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Monday, March 20, 2023

Jews in the IBRO's 2019 All Time Ratings

In 2019, the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO), which the head of The Jewish Boxing Blog has since joined, created a list of the 25 best pound-for-pound fighters in history and the best within eleven different weight classes. The last time the organization undertook such a project was 2006. About thirty of its members were asked to participate this last time. In this article, we'll take a look at the placement of Jewish boxers on the various lists. Before we begin, it's important to note without a touch of modesty, the voting members know more about boxing than the head of The JBB will ever hope to know. Any questioning of the IBRO's rankings should be viewed through that lens.

Two Jews made this list of the top 25. Benny Leonard came in at #9. That's about where he normally places on lists like these. Of course, we Jewish Boxing fans believe he should be higher because of his incomparable skills and the longevity of his championship reign, but the fighters listed above him all had amazing careers as well.

Barney Ross came in at #21, which is also about where he shows up on these types of lists. There's a good case to be made that he's underrated. A legitimate three-division world champion, he went 4-1 against the duo of Tony Canzoneri and Jimmy McLarnin and beat future middleweight champion Ceferino Garcia three times. Ross also beat many very good fighters, including Ray Miller, the only man to knockout McLarnin. The counterargument is that his fights against Canzoneri and McLarnin were all close and the junior welterweight championship was seen as more of a minor title at the time.

Abe Attell and Ted "Kid" Lewis  are two others that could have made the list. As with Leonard, Attell's skills and his lengthy spell as world featherweight champion are at the heart of his case. Lewis embodies what the term pound-for-pound should mean, fighting world class opponents from bantamweight all the way to heavyweight.

Light Heavyweight
No Jews made the heavyweight list. Maxie Rosenbloom made the light heavyweight top 20 at #13. Rosenbloom is sometimes underrated because his slapping style did not garner universal approval. Battling Levinsky had made the top 20 in 2006, but fell off in 2019.

No Jews made the middleweight or junior middleweight lists. Two Jews made the welterweight top 20. Barney Ross was ranked #10 and Ted "Kid" Lewis slid in at #16. While Ross and Lewis both won world titles at the weight, they were also very successful at other weights.

Junior Welterweight
Barney Ross at #5 and Jack "Kid" Berg at #9 made this top 10 list. Luminaries such as Tony Canzoneri, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Pernell Whitaker just missed the cut. Canzoneri beat Berg twice, both for the lightweight and junior welterweight world titles, so there is a case to made that Canzoneri should be higher than our beloved Berg.

Three Jews made the top 20 here. Benny Leonard came in at #2. Most of us reading this would argue that he should be #1. Leonard, Roberto Duran, and Joe Gans seem to be the consensus top three lightweights of all-time, although the order is up for debate. Barney Ross was #8, two behind Canzoneri, who Barney beat twice. Canzoneri was a world class lightweight before Ross even turned pro, so that would be the argument for Tony. Lew Tendler was voted at #19.

Junior Lightweight
Benny Bass held the junior lightweight world championship from 1929-1931, but did not make this top 10 list.

Abe Attell came in at #4 behind Willie Pep, Henry Armstrong, and Sandy Saddler.

While there have been half a dozen Jewish bantamweight world champions, none cracked the IBRO's top 20 at the weight.

No Jews made the top 20. Newsboy Brown was an honorable mention.

Seven different Jews made these lists: Leonard (p4p, light), Ross (p4p, welter, light), Rosenbloom (light hvy), Lewis (welter), Berg (jr welter), Tendler (light), and Attell (feather).

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Exciting Month For Fans of Jewish Boxing

From February 9 to March 3, six Jewish boxers fought in what amounts to a great few weeks for fans of Jewish boxing. The fighters went 5-0-1, and the draw should've have been a win.

Even going back a bit earlier, there was plenty of Jewish boxing news. On January 27, Stefi Cohen was supposed to fight, but an unusual issue with her opponent's weight forced a cancellation of the contest at the last moment.

The next week were the Israeli amateur championships. On February 4, Odelia Ben Ephraim fought Anaelle Angerville for the French featherweight title but lost by split decision.

The great run for Jewish boxers started on February 9th when Sagiv Ismailov, Igor Lazarev, and Alex Karchevski all won their fights in Ashdod, Israel.

On February 17, Shawn Michael Sarembock fought in an all-action affair in Mexico. The judges called it a majority draw, but Sarembock deserved to win.

On February 23, Stefi Cohen faced a game opponent to come away with a unanimous decision.

Finally, Ben Ephraim was back in action on March 3. This time she won a convincing unanimous decision in France.

Check out highlights from these fights:

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Top 5 Jewish Israeli Boxers

Evgheni Boico's Top 5 Jewish Israeli Boxers

Evgheni Boico is a boxing coach based in Ashdod, Israel and a promoter, first with B&B Promotions and now heading both Arena Boxing Israel and Arena Boxing Moldova. Boico has been instrumental in bringing professional boxing back to Israel. He's not only at the forefront of boxing's recent revival in Israel, but he's also extremely knowledgeable about the history of prizefighting in the country. Evgheni has been very gracious in sharing his boxing expertise with The Jewish Boxing Blog over the years.

Boico notes that #5 on this great list, Motzi Spakow (a.k.a Moți Spakov), fought in British Palestine in 1937 and then had five or six bouts in Israel after independence, none of which are listed on BoxRec at this time. Boico describes him as "the first pro boxer of Israel."

1. Yuri Foreman
2. Hagar Finer
3. David Oved
4. Ran Nakash
5. Motzi Spakow

Other Top 5s
Jewish North African Boxers
Jewish Canadian Boxers
Jewish British Boxers

Monday, March 6, 2023

The Delay Before Ben Ephraim-Draskovic

Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim shut out Tijana Draskovic last Friday in a six-rounder in Blagnac, France to improve her record to 4-2. Before the fight, Draskovic waited in the ring for seven minutes and forty-five seconds before Ben Ephraim began her ring walk. From the time Draskovic climbed through the ropes until Ben Ephraim's entrance into the ring, ACDC's Thunderstruck played for one full rotation and then restarted. Officials scrambled to see what was happening.

The Jewish Boxing Blog has learned the cause of the delay. Ben Ephraim-Draskovic was the fourth of six pro bouts on a card that began with amateur fights. Originally, an intermission had been scheduled for just before Ben Ephraim's fight, the halfway point of the pro portion of the event. The intermission was cancelled at the last minute, which threw off the timing of Ben Ephraim's warmup. She smartly decided not to rush out to the ring and instead, finished her pre-fight preparation.

A proper warmup is essential for a boxer's success before a fight and cannot be hurried. The extra warmup time paid off as "Thunder" controlled every moment of the bout to get back in the win column. In February, she dropped a split decision to Anaelle Angerville for the French featherweight title. After two fights in a month, Ben Ephraim announced on social media that she will take a little break and come back even more motivated for her next fight.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Odelia Ben Ephraim Impressive in Decision Win

Featherweight Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim dominated Tijana Draskovic in a six round affair at Salle Polyvalente des Ramiers in Blagnac, France tonight. Ben Ephraim swept the cards to win by unanimous decision.

The most trouble Ben Ephraim, a 23 year old from France, faced came before the fight. Draskovic waited in the ring as ACDC's Thunderstruck played for one full rotation. After the song had restarted, Ben Ephraim finally made her ring walk. Draskovic had been standing in the ring for seven minutes and 45 seconds when Ben Ephraim climbed through the ropes. The waiting may have affected Draskovic, but it didn't seem to bother Ben Ephraim at all.

To begin every round, Ben Ephraim raced out to meet Draskovic, an 18 year old southpaw from Serbia. Odelia's hands were in constant motion, but she was very intelligent in her punch-picking, a rare attribute for a volume puncher. Draskovic was able to land several hard counter lefts throughout the fight, the same punch Romane Geffray, an orthodox fighter, was able to land on Odelia a year ago.

