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Saturday, December 30, 2023

Year in Review: 2023

This year has been a great one for Jewish boxing! We got more fights and thankfully, fewer cancellations.

Some of the best:
Focused for Battle looks at several boxers' mindset during the referee's final instructions at center-ring right before the opening bell.
Sagiv Ismailov Wins Under Difficult Circumstances explores the trials an Israeli boxer faced just to take part in a fight in Germany in the wake of the Hamas attacks on October 7.
David Alaverdian Discusses His Last Fight shows what the talented fighter experienced during his gritty bout in April. The article also broke news of a virus that has kept David out of action ever since.
The Promoters' Screwjob is a behind-the-scenes look at Shawn Sarembock's personal introduction to the dirty side of boxing.
The Lasting Legacy of Boxing Historian Mike Silver is a retrospective on the man who wrote one of the  most important books about Jewish boxing history, Stars in the Ring.
Odelia Ben Ephraim Wins French Featherweight Title recaps the fight with great analysis from the fighter herself.
The Flying Hammer is a profile of Cletus Seldin: professional power puncher and part-time skydiver.
CSAC Cancelled Cohen-Bradley Due to "Large Weight Disparity" features reporting on why Stefi Cohen's January fight against Kedra Bradley was nixed at the last minute.

Recap of the fights:
Cletus Seldin ended a two-year hiatus with a win in a rough fight in October. Carolina Duer dropped a disputed split decision in April. Undefeated prospect Sagiv Ismailov fought four times in 2023. The recap of his last fight has links to the other three. Dr. Stefi Cohen went 2-0 with a win in February and another in June. David Alaverdian needed to make adjustments to win his bout in April. Odelia Ben Ephraim went 2-1 this year including a dominant victory in March. Mor Oknin grabbed a "W" in September. Three Jewish fighters won in Israel in February.

This year The Jewish Boxing Blog began covering the pro careers of Ben Ephraim, Josh Feldman, Alex Karchevski, Lev Jackson, and Sahar Meir.

The Top 5 series continues to look at the best 5 Jewish boxers in a particular area or category. Expect more Top 5s in 2024.

This year featured profiles of Alf Mansfield (a tough flyweight who fought Jimmy Wilde), Harry "Kid" Brown (an intelligent pioneer), Jack Silver (a popular Cali lightweight in the '20s), Frankie Fink (the "Yiddisher Cowboy"), Benny Pascal (a tough Philly fighter), Willie Buff (a pro star who embellished his amateur creds), and Ovadia Hochman (an amateur boxer who reinvented himself after scandal).

Sadly, Kenny "Bang Bang" Bogner passed away this year. Here is his obituary.

Book Reviews:
The Fighter of Auschwitz by Erik Brouwer
Stars and Scars by Jeff Jones
Matthew Saad Muhammad by William Dettloff
Family, Gangsters & Champions by Ramon Antonio Vargas
Tony Canzoneri by Mark Allen Baker
Baseball, Nazis & Nedick's Hot Dogs by Jerry Izenberg

Thank you all for reading this year! You can support The Jewish Boxing Blog by following on X/TwitterInstagram, and Threads; subscribing to the Jewish Boxing newsletter at Buy Me a Coffee for a one-time payment of $3; and using Amazon affiliate links on The JBB's Featured Books page. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Lasting Legacy of Boxing Historian Mike Silver

In 2004, the renowned boxing historian, Chuck Hasson, walted into the Natonal Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia to view an exhibition called "Sting Like A Maccabee: The Golden Age of the American Jewish-Boxer," curated by Mike Silver. Hasson looked around and said, "Mike, you did good." Chuck’s affirmation was special. "It meant more to me than a dozen positive reviews,' said Silver.

Since he began writing about boxing in the mid-1970s, Mike Silver has become one of the most important voices in the sport. The author of three of the best books out there, The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science, Stars in the Ring: Jewish Champions in the Golden Age of Boxing, and The Night the Referee Hit Back: Memorable Moments from the World of Boxing, his passion for pugilism has never faded, despite viewing most of the current crop of fighters with a critical eye.

