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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Mor Oknin Wins

Mor Oknin won his second professional fight tonight. This bout was held at La Terraza Sports Bar in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. This was to be Oknin's second fight in Mexico in a week, but his opponent didn't show up for last Saturday's contest. Fortunately for Oknin, the opponent did show up tonight.

Mor earned a fourth round TKO. He is now 2-0 with two KOs. Next on the schedule for Oknin are fights in Tijuana and New York. He hopes to fight in three months.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Oknin to Fight Tomorrow

Super flyweight Mor Oknin is scheduled to fight in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico tomorrow. This was to be his second bout in a week, but his first fight was cancelled.

Oknin flew from Israel to Los Angeles, California in the United States about a week and a half ago. He tipped the scales in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico last Friday in preparation for his bout on the Jaime Munguia undercard. His opponent didn't show however, and Oknin wasn't able to fight.

This week, he spent some time back in Los Angeles. From there, he flew to Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico for training. He then traveled to Agua Prieta, which is on the other side of Sonora. Once there he weighed in and began his observance of Shabbat.

This fight will be on a smaller card, so information is not readily available. When his weight becomes known, this article will be updated. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Igor Lazarev to Face Angelo Peña

Igor Lazarev is scheduled to face Angelo Peña on April 15 at Stadttheater Bern in Bern, Switzerland. This fight was originally scheduled for last December 26. Lazarev currently has two bouts on the docket within a month of each other.

Lazarev, a 35 year old Israel, is 8-2 with 3 KOs. He started his pro career 6-0. His last fight was a competitive points defeat to Greg McGuinness in a six-rounder. Early in his career, Lazarev pressured and attacked his opponent's body. Recently, he's boxed more.

Peña is a 27 year old southpaw who was born in Madrid, Spain and now fights out of Bern. In his lone prizefight, Peña stopped Irakli Shariashvili in the second round on December 26. The much shorter Peña utilized his fast hands to throw numerous combinations. He displayed quick feet and a willingness to vary his punches. He scored two knockdowns in the second round. The first came from a left to the head at the end of a combination. The second was caused by a vicious right hook to the body.

Shariashvili was at his best in the brief moments in which he bullied Peña on the inside. Lazarev will want to stay inside and try to maul Peña. That may negate Angelo's foot and hand speed advantages and also his southpaw stance. Too often though, Shariashvili covered up in front of Peña and allowed the shorter faster man to fire away.

Shariashvili, a 23 year old from Rustavi, Georgia with a 7-11-1 record, has also fought Igor Lazarev's other scheduled opponent, Dominik Harwankowski. Shariashvili lasted the six round distance against Harwankowski 16 days before his fight against Peña. Lazarev is supposed to fight Harwankowski on March 19.

As is the case with Igor's scheduled fight against Harwankowski, the contest with Peña is slated for six rounds. Both fights are slated for the junior lightweight division although none of the three men have fought in the 130 pound division regularly. In fact, Hawankowski is the only one to have ever weighed in under 130 as a pro, and he only did it once.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

No Opponent for Oknin

Mor Oknin traveled from Israel to Los Angeles in the United States and then to Mexico for a fight scheduled yesterday at Plaza Monumental, a famed stadium in Tijuana. On Friday, he weighed in at 110.2 pounds. He did everything he was asked.

As of Friday night, the name of Oknin's opponent remained unknown. Or, to be more exact, there were three different names. None of the three weighed-in on Friday.

When it was time to fight on Saturday, no opponent showed up. Oknin was left without a foe and thus couldn't fight on an unusually cold night in Tijuana. He had traveled halfway around the world and was left to watch as Jaime Munguia stopped D'Mitrius Ballard in the third round of the main event with a series of left hooks to the body and head.

Hopefully, Oknin won't leave Mexico without a fight. He is scheduled to do battle on February 26 in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Mor Oknin to Fight in Tijuana Tomorrow

Mor Oknin is scheduled to fight tomorrow night at Plaza Monumental in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico on the undercard of Jaime Munguia's fight with D'Mitrius Ballard. Oknin, who is from Israel, is 1-0 with one KO. His debut came in Mexico as a super flyweight last April. Oknin controlled the action before his opponent retired during the first round due to injury.

Oknin weighed in at 110.2 pounds for tomorrow's contest. He spent time in Los Angeles, California in the United States and worked out with legendary trainer Freddie Roach before heading to Tijuana just over the border. Oknin shared pictures of the trunks he will wear into the ring tomorrow with The Jewish Boxing Blog. He asked The JBB not to post the pictures until Saturday night, but they are quite sleek. Mor went with a different design for this fight. As in his debut, he'll sport a Star of David and the number 26 on his trunks, though.

There is some question about Oknin's opponent. A bout sheet lists Luis Cervantes as the opponent. Cervantes is credited with a 3-11 record including one KO and being from Agua Prieta, Mexico on the bout sheet. BoxRec doesn't list a Luis Cervantes from Agua Prieta with a record close to 3-11. There is a Luis Cervantes who is an 0-2 flyweight from Hermosillo, though. Cervantes, if that is his real name, did not weigh in.

