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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.

Saturday, October 1, 2022