Though Silver possesses immense knowledge and a unique talent for conveying information, his interest and career in boxing began as a result of several serendipitous events involving his family. "My father was an immigrant who grew up on the Lower East Side," Silver told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "He didn't mention the Yankees or the Dodgers. The only sport he talked about was boxing."

Born in Russia, his father, Samuel, immigrated to the United States at the age of ten. "He was the youngest of six siblings and the only one who didn't speak with an accent," said Silver. "He was the most Americanized." Sam attempted to regale his sons with stories of the old Jewish boxers from the Lower East Side, but as a kid, Mike didn't yet take an interest in his dad's tales. The first spark came when Mike looked up boxing in the World Book Encyclopedia, a ubiquitous presence in every household during the 1950s, and became intrigued by the pictures of heavyweight champions Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, and John L. Sullivan.

As a boy, Mike was more interested in professional wrestling than boxing. One day when he was 14, he fell ill and had to miss school. Mike asked his younger brother to pick up a magazine that he saw displayed at the corner candy store that had a photo of wrestler Johnny Valentine on the cover. The magazine was Stanley Weston’s Boxing Illustrated, Wrestling News. After Mike finished with the wrestling articles, he read the boxing section. "That magazine was terrific in conveying the colorful history and romance of the sport. People don't realize, boxing was- in its heyday- a romantic sport," he explained.

Just as Mike found his passion, his dad found him a boxing trainer. Willie Grunes was an old school coach from the Lower East Side. An autodidact, Grunes sold peanuts at the old Madison Square Garden in the 1920s while picking up moves from the great fighters in the ring. Through the years Willie developed a tremendous understanding of the science of the sport. "Over the past four decades I’ve met, observed, and interviewed many trainers, some of whom are very famous," said Silver. "Only a few came close to the depth of Willie’s knowledge of the finer points of boxing technique."

After some lessons with Grunes, Mike attended summer camp. When he came back, Willie's gym had closed, and the trainer was operating out of the world famous Stillman's Gym. "I saw the famous fighters I had seen on tv," Mike recalled. Silver eventually sparred with some of the pros, but Willie was sure to stop any gym wars. "He knew how to train you and not get you killed." Willie would holler, "Move with him. He's green," and the pros would move and throw light punches and jabs, many of which landed on Mike's arms and shoulders.

Grunes had trained lightweight contender Maxie Shapiro, among others, to fight something akin to the precision of a ballet artist in the ring. The trainer taught Mike moves that mimicked Barney Ross: combinations, footwork, mixing his punches up and down, and how to make an opponent miss. Two of Grunes's former students, Bill Goodman and Tony Arnold, also taught Silver a ton about the sweet science.

Silver had a few amateur fights, but Grunes wouldn't let him fight in the Golden Gloves. "Too many ringers," he said. Guys would have over a dozen amateur fights off the books and try to fight as a Sub-Novice. One day when he was a 17 year old, Mike had a bad headache after a rough sparring session and understood it was time to give up boxing. After all, he wanted to go to college. His time learning under Grunes gave Silver a deep understanding of boxing and its difficulty. "I was exposed to enough of it to appreciate how hard it is."

In the mid-1970s, Silver read an article about four heavyweights. He disagreed with the article's assessment and wrote a letter about it to Sports Illustrated. They published the letter, which showed he had something worth saying. His first article as a journalist, though, was another act of serendipity.

Mike's brother was in medical school and working his ER rotation when he saw a new patient with a vaguely familiar face and a familiar surname. "Are you Mickey Walker, the fighter?" he asked. "Yep, and I fought them all," came Mickey Walker's reply. He raced to the phone and called his boxing-mad brother.