In the Geffray fight, Ben Ephraim showed the jab to land hard rights. Against Draskovic, her attack was more balanced. She dug left hooks into the Serbian woman's body and then added the left uppercut, which seemed to land underneath Draskovic's high guard every time. Her rights were as powerful as ever. In the later rounds, Ben Ephraim added the right uppercut and began smashing six and seven punch combinations against Draskovic's face.

Ben Ephraim acted like a nasty cold all fight. She didn't quite knockout Draskovic, but Odelia frustrated her the entire time and wouldn't let her breathe. Ben Ephraim's performance dropped jaws and opened eyes, and her style was fun to watch. Draskovic managed to last the full six rounds solely because of her heart and her chin. By the end, she had taken a pretty bad beating.

The judges all saw the bout 60-54 for Thunder, and there was really no other way to score it. Ben Ephraim is now 4-2 while Draskovic falls to 1-6.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Odelia Ben Ephraim to Face Tijana Draskovic Tomorrow

Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim is scheduled to face Tijana Draskovic tomorrow at Salle Polyvalente des Ramiers in Blagnac, France. This bout is slated to go six two-minute rounds. Ben Ephraim weighed in at 125 pounds while Draskovic came in at 125.5 pounds..

Ben Ephraim (3-2) is a 23 year old resident of Blagnac, France. She fought an eight-rounder less than month ago, a split decision loss to Anaelle Angerville for the French featherweight title. Ben Ephraim's other loss came in her debut, also against Angerville. Odelia is 3-0 against everyone else.

Draskovic, an 18 year old southpaw from Zrenjanin, Serbia, has an unimpressive 1-5 record. But her five losses came against opponents with a combined record of 28-2-3, so she has been in very tough. She has never been stopped. Draskovic and Ben Ephraim have a common opponent, Angerville, to whom Draskovic also lost. Tijana has experienced far more success as an amateur kickboxer than as a pro boxer.

Draskovic last fought on Sunday, a six round points loss. Though she has been in tough and has never been stopped, the native of Serbia hasn't been too competitive against those formidable foes. She hasn't won a round on a judge's card in three of her losses. The event is slated to air on Fight Nation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Promoters' Screwjob: Behind the Scenes of Shawn Sarembock's Last Fight

Boxing can be a dirty game. Shawn Sarembock found that out first hand before and during his last fight, which resulted in a majority draw. He recently revealed to The Jewish Boxing Blog just how promoters attempted to sabotage his career.

Sarembock and his dad Neil had a good relationship with a local Mexican promotional firm that gave them fight dates and found opponents for Shawn in exchange for a fee. A couple of weeks before this last fight, the company offered Shawn a contract, but he "politely refused" because he wanted to keep his options open. Sarembock said, "They must have taken it personally when I turned down their offer because that's when the problems started."


The Jewish Boxing Blog has decided not to name the promotional company, the location of the fight, or the opponent in this article because of the real possibility of retribution against Sarembock for speaking out. The promoters, who have a close relationship with the local commission, could still have the result of the fight changed. [For certain details about Sarembock's last fight view The JBB's recap or his BoxRec page.]

Retroactively changing a result out of spite has precedent. It's exactly what Israeli flyweight Mor Oknin says happened to him a year ago. He claims he won a fight by fourth round TKO in a locale in Mexico near where Sarembock fought, but Oknin's BoxRec page lists the result as a third round TKO loss. "I'm very sad about this. It's all about politics," Oknin told The JBB last fall. He added, "They cheated me out of money there."

BoxRec simply reports the results provided by the commissions. An editor at the self-described "official record keeper of the sport of boxing" told The JBB that BoxRec has "lots of problems with wrong reports" coming out out of many countries, including Mexico.


The trouble for Sarembock started immediately after his refusal. "Three or four opponents fell through," he said, "which never happened before." While multiple opponents do occasionally back out of fights, the promoters' actions allegedly became more nefarious with time. They claimed other fighters had missed their flights, and they needed to deduct that money from Sarembock's pay. "They squeezed us out of money," Shawn said.

On the day of the fight, Neil was told he was not allowed to work his son's corner. Shawn and Neil's relationship is such that it would be like telling a fighter pilot he wasn't allowed to wear his prescription aviator glasses into battle. Instead, the promotional company, which has its own gym and its own trainers, provided the cornermen at the last moment.

"We had watched footage of the opponent and we had a game plan," Shawn said. "The first two rounds, I was going to box because we noticed he lunged in when he came forward. The plan was to take little half steps back and counter, especially with uppercuts." After two, assuming the opponent remained standing, Neil would add his expert input, and Shawn would adjust accordingly. But without Neil in the corner, the game plan quickly went out the window.


The fight had been scheduled for 7pm local time. It was to be the second fight of the night. Shawn and Neil, who would still help wrap his son's hands, took the hotel's elevator down at 5:30pm. One of the promoters met them when they reached the ground floor and told them the card had been delayed two hours. Shawn's fight was now the opener because one of the fighters scheduled for the first bout had been in a car accident. So the Sarembocks went back to their hotel room for an hour since Shawn was now scheduled to open the card. He posted the two-hour delay as an Instagram story, not knowing it was all a lie.

When they came back down the elevator at 6:30, the stands were full and live banda music blared. They new something was up. There were too many people in the crowd for an 8pm start. By the time Neil had wrapped only one of Shawn's hands a member of the local commission burst into the locker room to say Shawn had ten minutes to get ready.

Boxers' preparation in the moments before a fight is crucial to their success in the ring. Shawn says he typically needs a minimum of an hour to prepare. "It's not just getting physically ready. Getting mentally prepared for battle is even more important."

Shawn recounted what happened next, "The commission came in five times and began yelling, 'Get your ass out!' The ref even came back and threatened, 'If you don't come out in ten minutes, you're off the card.'"


Hands wrapped and his Winning gloves on, Shawn had been warming up for five minutes when he was notified it was time to make his ring walk or he'd be pulled out of the fight. He told officials that he needed to use the bathroom, but they didn't allow it. He hadn't yet stretched, which of course put him at an increased risk for injury, nor had he worked up a sweat. It's essential for boxers to warmup properly before a fight because it's far more likely for them to get knocked out early if they start the fight "cold."

Shawn admits that he should have tried to ignore the commotion, but he let it get to him. After a slow start in the ring, Sarembock received poor guidance in the corner. "The corner is a vital part of a fight," he said. "I want calm and control in the corner. Take a deep breath and then it's time for strategy. Instead, I was coming back to a corner in panic mode." After every round, the promoters' handpicked cornermen kept telling Shawn he was losing. They wanted him to throw five-punch combinations, which would have opened him up for the opponent's dangerous left hook.

"Mentally, it was hard to put everything aside," Sarembock said. "I never even got ready. I got through the fight because of grit." Despite everything he endured, one judge agreed with The JBB and scored the bout for Sarembock 58-56. But the two other judges had it 57-57 for a majority draw. "It was the worst performance of my career," Shawn said. "Absolutely terrible." Sarembock's record of 8-0-1 (8 KOs) now carries a blemish.

And the fighter who was supposed to be in the opener, but had apparently been in a car accident so Sarembock had to open the show? He fought in the second bout of the night.


Shawn called the ordeal "a huge learning experience." It was really his first chance to see "the dirty politics, the dirty business side" of boxing up close. But his primary lesson from his experience was more practical. "I'm never fighting without my dad in my corner again," he declared.

After a week off, the Sarembocks are back in training. The plan is to move up to an eight-rounder, a fight somewhere closer to home for the still undefeated resident of Phoenix, Arizona. "I've accepted what happened," said Shawn, "and now it's time to move on." The dream of a world championship remains though the path to achieve it is never linear. It's often filled with pitfalls and screwjobs.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Stefi Cohen Earns Close Decision with Big Knockdown

Dr. Stefi Cohen beat Leanne Calderon Smith by close unanimous decision tonight at the Fantasy Sports Resort in Indio, California, USA. A big second round knockdown proved to be the difference between a win for Cohen and a draw.

Both Cohen, a 30 year old native of Venezuela, and Calderon, a 35 year old Texan, came out firing. When the fight settled down, Cohen landed several pretty jabs while responsibly keeping her right hand up to guard against the counter. Calderon connected with a good left hook and a couple of rights from the outside. It was a swing round.

