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Monday, September 11, 2023

The Flying Hammer: An Interview with Cletus Seldin

Cletus Seldin's fight this Thursday at Sony Hall in  New York, New York likely won't be the toughest challenge he's faced recently. Seldin (26-1, 22 KOs), who is celebrating his 37th birthday today, described to The Jewish Boxing Blog how he spent his 36th birthday.

"Last year, I ran a marathon and jumped out of an airplane all before noon," Cletus, the Hebrew Hammer, said. The sky-diving complex was a mile from his parents' place, so when he and his unsuspecting girlfriend pulled into the parking lot, his girlfriend was shocked to discover that she wasn't in for a celebratory brunch with Ma and Pa Seldin.

Cletus has a fear of heights, but he told himself, "Just do it!" as he leapt out of the plane and hurtled back toward Earth. "It wasn't smart though. We were supposed to fast all morning and after jumping, I was so nauseous."

This year, he's preparing to take on Patrick Okine (21-5-2, 18 KOs) on a card promoted by Boxing Insider. Seldin watches all available video of his opponents. "The last few years, they keep giving me names and then they cancel, so I start watching video a couple weeks before the fight," Seldin told The JBB. "I watch to see his style."

Of Okine, Cletus analyzed, "He's a hell of a puncher. He throws big crazy shots. He throws his combinations and then waits. He's a one round fighter, though. After that first round is over, there's still seven more to go! I can fight the whole time at a consistent pace."

When Seldin enters the ring on Thursday, he'll be sporting Elvis Presley-style chops. His unique styles are often nods to pop cultural references as diverse as Dragon Ball Z and the Earvin Johnson Sr. character on the HBO show Winning Time. Cletus will be wearing his customary purple trunks, the same pair he's worn since his fourth pro fight. He gravitated toward purple because of the color's historical association with royalty.

The fight against Okine comes 23 months after Seldin's last bout. This has been the longest lay-off of his career, but it hasn't been his only one. Cletus admits, "Yes, I do feel ring rust." He notes, "This time is different because I was in the gym every single day. It's not the same as consistent competitive sparring or having the trainer work only with you on an individual basis. But I didn't have to switch up my training this time."

Seldin explains, "I probably have the most unique warmup of any boxer. If somebody was watching me warm up, they'd think I was a professional baseball player." He notes he has been focusing on his flexibility in recent years.

After a mutually amicable split with his former promoter, Seldin says he took this bout to shake off the ring rust. "I'm happy to be back."

This birthday, Seldin's hoping for another great experience. Last year, it was sky-diving. This year, he's looking to make the other guy do the falling.

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