Walker was soon transferred over to Jewish Memorial Hospital where Mike met the legend. Walker was laying in his hospital bed. "He had a glow," Silver remembered. "The only other person I've ever seen with that same glow was Robert Kennedy when he was running for senator." Silver noted how long and muscular Walker's arms were even as an older man in his seventies. The champ was a bit out of it and asked, "How's Harry Greb doing?" Silver didn't have the heart to tell him Harry Greb had been dead for nearly fifty years.

Two other early articles buoyed Silver's acclaim. In 1974, he interviewed Roberto Duran through his trainer Freddie Brown. In the article, Silver described Duran as a "pocket-size Jack Dempsey." A while later Silver introduced himself to Duran's manager who responded, "Mike Silver, I know you! You're the guy who said Duran's a pocket-size Dempsey." Silver's only regret about the interview was not having his picture taken with the lightweight world champion. 

The other article arose from an interview with a hard-punching middleweight named Artie Levine. Levine, who Sugar Ray Robinson said was the hardest puncher he ever faced, welcomed Silver to his house. It was Silver's first entry for the legendary magazine, The Ring.

Silver takes a dim view of boxing's deteriorating quality. In his estimation rapacious promoters, the damaging influence of so-called “sanctioning organizations”, and scores of bogus belt holders have "destroyed whatever credibility the sport had.” He explained, "Boxing fell apart by the mid-1990s. It was out of control. In addition, there were very few trainers capable of teaching the finer points of boxing technique.” Around that time, short-sighted boxing pundits wondered aloud if Roy Jones Jr. was the greatest fighter of all-time. "Better than Sugar Ray Robinson?" decried Silver incredulously. The historian set out to set the record straight. Not only about Robinson, but about what he saw as the steady decline of his beloved sport.

Over the next few years, his color-coded files decorated the floor of his home. He considers The Arc of Boxing to be as much an engineering project as a writing one. He had to fit in different segments into the right chapters. He relied not only on his own expertise, but also that of many knowledgeable boxing men, including Bill Goodman, Tony Arnold, Teddy Atlas and Mike Capriano, Jr. After about fifteen publishers rejected his manuscript, McFarland took a chance on it. Numerous experts have since declared The Arc of Boxing "a must-read" for all boxing fans.

Fundamentally, Silver is an advocate for the fighters and for the sport. He has been praised as a "purist" and "old school," but those same words have been used to dismiss him. Silver's criticism of current fighters' technique isn't some blind longing for nostalgia, however. He enjoys watching Terence Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Tyson Fury intrigues him; Silver hasn't seen a big man move like that since Buster Mathis. Silver believes fighters should be taught by true teachers, not only to improve their skills, but for their own safety. His concern for the fighters' safety is, in fact, the topic of his forthcoming book, which will be his fourth.

Whether through his books, his articles, his museum exhibition, his amazing cameos in boxing documentaries, or by simply helping out other historians, Mike Silver has left a lasting legacy on the sport he loves. At the end of our interview, I intended to ask Mike some random boxing questions of which I hadn't found answers. "Since I have an expert here..." I started. "Who? Is someone else  listening?" he joked. "You are!" I shot back. "You're the expert, Mike!" Mike, you've done good.

Mike Silver (center) with four Jewish boxers at the "Sting Like A Maccabee:
The Golden Age of the American Jewish Boxer" exhibit at the Philadelphia Jewish Museum.
From left to right: Phil Pollack, Sammy Farber, Silver, Herbie Kronowitz, and Morris Reif
photo courtesy of Mike Silver

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Sagiv Ismailov Continues to Improve

Sagiv Ismailov won by decision against Evghenii Shabazov at Chisinau State University of Physical Education and Sports in Chisinau, Moldova last night. Ismailov's intelligent jabs and slippery defense controlled the super middleweight+ contest in his first career six-rounder.

Ismailov, a 21 year old Israeli, has developed impressively this year. Against Shabazov, his jab was particularly effective. He used it as a rangefinder, but also had a sneaky jab that he landed often off upper body movement. He shifted in the pocket and fired it when Shabazov least expected. Sagiv also utilized a stab jab to the midsection and even threw double jabs.