In the second, Cohen showed a jab and came with an explosive right behind it. Calderon took it flush and fell to the canvas. She rose quickly with a sheepish smile across her lips and reddening around her left eye. Stefi shrewdly followed up with another big right that forced Calderon back. The powerlifting record-holder then took her foot off the gas and began boxing the rest of the round. Perhaps she sensed Calderon was still strong, but perhaps throwing those big shots had winded her.

Calderon showed tremendous fortitude and smacked Cohen with a couple of punishing rights of her own to finish the second. Calderon continued to connect with crunching rights in the third. Cohen boxed and countered, but her face quickly turned red amidst Leanne's onslaught. A tired Stefi did enough to stay in the fight, but by the end of the third, her condition appeared dire.

Mustering up both courage and grit, Cohen fought her way back in the fourth. She ate a jab and then landed her own. She scored with a big right, but Calderon came back to finish the final round strong. The final punch numbers showed that Calderon had thrown more, Cohen had landed slightly more, and Cohen had landed a greater percentage of her attempts.

All three judges scored the bout 38-37 for Cohen. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 38-37 for Calderon, but the fight could have gone either way. Cohen's record moves to 3-1-1 with one KO; Calderon is now 1-3-1.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Stefi Cohen and Leanne Calderon Make Weight

Dr. Stefanie Cohen and her opponent, Leanne Calderon Smith, both made the bantamweight limit ahead of their four round affair tomorrow at the Fantasy Springs Resort in Indio, California, USA. The event will be broadcast on DAZN.

Cohen (2-1-1, one KO) weighed in at 116.6 pounds, the lightest of her career. This is actually the fourth time Stefi has made the bantamweight limit as a pro. She came in under the 118-pound limit in January, but that fight was called off when her opponent lost weight after the weigh-in creating a gap that CSAC deemed too wide. Cohen's heaviest weight was 125.3 pounds in September of 2021.

Stefi is now fighting out of the Churchill Boing Club in Santa Monica, California. Her new coach is Pedro Santiago Jr. Her old coach, Pedro Diaz, is a masterful teacher of the sweet science, but in retrospect, probably wasn't the best fit for Cohen. As a short and strong newcomer to the sport, a mauling, in-fighting style seems to best suit her physical attributes. She fought that way in her debut; the only time she earned a KO victory. Under Diaz, Cohen's boxing ability improved tremendously, but the results didn't correlate with her new skills.

Ahead of tomorrow's bout, Cohen sparred with undefeated prospect Bree Howling of Canada.  A 24 year old with lofty ambitions, Howling is getting ready for fight a next month. In 2021, she told Jamie Rebner of The Fight City, "I do plan to bring a world title to Canada. I don’t want my career to be easy. I don’t want a padded record." Like Howling, Cohen had no amateur boxing experience, but has not had an easy road as a professional.

Leanne Calderon Smith's 1-2-1 record is not impressive on paper, but she beat the only woman to beat Cohen. Calderon is in better shape than she has ever been as a pro boxer. She weighed in at 117.2 pounds, the lightest of her career. Her heaviest weight came in her last fight back in November when she was 121 pounds. This is the first time Calderon has made the bantamweight limit.

If tomorrow's fight is a boxing match, Calderon has a good shot, but if it's a brawl, bet on Cohen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Obituary: Kenny "Bang Bang" Bogner

Kenny "Bang Bang" Bogner passed away at his home on February 14, 2023 at the age of 62.

Born on January 9, 1961, Bogner grew up in Trenton, New Jersey. Overcoming a serious ankle injury as a youth, he became a decorated amateur boxer. He won the New Jersey Golden Gloves in 1977, medaled in the '77 Maccabiah Games, and participated in the 1980 National Golden Gloves.

Less than a year into his pro career, Kenny had won eleven fights with one draw. He then fell to future world champion Livingston Bramble by seventh round stoppage. Bogner won his next eleven fights, including a sensational fight against Cato Wilson in 1982.

After a ninth round TKO victory over Edwin Curet, it seemed as if Bogner would finally cash in, but potential fights against Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini and Hector "Macho" Camacho fell through. Instead, Bogner's aspirations to win the lightweight title slowly faded because of trouble with the law.

Muggsy Episcopo, a longtime trainer and manager, said of Kenny, "He was a good fighter, a gutsy fighter. If it wasn’t for trouble, he would have been a champion." Further mucking up his career, Bogner's contract was owned by mob associate Arthur Pelullo.

Bogner came back in 1987 after three and half years of inaction and lost to Remi Di Carlo by sixth round TKO. Bang Bang notched three more wins scattered over the next six years and completed his career 25-2-1 with 16 KOs.

Legal troubles continued. In 2011, he was arrested for stealing groceries, just one of his many unfortunate transgressions. After his arrest, Kenny claimed he simply forgot to pay and then made a telling remark, "I didn't even realize it! I'm a fighter; I'm a little stupid sometimes. The punches did it." Twelve years later, with an increased understanding of CTE, we now understand his comments in a new sympathetic light.

Bogner, who was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2017, seemed to have stayed out of trouble in the last decade of his life. While he made many mistakes in his 62 years, it's clear his loved ones cared for Kenny and are heartbroken by his passing. As one friend commented years ago, "What a good guy he is. Yeah he was involved in some stupid stuff, but hey, it's life. It doesn't mean he's a bad guy!"

Kenny once said of his complicated legacy, "I mean, I did handicapped benefits, muscular dystrophy benefits, a marathon run for disabled people, and so forth. They don't remember all the good things."

His funeral will be held on Sunday, March 5 from 4-6pm at Brenna Funeral Home at 1799 Klockner Road, Hamilton, NJ.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Odelia Ben Ephraim Scheduled to Fight on March 3

Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim is scheduled to fight on Friday, March 3 at the Salle des Ramiers in Blagnac, France. Ben Ephraim is the first female member of the Blagnac Boxing Club.

Ben Ephraim is a 23 year old featherweight with roots in France and Israel. She has a 3-2 record as a pro. Both losses came at the hands of Anaelle Angerville, a former world champion Muay Thai fighter. In Ben Ephraim's last fight, she lost a close split decision to Angerville on February 4 in an eight-rounder for the French featherweight title.

By fighting a month after her last bout, Ben Ephraim is displaying an old school mentality.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Dr. Stefi Cohen to Face Leanne Calderon on Thursday

Dr. Stefanie Cohen is scheduled to face Leanne Calderon Smith on Thursday, February 23 at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, USA. Calderon Smith will pose a tough test for Cohen.

Cohen (2-1-1, one KO) is a world record-breaking powerlifter, entrepreneur, and social media star. The 30 year old native of Venezuela earned a PhD and has been a professional boxer for just under two years. She's only had four fights because of bad luck. Quite a few of her scheduled bouts have fallen through. Most recently, two potential fights with Kedra Bradley were cancelled. The latest one, scheduled for late last month, was scrapped because of a bizarre weight issue.

As a result of the cancellations, Cohen last fought eight and half months ago when she lost a unanimous decision to Devany Cuevas Torres.

Calderon Smith (1-2-1) is a 35 year old from Texas. On paper she doesn't look like much of a match for Cohen, but Calderon Smith's lone win came over Cuevas Torres, the woman responsible for Cohen's lone loss. Calderon is 1-1 against Cuevas, and both fights resulted in majority decisions last summer. Calderon drew with an experienced fighter with an even record in her debut and lost her last fight to Shurretta Metcalf, a solid boxer with a winning record. Leanne also has amateur MMA experience.

BoxRec lists Cohen and Calderon as an inch apart in height, but in reality, Calderon will enjoy a wider advantage. Cuevas towered over Cohen while Calderon wasn't that much shorter than their common opponent. Calderon has a good jab, pretty quick hands, and solid fundamentals. She has no knockouts, so Cohen will want to jab her way inside and then use her strength. Cohen has improved tremendously in a short period of time, but perhaps she tries to box too much instead of finding her way in close and mauling her opponents.