When asked, Oknin said his opponent was Valle Quiroz Perez. Perez would likely be making his debut tomorrow night as BoxRec does not list anyone by a similar name in the flyweight or surrounding divisions. The JBB contacted one of the promotional companies associated with event, Zanfer, to clear up things, but they have yet to respond. This bout, whoever it's against, is scheduled for four rounds.

Another site names Oknin's opponent as Rigo Cruz Ceberos. Ceberos, a native of Agua Prieta, is 3-11 with one KO.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Stefi Cohen on the Transition from Powerlifting to Boxing

Dr. Stefi Cohen is a superior athlete. A Division I soccer player and member of the Under 17 Venezuela national team, Cohen transitioned from soccer to powerlifting about ten years ago and in the process captured 25 world records in her new sport. From powerlifting, the 29 year old entrepreneur and social media star has recently shifted to boxing.

Cohen is 2-0-1 with one KO as a pro fighter after her win Friday night. Following the bout, she spoke analytically about the differences between powerlifting and boxing. 

"It's a completely different sport that operates on the opposite end of the physical spectrum," said Cohen, who earned a PhD in physical therapy and exercise physiology.

About powerlifting, she explained, "It's all unilateral movement, up and down, strength-based, no conditioning.

"And we're moving into a much more dynamic sport. One that changes every time that you get in the ring, that requires a lot of coordination and endurance and stamina and strength and power and intelligence. Everything combined," Cohen said.

In her three fights, she has shown impressive improvement, especially for someone who came to the sport so late. It's clear she understands the attributes it takes to succeed in boxing. She also has the athletic background to thrive in this new sport.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Two Fights Scheduled for Mor Oknin

Super flyweight Mor Oknin told The Jewish Boxing Blog he has two fights scheduled in Mexico this month. One fight is slated for February 19 in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The next fight is penciled in for February 26.

Oknin is 1-0 with one KO. He fought in his debut last April. Several of his scheduled fights in Mexico last fall fell through. In normal times scheduled boxing matches evaporate all the time, particularly for fighters who don't have powerful connections. The pandemic has forced the postponement or cancellation of many boxing events. It has complicated international travel as well.

Hopefully, circumstances will allow Oknin to fight more often in 2022. While there are professional boxers based in Israel, the sport does not currently enjoy much popularity in the country, so the boxers must travel internationally. Mexico is a hotspot for fighters in the lighter weights. It is also somewhat of a hotspot for covid. Mexico is currently orange or "at risk" on Israel's covid-risk chart. Israelis are not allowed to travel to red or "high risk" countries but are permitted to go to countries categorized as orange.

Oknin's bouts are scheduled for four rounds.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Stefi Cohen Looks Impressive in Victory

Dr. Stefanie "Reina" Cohen defeated Karla "Princesa" Valenzuela by unanimous decision at the Miami Airport Convention Center in Miami, Florida, United States. Cohen, a 29 year old native of Venezuela who is based in Miami, improved upon her last fight.

In Stefi's pro debut, she overwhelmed Haidde Zappa with crude aggression to earn a TKO win. In her second fight, Cohen showed a good jab and quick feet moving in and out, but she struggled to land any punches off her jab and came away with a draw against Marcela Nieto.

The fight introductions tonight were a bit askew. Valenzuela, a 30 year old veteran from Mexico, stood awkwardly waiting for her cue to walk to the ring. She entered in silence, initially heading for the wrong corner. Cohen walked to UK emcee Stormzy's "Vossi Bop."

The fighters' weights were never announced. All the ring announcer said was the fight was a bantamweight bout scheduled for 120 pounds. Cohen weighed in at 117.8 pounds at yesterday's weigh-in. The promoter's feed cut out when Valenzuela's weight was announced. Since the bantamweight limit is 118, perhaps Valenzuela weighed in at 120 pounds.

Once the two fighters were in the ring, further introductions were apparently unnecessary, and the pre-fight instructions at center ring were skipped to the surprise of Valenzuela's trainer who was virtually pushed out of the ring.

Once the fight began, Cohen came out aggressively. She showed a nice jab. She landed with rights to the head after jabbing to the body. She used good footwork and upper body movement to avoid many of Valenzuela's sluggish punches.

Both fighters attacked each other's midsection in the second round. Stefi clearly landed the harder body blows. She connected with a counter right in the round and later with a jab and then slipped Valenzuela's counter. This was progress from her last fight.

In the third, Cohen landed a huge counter left hook. Her counterpunching was another impressive development. At one point, Valenzuela held Cohen's left arm; Stefi whacked away at Karla's hip with her right. The final round was Valenzuela's best. Cohen later admitted, "I didn't expect her to still be standing in round four." And it showed. Valenzuela let her hands go, and Cohen was not as busy as in previous rounds. But Stefi landed a short left hook on the inside that was the only harmful punch in the final period. Valenzuela landed more in the fourth, but Cohen landed the harder shots.