Meanwhile, Ismailov put to rest any questions about his stamina. He moved his upper body constantly and showed fleet feet throughout the fight. He slipped punches beautifully; Shabazov had a frustrating time finding the target. At one point in the third round, Ismailov resembled Yuri Foreman, using movement to set up his well-timed attacks from the outside. Sagiv Ismailov transforming into Yuri Foreman was unexpected to say the least.

Though Ismailov lost the first round, there were many good signs. He unveiled a double jab-straight right combination; it missed its mark, but it was a shrewd tactic. He seemed a bit tight early and was tagged with a one-two and several crisp Shabazov jabs. But Sagiv boxed smartly and patiently.

Between each round, the younger man sat down and received a muscle-waking massage to each of his limbs from trainer Evgheni Boico while Shabazov, a 43 year old from Chisinau who has worn a brace on his left elbow in each of his fights, stood up every time. The Moldovan got a towel waved in his face, but no water. The corner work was partly responsible for Ismailov's ascendance and the disappearance of Shabazov's offense down the stretch.

As the fight went on, Sagiv unleashed two-punch combinations to the body while punctuating with head shots. Shabazov was very tough and never in real danger, but he threw less and less as the fight progressed because Ismailov was too elusive.

Sagiv opened up his attack more in the sixth and final round. He sat down more on his punches, and his right found a home on Shabazov's body. He landed a big left hook. Shabazov finally woke up with ten seconds to go and went for broke, but Ismailov couldn't be touched.

Sagiv won by decision (60-54, 60-54, 59-55) to improve his record to 7-0 with 2 KOs. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the fight 59-55 for Ismailov, giving Shabazov only the first. He is now 1-4. After the fight, Sagiv put on his kippah and enjoyed some well-deserved catered kosher food, a welcome change from last fight when he had to bring his own food with him.

Ismailov has improved tremendously this year. His fight in February against a tall southpaw was a tad ugly. He looked much better in April against an opponent with limited pro experience. He shook off the rust last month, showing he can win a fight with just the jab. Last night, his defense was terrific and his offense was very creative. His next step is to counter after slipping punches. Against the Moldovan, Ismailov made him miss, but he didn't really make him pay.

Next year should be another development year. Hopefully, he is active and continues to face opponents with different styles and slightly more pro experience than Shabazov.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Ismailov and Shabazov Weigh In

Sagiv Ismailov and Evghenii Shabazov weighed in ahead of their super middleweight+ clash tomorrow night at Chisinau State University of Physical Education and Sports in Chisinau, Moldova. This is Ismailov's first scheduled six-rounder.

Ismailov (6-0, 2 KOs), a 21 year old Israeli, weighed in at 168.7 pounds, a smidge over the super middleweight limit. He was at his heaviest in April at 170 pounds. His lightest weight was 163.5 back in 2020. This is the third fight in a row he has been a bit over super middleweight, which is not uncommon for young fighters on their way up.

Shabazov (1-3), a 43 year old from Moldova, was a hair over the super middleweight limit at 168.1 pounds. This is the heaviest of his career by just over a pound. His lightest was 165.3 in his debut a year ago.

Some keys to the fight: Ismailov should use his jab early. Overhand rights and left hooks will set up his body shots. Stamina has been an issue for Sagiv in the past and this is his longest scheduled fight. Shabazov should pressure Ismailov relentlessly. He should get in close to negate Ismailov's hand and foot speed advantages. He needs to jab his way forward, not just walk in behind a low guard.

For a full preview, click here.

Sagiv Ismailov
(courtesy of Evgheni Boico)

Friday, December 15, 2023

Sagiv Ismailov to Face Evghenii Shabazov

Sagiv Ismailov is scheduled to face Evghenii Shabazov on December 23 at Universitatea de Educatie Fizica si Sport in Chisinau, Moldova. This will be Ismailov's fourth fight of the year and his first scheduled six-rounder.

