly overmatched opponents. This bout is scheduled for six rounds. A link to purchase the pay-per-view can be found here. The JBB's preview of Alaverdian-Sartor is here.

photo courtesy of David Alaverdian's IG page

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

David Kaminsky Off October 8 Card

David Kaminsky had been scheduled to fight on October 8 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, USA but has fallen off the card.

 After suffering his first defeat in June of 2020, Kaminsky had to stay away from the ring because of a serious knee injury. Kaminsky tore his ACL and MCL. The injuries seemed to have healed without surgery, but a doctor with the California State Athletic Commission pulled David off this weekend's card and is requiring surgery before David can fight in the state again.

This must be a frustrating time for the 22 year old prospect. A southpaw with a 6-1 record, Kaminsky is a slick boxer with a lot of skill. By the time he fights again, it will be at least 27 months since he last fought in the ring. He had been scheduled to fight in May. That fight was postponed until June and eventually cancelled. Kaminsky had a fight scheduled for July in Miami, Florida, but that also didn't materialize.

Kaminsky wrote on Instagram, "Surgery should be soon and I'll be back." The Jewish Boxing Blog wishes David a speedy recovery.

Monday, October 3, 2022

David Alaverdian to Face Jenn Gonzalez on Saturday

Super flyweight David Alaverdian is scheduled to face Jenn Gonzalez at Mississippi Basketball & Athletics in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Jackson has been in the news recently as it deals with a lengthy water crisis. Accustomed to fighting in Mexico, this will be Alaverdian's second fight in the U.S.

David is 6-0 with 5 KOs. A 29-year old from Nahariya, Israel, Alaverdian switches stances with ease and possesses tremendous hand-speed and expert footwork. In a recent wide-ranging interview with The Jewish Boxing Blog, the undefeated prospect revealed, "I was expecting my career to move forward much faster than it actually has." While Gonzalez is not a world class opponent, he does represent a slight step-up for the Las Vegas-based fighter.

Jenn "El Infinito" Gonzalez is better than his 9-13-1 record (with 5 KOs) suggests. In his third fight, Gonzalez was immediately disqualified for failing to wear an authorized groin protector. Later in the year, he thoroughly dominated Hector Herrera for seven minutes when a fluke punch cut Gonzalez badly and he lost by TKO. "El Infinito" has also been on the wrong side of several close decisions.

The 25-year old from Santa Tereza, Nicaragua has mostly fought in his home country. The pack of Nicaraguan flyweights and super flyweights is led by the legendary Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez. Fellow countryman Cristofer Rosales won a world flyweight title in 2018. Felix Alvarado is a former world titleholder at light flyweight and is slated to challenge Sunny Edwards for a flyweight world title next month. Beyond the top, there is a vibrant scene filled with talented tough guys who fight each other multiple times in competitive fights. The best of the bunch reach world level.

In his home country, Jenn Gonzalez has fought some tough opponents. He was beaten twice- once in 2019 and the other a year later- by Winston Guerrero, who is currently 18-0. Gonzalez split a pair of fights with former Latin American flyweight titlist Ernesto Irias in 2020. Gonzalez dominated their September fight, but only won by majority decision. Two months later, he lost by split decision in a close bout that should have gone his way. Jenn has lost to Gerardo Zepata (who is now 15-0), Engel Gomez (who was 7-0-1 at the time), and the rough Ricardo Blandon. 

Gonzalez has fought internationally three times. In 2019, he challenged Hiram Gallardo in Mexico for something called the WBC youth silver flyweight belt. Gallardo gave Sunny Edwards ten rounds in his next fight. Gonzalez has fought his last two bouts in the United States. In February, he drew with Danny Suarez in the undefeated prospect's hometown, Orlando. A month later, Felix Parrilla stopped him in the third in Atlantic City.

Alaverdian will want to press the action against Jenn Gonzalez. Gonzalez is very effective when he comes forward but much less so when fighting off the backfoot. He outboxed Nelson Luna in 2020, but that was an anomaly. Jenn rarely counters and doesn't jab much. He typically throws a three-punch combination: a lead left hook followed by a distracting right punctuated by a hard left hook, the only punch that was meant to land all along. He has a very good left hook and a sneaky left uppercut. The 23-fight veteran occasionally lands the right, but it's not an especially dangerous punch.

Gonzalez has a good chin and can be a rough customer. He'll hit low if he's in trouble and will punch after the bell if he feels he's been hit late, although he is not generally a dirty fighter. He doesn't believe in "feel-out" rounds. The Nicaraguan keeps a high guard, so he's susceptible to body shots, Alaverdian's specialty. Winston Guerrero assaulted Gonzalez's body in their two fights, and Gonzalez refused to bring his elbows down until it was too late. Worn down in the sixth of their first fight, Gonzalez couldn't stop the attack up top and the fight was stopped.

Gonzalez's best shot against Alaverdian is to apply constant pressure. Jabs are not common weapons in Nicaraguan fights, and Gonzalez's pressure has been thwarted by some well-timed jabs. Alaverdian happens to have a great one. This fight is scheduled for six rounds.