This bout is scheduled for four two-minute rounds. The event will be shown on DAZN.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Sarembock and Villa Fight to a Draw

Shawn Michael Sarembock and Jesus Emmanuel "Morgan" Villa fought to a draw tonight at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Both fighters had their moments in a close fight.

Sarembock, a 32 year old from Arizona, focused on defense in the opening round. He spent most of the first three minutes figuring out proper distance. Villa, a 29 year old from Mexico City, didn't do much more offensively, but enough to take the round.

In the second, Sarembock discovered two important tactics. He began targeting Villa's body and he made sure to keep his right up to block Villa's dangerous left hook. But Villa continuously landed a sneaky counter jab and found success with his own body work.

Shawn, who one announcer repeatedly called "Michael Sarenbrook," came out for the third far more aggressively. He landed picturesque left hooks to the body and then to the head. He trapped Villa in the corner and unloaded on the Mexican warrior. Midway through the round, Villa came back and connected with his best combination of the night. Sarembock stumbled back but stayed on his feet. Villa's left hook did the damage.

With the seconds ticking down in the third, Shawn cracked Villa's body with a right, which served two purposes. It hurt Villa, but it also set up a beautiful right uppercut that snapped back Morgan's head. With that final combination, Sarembock had snatched back the round. He continued the body work in the fourth, a round that saw Villa mostly retreating.

Sarembock, with a mouse growing under each eye, stalked his prey in the fifth, but didn't let his hands go until the round was half over. In the meantime, Villa jabbed and landed enough body work to put him ahead. With the round almost complete, Shawn corralled Villa into the corner and unleashed a round-winning combination that brought audible gasps from the ringside commentators.

Shawn was like a bull in the sixth and final round. He charged after Villa, eating some punches for his trouble, but cornering Villa and battering his body enough to win the round. Both men let their hands go in an exciting final ten seconds of the fight.

The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the bout 58-56 for Sarembock. The judges, however called it a majority draw. Ivan Velasco agreed with The JBB, but the other two judges had the fight even at 57 apiece.

Sarembock is now 8-0-1 with 8 KOs. Though the result was likely disappointing, he put up a good fight and it was a great learning experience in the ring. Villa (5-8-3, one KO) picked up his third straight draw against an undefeated opponent. He is now 2-0-3 in his last five fight against opponents with a combined record of 32-1-3 and once again proved that he is a very tough opponent.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Shawn Sarembock and Jesus Emmanuel Villa Weigh In

Shawn Sarembock and Jesus Emmanuel Villa weighed in ahead of their bout tomorrow at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. This fight is a scheduled six-rounder.

Sarembock (8-0, 8 KOs) weighed in at 151 pounds, comfortably below the junior middleweight limit. His range has been between 145.5 and 152.3 pounds. This is the sixth time Shawn has weighed in between 150 and 152.3 pounds. At the weigh-in, he wore a necklace with the Star of David dangling from it. During the stare down, Shawn glared intensely at Villa. He was all business.

Villa (5-8-2, one KO) came in at 154.8 pounds, which is over the junior middleweight limit and the second heaviest of his career. Villa's lightest weight was 139 which came back in 2017. His heaviest was 158.5 pounds, which he weighed for his upset victory over Brian Landeros Juarez last May. Villa has appeared to miss weight twice before. In 2016, he was 0.8 pounds over the welterweight limit while his opponent came in under the 147 limit. In 2018, Villa held a four pound advantage over one opponent; Villa and the opponent again straddled the welterweight limit.

After the stare down, the two men acted professionally. They shook hands and gave each other a bro hug. Showing good sportsmanship, Villa then came over to Shawn's dad and trainer, Neil, and they shook each hands and nodded respectfully to each other.

Sarembock has a KO streak to uphold while Villa has greatly improved in recent fights. Check out The Jewish Boxing Blog's preview of the fight

Monday, February 13, 2023

Shawn Sarembock to Face Jesus Villa Friday

Junior middleweight Shawn Michael Sarembock is scheduled to face Jesus Emmanuel Villa on Friday at the Grand Hotel in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. Villa is a tough experienced opponent.

Sarembock, a 32 year old from Arizona, boasts a record of 8-0 with 8 KOs. A poised and patient fighter, Shawn has fought all of his bouts in Tijuana. He earns most of his knockouts with precise punch placement and timing. He last fought this past March scoring a fourth round TKO against Miguel Reyes.

Villa (5-8-2, one KO) is much better than his record suggests. The 29 year old from Mexico City started his career 1-4 but has greatly improved since. He is 2-0-2 in his last four fights against opponents with a combined record of 24-1-3. Villa is three years younger, but has more pro experience than Sarembock, has been more active, and has faced the better opposition.

A man of many names, Jesus often fights under the name of Emmanuel Villa. He had gone by the nickname "Jaguar" when he landed a stunning knockout with a left hook during an exchange in the third round of his debut against Brian Perez in 2013. Incidentally, Perez won his next eight fights. Villa, however, lost his next four.

The low point likely came against Isaac Rivas in 2017. Villa never got into the fight against the 2-6 Rivas and ate combinations until the fight was stopped a minute and half after it began. Villa complained about the stoppage, but he had performed poorly.

Villa then beat a 3-0 guy and a 1-0 foe before dropping a decision in Canada to Montreal's Hamza Khabbaz. In the second round of Villa's next fight, Diego Carmona landed a picture perfect uppercut that momentarily froze the "Jaguar" before he fell backwards to the canvas for a spectacular knockout.

Villa, who now uses the less terrifying nickname "Morgan," came back to give Albert "Suavecito" Paredes and Luis "Cotto" Vidales two competitive fights. Morgan Villa's left hook continued to be his best punch. His hands were active if not always purposeful. A headhunter, Villa throws away several punches just to land the right. Paredes and Vidales both thrived when they forced Villa to fight off the backfoot. Those fights were eight and ten rounds respectively, so both Paredes and Vidales slowed in the middle rounds allowing for Villa to come forward and successfully bang.

Dariniel Sanchez, 8-1 at the time, tried to box "Morgan" in their November, 2021 fight. That strategy played right into Villa's hands as he controlled center ring and threw power shots while Sanchez mostly jabbed. Though Villa was the underdog, the judges in Mexico rewarded his activity. Villa's last three fights were all against undefeated opponents and have all taken place since Sarembock last fought.

Defensively, Sarembock is far superior. Villa is quite hittable, but while his chin is not quite made of granite, it's likely made of some slightly less indestructible rock, something along the lines of basalt. He'll rely on that basalt chin because he doesn't concern himself much with blocking or slipping incoming fire. Villa's height has never been listed, but he's always the shorter man, so Shawn will have the height and reach advantage. Sarembock also possesses the better skills, technique, and ring IQ.

Sarembock-Villa is scheduled for six rounds.

Friday, February 10, 2023

2023 Israeli Amateur Championships

Several pro boxers took part in the Israeli national amateur championships last week. Pros have been allowed to take part in amateur boxing tournaments for several years now. Some weight classes in Israel have enough fighters to have a quarterfinal round while other divisions have fewer competitors.

David Alaverdian (7-0-1, 6 KOs) won the bantamweight (119-pound) title when his opponent didn't come out for the third round. There aren't many Israeli bantamweights, so David only needed one win to capture the title. He had announced his retirement from amateur boxing last May after a head-scratching decision went against him in the European championships. David has a pro fight scheduled for April 10 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Miroslav Kapuler (3-0, one KO) won the junior middleweight (156.5-pound) title. He advanced on a walkover in the quarterfinals and then beat his next two opponents 5-0 on points. Kapuler last fought as a pro in September 2021. The 25 year old is a skilled southpaw.

Alex Karchevski dropped a decision to David Bazov in the light heavyweight (176.4-pound) final. Karchevski won his pro debut yesterday. He beat his semifinal opponent 3-2 on February 3, lost to Bazov 5-0 on the 4th, and won his pro debut on the 9th, a truly old school schedule. Bazov was scheduled to go pro last fall but his transition to prizefighting has since been delayed.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Ismailov, Lazarev, and Karchevski All Win

[More to come, check back for updates]

Sagiv Ismailov, Igor Lazarev, and Alex Karchevski all won today in Ashdod, Israel. Ismailov took on Kristi Doni in a super middleweight bout, lightweight Lazarev fought Vladislav Gaureac, and Karchveski battled Cvintilian Lisii in another super middleweight contest.