This is the second fight since finishing his mandatory IDF commitment for the 21 year Ismailov (6-0, 2 KOs). Sagiv has shown steady improvement and has been moved along well. In February, he fought a tall southpaw. He built up his attack strategically in an April fight and threw intelligent combinations.  Last month, he used the jab effectively and stayed alert against a 100-fight veteran with power who can lull opponents to sleep.

Shabazov (1-3) represents another test. The 43 year old is a tough pressure fighter. An Assyrian from Chisinau, he has decent punch technique and at 5'11" is good at maintaining distance with small steps forward and backward. His primary weaknesses are a lack of hand and foot speed.

Defensively, Shabazov mostly tries to block the punches. He keeps a low guard and rotates his shoulders to bring his guard up. That leaves his midsection open. Occasionally, he pulls back to avoid oncoming fire. Evghenii is vulnerable to overhand rights and left hooks over the top, but opponents need to set up those shots or time them well.

For Ismailov to continue his development as a fighter, it will be important for him to use the jab liberally and then throw those power shots over the top, instead of simply loading up and exchanging. Sagiv has done well in that area his last two fights, and it'll work against Shabazov. Sagiv will also want to unleash combinations to the head that set up body shots, which is his best chance for a knockout against the tough Moldovan. Perhaps the most important key is stamina. The Israeli seems to have cured his stamina issues that troubled him in his third and fourth pro fights, but this is his first six-rounder

Ismailov and his team will travel to Chisinau on Wednesday. He observes Shabbat, so he'll weigh-in Friday morning. The fight will be Saturday night after sundown.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Squabbles at WBA Convention

The 102nd WBA convention in Orlando, Florida, USA featured some incidents involving Jewish boxers and a Jewish promoter. Two-division world champion Carolina Duer, promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, and power puncher Cletus Seldin all attended the convention.

Duer of Argentina got into a public argument with Lewkowicz of Uruguay during the convention. The argument can be viewed here. Both are speaking Spanish, their native tongue.

Lewkowicz got into a far more heated argument when the son of Elvis Grant Phillips, the founder of Grant gloves, allegedly spit in the promoter's face. Here is a video of the aftermath. Former middleweight and light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins leapt to Lewkowicz's defense. At one point, Hopkins came close to Phillips. Seldin played the role of peacemaker, stepping in between Hopkins and the Phillips family.

Boxing Scene reports the alleged spit was "due to a disagreement during the session that pertains to the sanctioning of mandatories and interim-titles." Lewkowicz has pressed charges against Phillips.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Odelia Ben Ephraim to Challenge for European Title

Odelia Ben Ephraim is scheduled to challenge European featherweight champion Sheila Martinez in Alicante, Spain on January 27, 2024. Ben Ephraim won the French featherweight title in her last fight on November 24. Martinez (6-3, one KO) will be making her second defense since taking the title from Anna Lisa Brozzi on February 24.

Ben Ephraim (5-2) traveled to Los Angeles after her most recent fight and spent some time at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym with Jewish Canadian boxer Lev Jackson, who made the trip when his opponent backed out of a scheduled December 1 fight.

Odelia is a 24 year old from Blagnac, France. Both of her losses have come against former Muay Thai world champion Anaelle Angerville, including in her debut. Martinez is a 25 year old from Benidorm, Spain. She won her debut in 2020, lost three straight fights, and is now on a five-fight win streak.

This bout is scheduled for ten two-minute rounds. The Jewish Boxing Blog will have a full preview.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Introducing Sahar Meir

Bantamweight Sahar Meir scored a second round TKO against Roekdee Lajantha at Rangsit International Stadium in Rangsit, Thailand back on May 10. The fight was stopped a minute and eleven seconds into the round. Both fighters were making their professional boxing debuts.

