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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Chilemba Outworked by Osleys Iglesias

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 27, 2022

Controversial Split Decision Goes Against Alaverdian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Chilemba and Iglesias Make Weight

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

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

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

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

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

Miroslav Kapuler Drops Controversial Split Decision

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

David Alaverdian Dominates in Preliminaries of Euro Championships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 23, 2022

Two Pro Jewish Boxers Competing at European Amateurs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ray Miller's Left Hook

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

David Kaminsky to Fight July 9 in Miami

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

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

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

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Stefi Cohen Not Fighting Tonight

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

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

Stefi Cohen's May 14 fight date fell through

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Review of The Night the Referee Hit Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, May 9, 2022

Chilemba on Bivol's Win Against Canelo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 1, 2022

News Update

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


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

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

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


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

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