The judges scored the bout for Cohen: one had it 40-36 and two scored it 39-37. The Jewish Boxing Blog saw it 40-36 for Cohen. Afterward, Stefi was critical of her performance, "I'm just getting started. I have to improve on literally everything." She added, "I'm really humbled by this sport."

One area Stefi can improve is her overhand right. She has a potentially devastating one, but she doesn't set it up. It cost her a victory last fight. It didn't matter in this one, but she'll need to be able to disguise the punch if she hopes to land it. If she lands it, it could be a fight-ending punch.

Cohen may have a lot to work on, but she has come a long way. She is a dramatically more skilled fighter than she was in her debut last June. Depending on her goal in the sport, fighting more regularly would help her progress. She is now 2-0-1 with one KO. Valenzuela falls to 3-26-3 with one KO.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Stefi Cohen Makes Weight

Dr. Stefi Cohen made the 118 pound bantamweight limit for her fight against Karla Valenzuela tomorrow at the Miami Airport Convention Center in Miami, Florida, United States. Cohen weighed in at 117.8 pounds, the lightest of her career by nearly six pounds.

Cohen weighed 124 pounds last week and looked in terrific fighting shape. She amazingly managed to make the bantamweight limit without chopping off an arm, a testament to her professionalism.

The promoter's live Facebook feed cut out during the announcement of Valenzuela's weight, which is never a good sign. Her weight has not been reported as of this writing.

Cohen is 1-0-1 with one KO. Valenzuela is 3-25-3 with one KO. This bout is scheduled for four two-minute rounds. The night's action will be shown as a pay-per-view on Fite.TV in the U.S.  Here is The JBB's preview of the Cohen-Valenzuela fight.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Kapuler Wins Amateur Title

Miroslav Kapuler won the 71 kg (156.5 pounds) Israeli national amateur championship last weekend. For the second year in a row he beat Chananya Davids (also spelled Hanania Devida) by decision. Last year's amateur championships were postponed due to covid-19, so the 2021 Israeli nationals took place in August.

Kapuler, who sometimes performs under the surname Ishchenko, also fights professionally. These days boxers can straddled the amateur/professional line. Kapuler is 3-0 with one KO as a pro. His last prizefight was in September.

As a pro, Kapuler has fought as a junior middleweight and as a middleweight. Standing 6' tall, he's a slick southpaw with speed and skill. Miroslav, who is 24 years old, might have a foot in the amateur game with an eye towards to 2024 Paris Olympics, which is only a bit over two years away.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Cohen to Face Valenzuela on February 11

Dr. Stefi Cohen is scheduled to face Karla "Princesa" Valenzuela on February 11 at Miami Airport Convention Center in Miami, Florida, USA. Valenzuela is far more experienced than Cohen but sports a poor record.

Cohen (1-0-1, 1 KO) is coming off a nearly five-month layoff. "Doctor Dynamite" has had a couple of fight dates fall through recently. A world record-holding powerlifter, Cohen has weighed 123.5 and 125.3 pounds for her two pro fights. According to multiple sources, this bout is scheduled for the bantamweight division. Stefi said she is currently 124 pounds and according to videos shared on social media, appears to be in excellent fighting shape. It might be difficult for the 29 year old native of Venezuela to make the 118-pound limit short of cutting off an arm.

Valenzuela, a native of Durango, Mexico, is a 31-fight veteran. The 30 year old started her pro career back in 2013 and now has a record of 3-25-3 with one KO. Twenty-one of her fights have come against opponents with a winning record and she has fought some very talented competitors. She has 162 rounds of pro experience to Cohen's seven and a three inch height advantage.

Valenzuela is likely not entering the ring just to survive. La Princesa throws a lot of punches, particularly jabs. Her punch technique is mostly solid but inconsistent. At times she lunges with her jab and at other times she pushes her punches. Her biggest offensive weakness is a lack of hand-speed. She senses when the opponent is ready to punch and lets her hands go at the right time to counter, but her opponent typically lands before she does.

Despite her eight stoppage losses, Valenzuela is very tough. In a 2015 fight against Yamileth Mercado, Karla suffered a freak injury early in the the fight and lost by TKO. But most of her stoppage losses were like her 2019 defeat against Paulette Valenzuela. Paulette landed many flush shots throughout the fight before catching Karla with a chopping right in the fourth to score the KO. La Princesa's problem is not her chin or her toughness; it's her defense.

This bout is scheduled for four two-minute rounds, so stamina shouldn't be an issue. Cohen can show off her new boxing skills if she wishes, but she should be able to rough up Valenzuela if she goes that route. Valenzuela's meager knockout ratio isn't a fluke, so Cohen's biggest challenge in the fight is to make sure her work rate is sufficient. While a loss would be disastrous for her boxing career, a KO victory would be a great sign for Stefi's prospects in the sport. Most likely though: Cohen by decision.