BoxRec lists Meir as a 23 year old resident of Bangkok, Thailand, who was born in Jerusalem. Meir, also known as Sahar Ben Zaken, lists a small town in northern Israel called Misgav as his hometown on social media. Meir has experience fighting in Muay Thai and kickboxing.

Based on his boxing debut and his record in those other combat sports, Meir 
packs a lot of power in his punches.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Josh Feldman Wins by Majority Decision

Junior middleweight Joshua Feldman beat Potego Ntsoane by majority decision this evening at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa. Feldman did not dominate, but he deserved the win.

Feldman, a 19 year old southpaw from Cape Town, had some trouble finding his rhythm early in the fight. The smaller Ntsoane was awkward. He darted in and out, throwing shots from weird angles on his way in close and then clinching. As the shorter man who initiated the clinches, Ntsoane popped Feldman with his head a few times. But by the end of the opening round, Feldman found his range and landed a good combination.

Josh's jab didn't always fight the target, but in the second round, it occupied Ntsoane and set up the Capetonian's straight left. Ntsoane connected with a sharp counter straight right of his own, but Josh finished the second strong by attacking the body.

In the second half of the fight, both young men began to tire. Feldman adeptly slipped punches in the third and fourth rounds, but his offense was a bit more muted. While Feldman looked gassed by the end of the fight, Ntsoane's mouth remained agape as he gasped for air. For much of the contest, Potego used an amateur style, touching Feldman with lots of light blows that did little damage. Josh punctuated the fourth with some good hard combos, including one that ended with a left uppercut snapping back Ntsoane's head while he was on the ropes.

Two judges had the bout 39-37 for Feldman while one called it a draw at 38. Ntsoane tried hard, fought well, and may have a future in professional boxing, but he didn't deserve more than one round. Feldman landed all of the harder blows. He is now 2-0; Ntsoane is 0-1.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Feldman and Ntsoane Weigh In

Joshua Feldman and Potego Ntsoane weighed in ahead of their junior middleweight clash at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa tomorrow. The fight is part of a show promoted by Boxing 5 Promotions.

Feldman, a 19 year old who is 1-0, came in 153.3 pounds. Ntsoane, making his debut, weighed in at 149 pounds. These weights are unofficial at this time. Feldman was 153 for his first fight in October.

Josh splits his time training in his hometown of Cape Town and with Colin Nathan in Johannesburg. The key for the southpaw is to box smartly and don't force the knockout. In his debut against Mbulelo Aluhvani, Feldman dominated the fight from the outside. He did well in the pocket too, but by be fighting in close, he provided Aluhvani offensive opportunities. Potego Ntsoane will want to pressure Feldman and make it ugly.

This bout is slated for four rounds. It can be stream at VisionView.TV

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Top 5 Jewish South African Boxers

Andre de Vries's Top 5 Jewish South African Boxers

A legend in the sport, Andre de Vries is perhaps the most knowledgeable person on Earth about South African boxing.  He has done almost everything in boxing, working as a historian, journalist, commentator, record keeper, collector, and for Boxing South Africa in various capacities, to name just a few of his contributions.

Mr. de Vries mentioned that he doesn't keep stats based on race or religion, but he was very gracious to compile this enlightening list for The Jewish Boxing Blog. Note Tiger Burns was also known as Dan Levine.

1. Dave Katzen
2. Alf James
3. Leonard Friedman
4. Oscar Jacobsohn
5. Tiger Burns

Other Top 5s
Jewish Bareknuckle Boxers
Jewish Boxers since 1960
Jewish Londoner Boxers
Jewish Dutch Boxers
Jewish French Boxers
Jewish Female Boxers
Jewish Israeli Boxers
Jewish British Boxers
Jewish Canadian Boxers
Jewish North African Boxers

Friday, December 1, 2023

The Pioneering Intelligence of Harry "Kid" Brown

Harry "Kid" Brown pioneered scouting and game planning in boxing, believing brains were at least as important as brawn. He was one of the first fighters to study his opponents and learn their style. "You have to know 'em before you can hit 'em," he once declared.