Ismailov, a 20 year old, showed good discipline by working off the jab. His jab also helped to disguise his overhand right and lead left hook. Doni, a tall 19 year old southpaw, was more tentative than usual because of Ismailov's hard shots. Ismailov bent down to his left too often, exposing his right side, but Doni wasn't able to capitalize.

The Albanian landed the occasional straight left, but he spent too much of the fight shaking his head after Ismailov connected with his overhand rights. Doni was game, but Ismailov maintained pressure throughout the fight. The JBB scored the contest 40-36 for Ismailov. 

Sagiv won with two scores of 40-36 and a third of 40-37. He is now 4-0 with 2 KOs. Doni falls to 2-3 with 2 KOs.

In the first round of his bout, Lazarev controlled center ring and then rocketed forward forcing Gaureac back into a corner where Igor unloaded on the 20-year old Moldovan. Lazarev, 36, was best when he was aggressive but in control. While many rights landed later in the first with Gaureac in the corner, Igor missed a wild overhand right when the Moldovan ducked.

Gaureac had success in the second round by touching Lazarev and then moving. He had the more eye-catching shots in the round connecting with a 1-2 and a straight left-right hook combo. Lazarev's primary joy in the round came in clinches; he fired away at the body with his free right hand. But it wasn't enough to win the round.

Lazarev mauled Guateac in the third forcing more clinches and allowing for more of Lazarev's free hand beating the body. At one point, the Moldovan went for a walk and Igor changed after him landing some hard blows in the process, especially the overhand right. The Israeli won the fourth round with sustained aggression to take the fight by majority decision. Two judges scored the bout 39-37 and another had it even. The JBB scored it 39-37 for Lazarev. Igor is now 9-4 with 3 KOs. Gaureac's record falls to 0-4.

Karchevski won his debut by decision. Lisii, a 23 year old from Moldova, showed some slick defense and counters on the ropes in the first. He went to the body effectively and threw straight combos to down the middle. Karchevski, a 31-year old, completely swung the fight in the second. Out of a high guard and pressing forward, he savagely assaulted Lisii's body. At one point, Karchevski landed a beautiful right uppercut off of a combination to the body. The highlight of the round came when both men unleashed huge left hooks at the same time; Karchevski's landed spectacularly while Lisii's came up short.

Karchevski stalked his opponent in the third and landed the right hand at will. Lisii resorted to taunting most of the round, a sure sign of frustration. Karchevski remained composed, continuously punctuating his combinations with one final blow. Lisii turned to southpaw at times, but that didn't work for him.

In the fourth, Karchevski was steady and solid. He walked in behind his jab. As Lisii kept his hands low looking to load up from weird angles, Karchevski refused to fall for the bait. Alex finished a successful debut with an impressive right-left uppercut-right combo.

Though Karchevski doesn't possess the fastest hands, his timing and technique made up for it. Many debutants become anxious and lose their form in their first pro fight, but Alex maintained it throughout. The judges saw the bout for Karchevski 40-36 (twice), 40-37. The JBB scored the bout 39-37 for Alex. He is now 1-0 while Lisii is 1-2 with one KO.

Pro boxers Mikhael Ostroumov, Itay Gershon, and Aki Mishaev watched the action from ringside. Former Olympian and ex-pro boxer Shlomo Niazov was the referee for Lazarev-Gauteac.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Weights from Ashdod

Three pro Jewish boxers are taking part in tomorrow's event in Ashdod, Israel. Sagiv Ismailov, Igor Lazarev, and Alex Karchevski all weighed in today ahead of their separate matches.

Ismailov (3-0, 2 KOs), a 20 year old Israeli super middleweight, came in at 167.8 pounds. This is the heaviest of his pro career by a slim margin: 0.2 pounds. His lightest was 163.5 two years ago. Kristi Doni (2-2, 2 KOs), a 19 year old Albanian, also weighed in at 167.8 pounds, which is under the 168-pound super middleweight limit. We have weights for three of Doni's past fights and they range from 164.5 pounds to 170.  For The JBB's preview of this match, click here.
Doni and Ismailov (courtesy of Evgheni Boico)

Lightweight Lazarev came in at 132.5 pounds. This is a typical weight for the 36 year old veteran who sports a record of 8-4 with 3 KOs. His lightest for a pro bout came in his last fight when Igor weighed 131 pounds. He came in a quarter pound over 135 twice in his career, the heaviest he has tipped the scales for a fight. Vladislav Gauteac (0-3), a 20 year old from Moldova, has two recorded weights: 132.8 and 139.3 pounds. His weight for this fight was in the middle at 134.9 pounds. For a preview of this bout, click here.

Karchevski, a super middleweight trained by Vitali Kaganov, is making his pro debut tomorrow. The 31 year old weighed in at 168 pounds. Last week, he made the finals of the Israeli national amateur championships, which was fought over the weekend. In the tournament, he fought in the 80 KG division or about 176 pounds. Cvintilian Lisii (1-1 one KO), a 23 year old from Moldova, has one recorded weight of 157.5 pounds. In the other bout, he did fight a super middleweight. Lisii was 167.6 pounds for this contest. For a preview, click here.
Alex Karchevski (courtesy of his IG page)

All three bouts are scheduled for four rounds.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Odelia Ben Ephraim Drops Split Decision to Angerville

Odelia Ben Ephraim lost by split decision in her bid to become the French featherweight champion tonight at Salle les Iris in Lormont, France against Annaelle Angerville. Angerville captured the vacant title with the win.

Two judges gave the bout to Angerville 79-73 and 78-74. The third judge saw Ben Ephraim as the winner, 77-75. This was a rematch; Angerville scored a points victory in the first one when the referee scored the bout 39-37 for her. 

Ben Ephraim is now 3-2. Both of her losses have been close and come against the more experienced Angerville, a former Muay Thai world champion and successful kickboxer. Angerville is now 5-1-1 as a pro boxer. More details to come...

Friday, February 3, 2023

Odelia Ben Ephraim and Annaelle Angerville Make Weight

Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim and Annaelle Angerville both made the featherweight limit ahead of their fight for the French title tomorrow at Salle les Iris in Lormont, France. This is a rematch of a 2021 bout in which both boxers were making their pro debuts. Angerville won the decision that night.

Ben Ephraim (3-1) is a 23 year old from France. In her last fight on June 18 against Karla Merida, Odelia pressed forward and showed impressive infighting on route to a points victory. In addition to her boxing career, she is also a talented artist. For this fight, Ben Ephraim weighed in at 123.5 pounds, the lightest of her career. Her heaviest is 126. She has to be considered the underdog in this fight, but she is very much a live dog.

Angerville (4-1-1) is a 33 year old from France. Of Haitian heritage, she is a former Muay Thai world champion and a successful kickboxer. Many Muay Thai fighters and kickboxers use a squared-up stance and throw lopping shots, but Angerville has shown good balance and the ability to throw straight shots in her fights. She has adapted well to pro boxing. Angerville weighed in at 125.7 pounds, which is comfortably within her usual range. Her lightest for a pro boxing bout was 123 while her heaviest was 129.5 pounds.

Regardless of the outcome, both fighters must be commended for taking on such tough opponents early in their pro boxing careers. This contest is scheduled for eight two-minute rounds.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Alex Karchevski to Face Cvintilian Lisii Next Week

Super middleweight Alex Karchevski is scheduled to make his pro debut next Thursday, February 9, in Ashdod, Israel against Cvintilian Lisii. Karchevsky was originally scheduled to face Leon Balandine, who pulled out with an injury. Though Lisii is a replacement, he's more experienced than Balandine, and it should be a more competitive match.

Karchevski is a 31 year old from Lod, Israel. A decorated amateur, he can fight in different styles but prefers to fight on the front foot. As an amateur, he has fought in the heavyweight division on down, so he's the naturally bigger man.