Born on March 10, 1901, Harry Brown was raised in South Philadelphia before it became home to a high Jewish population in the early twentieth century. Harry's neighborhood was exclusively Irish. The Browns had been the first Jewish family to move in and, as a result, quickly learned how to scrap. As a kid, Harry got a job as a newsboy, a profession uniquely suited to prepare one for the life of a boxer. Newsboys had to physically fight in order to maintain a lucrative corner to supplement the family income. BoxRec has Brown boxing on a newsboy card at the age of fourteen and scoring a second round TKO.

Brown's widely recognized debut came when he was 16. He walked up to Walter Schlichter, who was serving as manager of the Gayety Theatre at the time, and asked to fight on his next card. Schlichter, also a sportswriter and boxing referee, recalled the encounter. "He was wearing knickers and looked as though he had just left a kindergarten class."

Tall and slender, Brown came of age during Philadelphia's 'no decision' era when official results were only registered for fights that ended early. If a bout went the distance, newspapers printed their verdict the next day. Harry fought constantly, having amassed at least 50 fights when he faced featherweight world champion Johnny Kilbane at Shibe Park on May 24, 1920 in a six-round no-decision bout. Brown took the fight to Kilbane in the early rounds and the "obscure boxer," as one paper described him, earned a divided decision victory from the press.

On December 12, 1921, Brown fought junior lightweight world champion Johnny Dundee at the Olympia Athletic Club in an over-the-weight affair. The kid had some success on the inside, but Dundee outboxed him to take the eight-rounder in the eyes of the newsmen. Over the next two months, Brown continued to fight often, including two wins over Sammy Mosberg, the 1920 Olympic lightweight gold medalist. The second one was an eight-rounder at Madison Square Garden.

To this point in his career, Harry argued that his toughest fight had been an early one against a puncher named Mike Malone. "I was a sophomore at South Philadelphia High School at the time," Brown remembered, "and did not have time to read papers about different boxers." When he was offered a fight in October of 1917, Brown recalled, "I didn't even ask who my opponent was to be." In the fight, Malone nearly knocked out Brown, who held on for dear life before coming back to earn a newspaper decision. The Malone experience taught Brown the importance of knowing one's opponent, and that knowledge made a him better fighter. "Would you believe it," he queried, "the bouts with Johnny Kilbane and Johnny Dundee were about the easiest I ever had?"


Brown's next big fight came on July 31, 1923 when he took on the new junior lightweight world champion Jack Bernstein in an eight-round no-decision contest. Though a boring fight, Harry won convincingly, cutting Bernstein in the last round. By that point, he had about a hundred fights on his record. Three wins later, Brown battled future lightweight champion Sammy Mandell at Madison Square Garden on October 26. Mandell was too fast for Brown and won the twelve-rounder by wide decision.

Brown fought twice more before dropping a ten-round fight to newly crowned European and British lightweight champion Harry Mason in New York early in 1924. The crowd at the Pioneer Sporting Club disagreed with the official verdict while Mason walked away with a bloody lip for his trouble. After a relatively slow 1924, Brown faced Jimmy Goodrich early in 1925. With decisions legalized in Pennsylvania in 1924, the Goodrich fight would see an official judgement. At the Arena in Philly, the two judges split, but the referee awarded Goodrich, who would become lightweight world champion in six months, the victory.

On September 24, Brown lost to Sid Terris at Shibe Park. Harry had been a late replacement and gave a good account of himself against an opponent with incredibly fast hands. A bizarre no-contest in Baltimore against future middleweight world champion Vince Dundee followed a few months later. On April 9, 1926, Harry fought Mandell in a rematch in East Chicago, Indiana. Mandell, who would win the lightweight world title in three months, flashed his speed once again and took every round in a ten-round newspaper decision. Brown continuously clinched until referee Dave Barry, later of the Long Count fame, pried Harry off of Sammy.

Harry's younger brother Joe also became a professional boxer. Eight years younger, Joe dropped out of Temple University to pursue a career in pugilism. After nine victories in nine fights, Joe called it quits. It was a wise decision. Described as possessing "hands hard enough to knock out a light-heavyweight and soft enough to sculpt a remarkable figure of a beaten boxer," Harry's little brother became a world-renowned sculptor and eventually a professor at Princeton University.
Joe Brown at work

Harry wouldn't become an Ivy League professor, but he showed his intelligence in other ways. He not only devised game plans, but also came up with backup plans for his fights. "If nothin' else, a change in style is guaranteed to confuse them," he reasoned.

Late in 1926, Harry Brown went on a West Coast swing. He boasted over a hundred victories, including those of the newspaper variety. While in Los Angeles, Brown would enjoy the greatest success of his career. In succession, he beat the formidable Baby Joe Gans, Young Harry Wills, and the popular Johnny Adams. That set up a matchup against 18 year old hotshot Jackie Fields, the reigning Olympic featherweight gold medalist and future two-time welterweight world champion. "I look at this match as the toughest I've ever had," Fields claimed.

Jackie's hand speed and superior footwork were too much for Brown, who at 25 years old, was a wily veteran of nearly 150 fights. A few weeks later, Harry traveled to San Francisco to fight another future two-time welterweight world champion, Young Jack Thompson. At Dreamland Rink, Brown was stopped in the fifth round in February. In a rematch a month later at the same venue, Brown lost by decision. He fought on another five and half years, until 1932, but no longer at the top level.

Harry never got a legitimate shot at the title, nor did he get his dream fight. Brown always pursued a grudge match against his former stablemate Lew Tendler. Brown believed their manager Phil Glassman gave Tendler star treatment, while Brown played the role of second banana. Harry bought out his contract for $2,000 and signed with Harry Segal for a while. He then linked up with Max "Boo Boo" Hoff, the Philadelphia gangster. By that time, "Lefty" Lew was a dozen pounds heavier than the "Kid," so the duel never materialized.

Harry "Kid" Brown's final tally was something like 117-43-26, including newspaper decisions, with 19 KOs, he was stopped three times, and had two no contests, according to BoxRec. After boxing, Harry spent time as a masseur, owned a bar, and a boxing gym. He was known to be well-bred and a sterling conversationalist. Harry died on March 28, 1985 at the age of 84. His brother Joe had died just two weeks earlier.

By implementing innovative boxing strategies, Brown built on the legacy of the great Daniel Mendoza. In addition to the legends he fought, he swapped punches with dozens of very good opponents as well. In 1968, Harry was elected to the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame. Venerable boxing historian Mike Silver rates Brown as one of the ten best Jewish fighters from Philadelphia ever. Hopefully, Harry "Kid" Brown will soon receive even wider recognition for his contributions to the sweet science. He deserves it.

Brown, Harry "Kid." "The Hardest Battle of My Ring Career." The Sun. Feb. 23, 1923. Pg. 10.
"Dave Shade Beats Wells at Garden." New York Times. Oct. 27, 1923, Pg. 10.
"Eckersall, Walter. "Sammy Mandell Beats Kid Brown in Every Round." Chicago Daily Tribune. Apr. 10, 1926. Pg. 21.
"Harry 'Kid' Brown, 84, South Philadelphia Boxer." Philadelphia Inquirer. Mar. 30, 1985. Pg. B5.
"Inductee: Joe Brown." Philly Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
"Itches to Meet Tendler." Los Angeles Times. Aug. 15, 1926. Pg. A7.
"Kid Williams Wins over Patsy Johnson." The Sun. May 25, 1920. Pg. 11.
"Mason Beats Brown in Ten-Round Bout." New York Times. Jan. 16, 1924. Pg. 13.
Silver, Mike. Stars in the Ring. 2016. Pgs. 126, 323.
"Villa Outpoints Williams in Bout." New York Times. Aug. 1, 1923. Pg. 15.