Lisii (1-1, one KO), a 23 year old from Moldova, is an experienced kickboxer. He fought well in his pro boxing debut against Roberto Tranquillo, who was 4-0, on November 5 in Italy. Lisii throws a powerful right. Against Tranquillo, he dipped his left shoulder and landed a big overhand right, good straight rights, and a couple of right uppercuts. Defensively, he covered up and used upper-body movement.

In the third round, Tranquillo reddened the Moldovan's face and backed him into a corner before scoring a knockdown. Tranquillo then landed a right to the body while Lisii was down, but the Italian received no admonishment from the ref. Lisii showed perseverance when he rose, landed two hard rights, and scored a flash knockdown. He was put down for the count in the fifth, though.

Lisii won his first pro fight on December 2 when he stopped Ion Marius Tanca, a southpaw cutie making his debut. Lisii's right again did all the work. A right to the body put Tanca down in the second for the count.

Lisii was less effective when he switched to southpaw in both fights. Typically boxers want to circle away from an opponent's backhand, which is usually the stronger hand, but Karchevski will want to circle away from the right regardless of Lisii's stance. That is if Karchevski, who may pressure, does any circling at all. Lisii's technique lost quality as the fight against Tranquillo progressed and he's hittable, but his right is dangerous.

One weird thing to watch for: Lisii's shoe has come untied in both of his fights. Will he make it three in a row? This bout is scheduled for four rounds.

Monday, January 30, 2023

CSAC Cancelled Cohen-Bradley Due to "Large Weight Disparity"

The Jewish Boxing Blog has learned that the Stefi Cohen/Kedra Bradley fight scheduled for this past Friday "was canceled due to a large weight disparity between the two fighters on the night of the event," according to a California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) official.

The CSAC official told The JBB that Cohen officially weighed 129.4 pounds on Friday, a gain of 11.8 pounds from Thursday's weigh-in. Bradley officially weighed 109.8 pounds on fight day, a loss of 4.2 pounds. The weight disparity on the day of the event was 19.6 pounds, or 17.9% of Bradley's bodyweight. Both had made the bantamweight limit at the weigh-in. The official confirmed, "Losing weight after the weigh-in isn’t very common," and there are no CSAC regulations on losing weight, only on gaining too much.

Bradley was four pounds below the contracted weight of 118 pounds during the weigh-in on Thursday and dropped to 8.2 pounds below the limit on the day of the fight. CSAC only has regulations in place to prevent too much weight gain because, with few exceptions, fighters add weight after the weigh-in. Being heavier is considered an advantage in boxing. Thus, they rarely lose weight.

"Our inspectors make sure the differences in weight between the fighters fall within the regulated weight spread both on the day of the weigh-in and on the event day," the CSAC official explained. "In cases like these, where the weight difference is larger than the limit, our executive officer and our Medical Advisory Committee doctors are called immediately to discuss the weight spread and cancellation of the bout."

Together, they decided the fight should be cancelled. While a frustrating decision for the fighters and the fans, it was the right decision for the safety of the lighter fighter.

After the cancellation, Cohen got into the ring to announce her next fight is scheduled for February 23.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

More Information on Cohen-Bradley Cancellation

The Stefi Cohen-Kedra Bradley fight, scheduled for last night in Montebello, California, was cancelled a short while before the fight was set to begin. Both fighters claim a large difference in weight on the day of the fight was the cause for the cancellation. Both Cohen and Bradley say their hands had been wrapped when they heard the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) had cancelled the bout. Both boxers are frustrated.

Cohen and Bradley both made the 118-pound bantamweight limit during Thursday's weigh-in. Bradley claims Cohen weighed 131 pounds during the day-of weigh-in. CSAC automatically cancels any bout in which a fighter is 15% above the contracted weight on the day of the fight. For bantamweights, a fighter would need to weigh 17.7 pounds more than the limit or 135.7 pounds. Even by Bradley's number, Cohen's weight-gain was within rules.

If Bradley's claim is correct, Cohen put on 13 pounds overnight which is within a normal range for bantamweights, albeit on the higher side of that range. Boxing is so decentralized that there is no sport-wide regulation for weigh-ins. California typically has a day-before weigh-in and then re-weighs the fighters the day of the fight. This is to prevent dramatic weight-cuts and mismatches based on weight differences.

Both fighters claim Bradley lost weight overnight. Cohen says Bradley weighed 109, or five pounds lighter than at Thursday's weigh-in. Bradley says she dropped to 110.8 pounds after losing 3.5 pounds. Dropping weight isn't against the rules or a breach of conduct, but it doesn't make much sense. Fighters lose weight for the weigh-in and then put on weight to give them the best chance to win.

A fighter losing weight after the weigh-in is highly unusual and can be a cause for concern. There's a reason for different weight classes: more weight is viewed as an advantage in boxing. So losing weight after the weigh-in can be an indication of a potentially dangerous issue.

Ultimately, the 20.2 pound difference, or 18% of Bradley's bodyweight, was reason enough to nix the fight. That a fighter was four pounds under the limit and then lost three and half more pounds, should be viewed as a red flag and cause to cancel the fight regardless of the opponent's weight gain.

Cohen announced that she is now scheduled to fight on February 23.

Update: CSAC's explanation of the cancellation with the fighter's official event-day weights.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Stefi Cohen's Fight against Kedra Bradley Cancelled

Dr. Stefi Cohen was scheduled to face Kedra Bradley tonight at the Quiet Cannon Country Club in Montebello, California, USA. That fight was cancelled today.

Ring announcer Joe Martinez described the reason for the cancellation as "an unforeseen weight issue." Cohen came in the lightest of her career while Bradley was the second lightest. Both made the bantamweight limit yesterday.

Cohen got into the ring to thank her fans for supporting her. "I was excited to put on an amazing performance for you guys," she told the crowd. A native of Venezuela, Stefi recently relocated to Los Angeles, California from Miami, Florida.

Cohen had been scheduled to face Bradley in October, but that fight was cancelled the day before. At the time, Cohen said Bradley backed out.

The California State Athletic Commission passed a law in 2019 that automatically cancelled any bout in which one competitor weighed 15% or more above the contracted weight at the time of the fight. For a bantamweight match, that's 17.7 pounds. This law was designed to prevent dramatic weight cutting. The exact "unforeseen weight issue" is unknown at this time though.

Stefi Cohen last fought in July. A world record holding powerlifted, she is 2-1-1 as a pro boxer and has shown tremendous improvement in a short period of time.

Update: fighter's takes on cancellation
Update: CSAC's explanation of cancellation

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Weights for Stefi Cohen-Kedra Bradley

Dr. Stefi Cohen (2-1-1, one KO) and Kedra Bradley (1-5-1) weighed in for their four-rounder tomorrow at Quiet Canyon Country Club in Montebello, California, USA. Cohen came in at 117.6 pounds while Bradley was 114.

By a fraction of a pound, this is the lightest weight of Cohen's career. She weighed 117.8 pounds against Karla Valenzuela last February. This is the third time Cohen has made the bantamweight limit of 118. Her heaviest weight happened in her second fight when she was 125.3 pounds.

Bradley came in the second lightest of her career. She weighed 112.5 pounds in her last fight back in November, which was called a split draw. It was an impressive showing against an undefeated fighter who outweighed Bradley by nearly five pounds. This is the sixth time she has made the bantamweight limit and the third time she has come under the super flyweight limit of 115. Bradley's heaviest weight was 122.5 pounds in her debut over two years ago.

Both women played other sports at a high level before becoming boxers. Cohen was a college soccer player and then a world record setting powerlifter while Bradley was a college basketball player. There have been a few basketball players to make the transition to boxing because a long lean frame can be an advantage in both sports. Soccer can help with boxing's footwork. For those new to following boxing, they might be surprised to learn that powerlifting experience doesn't translate particularly well to boxing except to learn how to cut weight. Boxers typically want fast-twitch muscular development, not bulky muscles.

As for her transition to boxing, Cohen wrote a few months back, "I never imagined I'd be doing this at 30 years old. At this rate I won't be surprised if I become like... a 52 year old carpenter living in Arkansas with 3 kids that aren't mine."

This fight is on the undercard of Bohachuck-Gallimore and will be aired on UFCFightPass. A preview of the fight can be found here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sagiv Ismailov to Face Kristi Doni in February

Super middleweight Sagiv Ismailov is scheduled to face Kristi Doni on February 9 in Ashdod, Israel. This fight will be the main event of a card slated to feature five pro Jewish boxers.

Ismailov (3-0, 2 KOs) is a 20 year old Israeli. After scoring two quick knockouts in 2020, he last fought in September. Sagiv was very impressive in the first round of that fight against a tough veteran, Nikita Basin. He knocked down Basin with a picturesque right at the end of the round. But Ismailov became overeager to end the fight early. Loading up with overhand rights sapped his energy and, by the end of the third round, he was gassed. Sagiv showed the requisite guile and heart to earn a wide unanimous decision despite tiring late in the fight.

Doni (2-2, 2 KOs) is a tall southpaw from Tirana, Albania. As with tall southpaws like Paul Williams and Sebastian Fundora, Doni refuses to use his height advantage and box from the outside. Instead, he presses forward and lets his go. The counter-intuitive strategy worked for Williams and Fundora, but the jury is still out on the 19-year-old Doni.

Back in 2021, Doni won his first fight in a cavernous ring in Istanbul. He felt so comfortable against Sabri Altok that he kept his hands by his knees and poked out his chin daring Altok to hit it. Doni landed enough to convince Altok not to come out for the second round. A year ago, he faced Sayed Khalid Sadat in a ring the size of an Istanbul Starbucks. Sadat's arms and legs were all over the place, but found Doni's face far too often. Doni's head was exposed and his hands were low, but he stood up to a lot of hard punches. Sneaky body shots and swirling right hooks scored knockdowns and ultimately the KO for Kristi.

The class of Doni's opponents rose over his next two fights. His bad habit of keep his hands low and eating- rather than avoiding or blocking- punches caught up with him against Santeri Laine in Finland last September and in his November bout against Momo Elmaghraby in Italy. Doni retired on the stool against Laine and was stopped in the fourth against Momo.

The key to this fight will be Ismailov's conditioning. If he tires, Doni will take advantage by whipping punches to the body and searching for an opportunity to unleash his concussive right hook. Sagiv will likely find the target early and often, because he's as skilled as the Albanian is hittable. But the Israeli can't rush the knockout or it might turn out to be a very competitive fight.

This contest is scheduled for four rounds.

Monday, January 23, 2023

David Alaverdian to Fight in Vegas in March

Undefeated pro boxer David Alaverdian is scheduled to fight on March 18 in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Reid Boxing teammates Lester Martinez, an undefeated super middleweight from Guatemala, and Britton Norwood, a veteran light heavyweight and promotor from Mississippi, are slated to appear as well.

Alaverdian is 7-0-1 with 6 KOs. In his last fight, Alaverdian stopped Edgar Mendoza in the second round. The lone draw, which came against local prospect Angel "Rayito" Meza in Mexico last November, was a terrible decision. Alaverdian's activity and accuracy carried five of the six rounds while Meza spent most of the fight hesitant to let his hands go. Only judge Carlos Parra, who scored the bout 59-55 for the Israeli, seemed to acknowledge David's dominate jab. Jorge Luis Romero inexplicably scored the fight a draw (57-57) and Gary Eder Lopez, who improbably gave Meza the fight 58-56, is either incompetent or corrupt.

After that horrible bit of  judging, Alaverdian will be happy to fight in the United States for the second time as a pro. In April, he stole the show with a second round demolition of veteran Jeno Tonte in Dearborn, Michigan. Alaverdian is a native of Netanya, Israel but relocated to Las Vegas a few years ago. "This is Sin City, " David told The Jewish Boxing Blog. "In Sin City, I stay far away from sin.

"I'm such a boring person. I don't party, I don't smoke, I don't drink," he said. "I just train, train, stay fit, and watch my diet." This will be David's first fight in the Las Vegas area. The bout is scheduled for six rounds in the flyweight division.

poster courtesy of Fighter Branding

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Venue Announced for Shawn Michael Sarembock's Fight

Junior middleweight Shawn Michael Sarembock (8-0, 8 KO) is scheduled to fight on Friday, February 17 in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. That isn't news to fans of The Jewish Boxing Blog, but Shawn has now announced a venue for the fight on his Instagram page. Though this will be his ninth time fighting in Tijuana, it'll be his first time fighting at the Grand Hotel Tijuana. His last four bouts were at Big Punch Arena.

"I love fighting in Tijuana," Shawn told The JBB 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."

When The JBB interviewed Shawn in October, he was getting ready for a December fight. That got pushed back to January, which then became February. The delays are an unfortunately common reality for up-and-coming boxers. Sarembock, who turned pro in 2019, last fought in March.

After Shawn announced the venue, former WBA junior middleweight world champion Rabbi Yuri Foreman voiced his support for the 32 year old Arizona resident. More information on this fight as it becomes available.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Debutants Alex Karchevski and Leon Balandine to Fight in February

Alex Karchevski and Leon Balandine are scheduled to face off in Ashdod, Israel on February 9. This will be only the second time The Jewish Boxing Blog has covered two Jewish boxers battling one another in a prizefight. Both are making their pro debut.

Karchevski, a 31 year old from Lod, Israel, is the more experienced man. He has been a finalist in the Israeli amateur champions almost every year since 2016. He also made the finals in 2013. He won his weight class in '18 and '22 and has fought as a middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight.

With so much experience, Karchevski can adapt and fight in different styles, but he seems to prefer to be on the front-foot pressing forward. He keeps a high guard in close and can crack with either hand. Rangy southpaws who prefer to fight at distance have given him some trouble in the past, but they are a rare breed in the pros.

Balandine is a 21 year old Israeli from Ashkelon, a city located on the Mediterranean coast south of Tel Aviv. He's boxed since he was a kid, but has no experience on the senior amateur level. For the past four months, while finishing up his IDF commitment, Leon has trained in Evgheni Boico's gym in Ashdod with pro boxers Sagiv Ismailov and Igor Lazarev, kickboxing star Itay Gershon, and amateur boxing standout Chananya Davids.

While sparring doesn't always give the best picture of how a fighter will perform on fight night, Balandine showed a good ability to box behind the jab in a recent open sparring session. Though he was susceptible to the counter right, he finished the session with a perfectly placed body shot that put his opponent down for the count.

Balandine will want to use the jab and go to the body to thwart Karchevski's pressure. Karchevski can box, but pressuring Balandine could wear down the younger man and create more openings. Alex will look to counter Balandine's jab with rights. Because of his experience, Karchevski must be viewed as the favorite.

This bout is scheduled for four rounds in the super middleweight divsion.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Odelia Ben Ephraim to Fight Anaelle Angerville

Featherweight Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim is scheduled to face Anaelle Angerville on February 4 at Gymnase les iris in Loemont, France on the outskirts of Bordeaux. This is a rematch of an April 2021 fight.

"Thunder" Ben Ephraim is a 23 year old from Toulouse, France. She won Israel amateur titles in 2018 in the featherweight division and 2019 as a lightweight. She turned pro in 2021 and dropped a points decision to Angerville in her debut. Since then, Odelia has won three fights including a decision victory last June over Karla Merida, who is currently 4-1-1.

Angerville (4-1-1) is a 33 year old from Vaulx-en-Velin, France. After winning her debut against Ben Ephraim in a close fight, she drew with her next opponent and then lost a bid for the French junior lightweight belt. Angerville came back with a win over 5-0 Amy Naert this past April. In her last fight, Angerville beat Eva Cantos a month ago.

Expect this fight to go the full eight-round distance. Both fighters have gone the distance in all of their pro bouts thus far.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Top 5 Jewish British Boxers

Tony Milch's Top 5 Jewish British Boxers

Tony Milch is a former pro boxer from Edgware, England. Fighting professionally from 2013-2018, he amassed a record of 14-2. Tony now runs Gloves and Doves, an admirable initiative that promotes peace in the Middle East through boxing and aims to develop the sport in Israel. The next Gloves and Doves event is scheduled for March 23 in London, England. For more on Gloves and Doves, visit its website and follow on Instagram.

Tony has shared his immense boxing knowledge with The Jewish Boxing Blog on countless occasions over the years. This great list only focuses on boxers who used gloves in the ring, and thus bareknuckle boxers such as Daniel Mendoza aren't included.

1. Ted "Kid" Lewis
2. Jack "Kid " Berg
3. Al Phillips
4. Harry Mizler
5. Gary Jacobs

Other Top 5s
Jewish North African Boxers
Jewish Canadian Boxers
Jewish Israeli Boxers

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Igor Lazarev to Fight Vladislav Gauteac

Lightweight Igor Lazarev is scheduled to fight Vladislav Gauteac in Ashdod, Israel on February 9. Lazarev has technically lost his last three fights to opponents who now have a combined record of 21-0. Gauteac is the right opponent for Lazarev to stop his losing streak.

Lazarev (8-4, 3 KOs), a 36 year old Israeli, is a five year pro. After beginning his career 8-1, he has lost his last three, but he deserved to win one of those contests. Last March, Igor dominated local prospect Dominik Harwankowski in Poland, but the judges, one of which was Harwankowski's mentor, incredibly scored the fight for the local man. Against another undefeated local prospect, Greg McGuinness of England, Lazarev fought valiantly. In the fourth round of that 2021 fight, Igor landed incredible no-look punches but lost by decision.

Lazarev has been stopped twice in his pro career. Against Binal Shakhmandarov in 2019, Igor was simply caught early and never got into the fight. In his last bout, Lazarev was pulled out after the second round against hot prospect Angelo Peña this past April.

Gauteac is a tall southpaw from Moldova. The 20 year old is 0-3. He can take a punch, has good upper-body movement, and is willing to let his hands go. In clinches, he throws a sneaky behind-the-back punch. But Gauteac has his shortcomings. He doesn't possess the sharpest punch technique, and he brings his hands back low. Vladislav has a beginner's habit of lifting his chin and leaning his head back in exchanges.

After being stopped in the second round of his first fight against Christopher Mouafo last July, Gauteac lost a decision to Alessandro Fersula in November. Fersula pressed forward and took advantage of Guateac's exposed chin. He landed straight rights all fight long. Guateac used his feet to try to keep distance, but he typically moved straight back with his hands down.

In his last fight, a contest last month against Anatoli Conopliov, Guateac showed improvement. He snapped his jab and connected with an ill-intentioned left hook in the third round. The fight could have been called a draw, though he was tagged in the fourth round. In a fight refereed by former pro boxer Shlomo Niazov who represented Israel in the 1984 Olympics, Guateac lost by unanimous decision.

Lazarev can box, but he's effective on the front-foot as well. Because Guateac keeps his hands low, Lazarev may not have the same success to the body as usual, but he should be able to land the straight right up top regularly.

This affair is scheduled for four rounds.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Seldin-Mati Off

Cletus Seldin had been scheduled to fight undefeated prospect Reshat Mati on February 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York, but the fight is off.

Cletus has fought once since March of 2020. In September of 2021, Victor Vazquez was brought in as an opponent for Seldin. Vazquez, who would've been overmatched had they fought, failed the physical and the fight was called off. Last June, Seldin was scheduled to fight the undefeated Rachid Jkitou, but Jkitou had to pull out late due to a medical issue.

It has all amounted to lost time for the 36 year old Seldin, who hasn't been able to build on an eleventh round TKO victory over Zab Judah in 2019 to win the vacant NABA junior welterweight belt. A victory over William Silvca is his only notable win since.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Cletus Seldin to Fight Reshat Mati at MSG

Junior welterweight Cletus "Hebrew Hammer" Seldin is scheduled to face Reshat "The Albanian Bear" Mati in a ten-round fight at Madison Square Garden, in New York, New York, USA on Saturday, February 4. While Seldin is a step up for the undefeated Mati, this is a crossroads fight for Cletus.

A 36 year old from Long Island, New York, Seldin is an eleven-year pro with a record of 26-1 and 22 KOs. He possesses a wrecking ball overhand right but has been inactive in recent years. In the past 35 months, he has fought only once. While Seldin has registered six first-round KOs and four second-round KOs, he can be outboxed.

In 2017, Yves Ulysses Jr. did just that on route to scoring three knockdowns and winning a wide unanimous decision. In Seldin's last fight, which was 15 months ago, William Silva used purposeful movement to lure Cletus into his punches for the first four rounds before Seldin switched tactics. In the seventh, Seldin scored a stunning knockout with two overhand rights.

Mati (13-0, 7 KOs), a 24 year old from Staten Island, New York, has the skills and speed to outbox Seldin, but he may not possess the necessary temperament or in-ring discipline to do so. Though Mati has faced some guys with good records, Seldin signifies his toughest opponent to date by far. Reshat's hands and feet are fast. His lefts, in the form of a jab and left hooks to the head and body, are his best punches. He typically lands one flashy shot at a time, which is why his last four fights have gone the distance. Mati keeps his left low and is susceptible to the overhand right.

When at his best, the Albanian Bear is able to maintain distance with precise footwork. His hands are faster than Seldin's, so if he keeps distance and uses his jab regularly, he should coast to a wide unanimous decision victory. But Mati, who has been ten rounds only once, hasn't shown he can stay poised. He seems to get frustrated easily. Against an overmatched Vladyslav Baranov in '21, Mati became disgusted by Baranov's movement. Mati fought with his hands down in stretches, a recipe for disaster against the Hebrew Hammer.

Mati often taunts his opponents, which shows he can be distracted. Whenever fouled, he emphatically complains instead of focusing on his opponent. In his last fight, he impressively outboxed Eduardo Rodriguez in Mexico City until the middle rounds when Mati complained of altitude sickness. He got hit often down the stretch but managed to crawl to a lackluster unanimous decision win.

Mati has a three-inch height advantage, a 12-year age advantage, and has been the far more active fighter. Since March 1, 2020, Mati has fought seven times while Seldin has fought once. Mati is the naturally bigger man. He's only made 140 pounds once while Cletus has made the weight in eight of his last 13 bouts. Since this is for Seldin's NABA 140-pound title, trimming down to junior welter could drain Mati. Seldin should have the advantage if it goes to the later rounds; he's a fitness freak who has gone past eight rounds four times to Mati's once. Cletus has twice the experience in terms of professional rounds as the Bear.

Seldin will want to make it a rough fight to disrupt Mati's game plan, which happens to be the way Cletus fights anyway. If Mati can maintain discipline and distance for thirty minutes, it'll show meaningful improvement. He might look very good early, but based on his past performances, he's likely to slip up mentally, and he's never faced anything like Seldin's hammer.

This fight really only has two likely outcomes: Mati boxing his way to a wide unanimous decision or  Seldin by devastating knockout. If boxing ability were the only criterion, Mati should be the favorite, but since the mental aspects of the sport must be considered, Seldin by KO is the way it'll go. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Top 5 Jewish Canadian Boxers

Jamie Rebner's Top 5 Jewish Canadian Boxers

Jamie Rebner is a fantastic writer whose work has been featured in The Ring, Ringside Seat, Fight City, and Queensberry Rules. A member of the BWAA and IBRO, he recently started a highly recommended Substack called Fight Fundamental. It's extremely interesting- and free- so check it out and sign up. Jamie writes about a variety of topics relating to combat sports, including Canadian boxing history, Jewish boxing history, and, of course, Jewish Canadian boxing history. His profiles of Abe Attell, Maxie Berger, Joe Choynski, Maxie Rosenbloom, and his review of Harry Haft's biography are all riveting portrayals of these great Jewish boxers.

This well-considered list takes into account the boxers' amateur and professional careers.

1. Maxie Berger
2. Al Foreman
3. Sammy Luftspring
4. Harry Hurst
5. Norman "Baby" Yack

Other Top 5s
Jewish North African Boxers
Jewish British Boxers
Jewish Israeli Boxers