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Friday, March 22, 2024

Two Jewish Fighters Compete in Ring Masters

Following in the tradition of the defunct New York Golden Gloves, the Ring Masters amateur championships brings together the New York area's best boxers in the unpaid ranks. Two Jewish fighters have made it deep into this year's tournament. Rebecca Goldberg will fight in the finals of the 146 elite division at Madison Square Garden next month. David Malul hopes to join Goldberg at MSG. He fights in the semifinals of the 147 novice class tomorrow (Saturday, March 23) at 4pm on his home turf at John's Boxing Gym in the Bronx.

Goldberg, a 34 year old physician assistant in orthopedic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, is a boxer whose background in soccer helped her develop her style in the ring. She thinks and moves behind an educated jab. The main criticism her trainer, Jose Guzman, gives her is "to be angrier."

Malul is a 21 year old real estate broker from Queens. Always a sports fan, he dreamed of success as an athlete, but needed to find the right sport. At 16, he took up boxing at John's when it was located on Jerome Avenue. He quickly realized that with the right trainers, he could be great, so he enlisted Mike Stellati and Angel Torres to guide his career.

Goldberg started boxing eight or nine years ago as a way to support her friend who wanted to get in better shape for her own wedding. The friend had a GroupOn to Mendez Boxing Gym. "After the wedding, she stopped, I stayed," Goldberg told The Jewish Boxing Blog in a phone interview.

She instantly felt a connection with the sport. "You're never gonna be perfect," she said. "I believe no one's a true boxing master. There's always something to learn, something you can build on." Guzman told Goldberg that she trained like a fighter and pushed her to compete, which only created a greater love for the sport. "When you win, it's the greatest feeling. When you lose, you want to get it back. It's an unbreakable cycle."

While many coaches protect their fighters, Guzman encouraged Goldberg to accept challenges. In her third amateur fight, she took on an opponent with a dozen more bouts of experience. Still with Guzman, but now representing Victory Boxing Club after her old gym became a casualty of the pandemic, this is Goldberg's fourth Ring Masters and she acknowledges, "It's nice being the one with experience now."

This is Malul's first Ring Masters. "Family and Israel fuel me to fight in the ring," he told The Jewish Boxing Blog on the phone as he prepared for Shabbat. David was especially gracious with his time as he is in the process of cutting weight before tomorrow's weigh-in and semifinal bout.

Malul has had a tough draw on the road to the semis. "I've had lots of obstacles, lots of opponents in this tournament." But Ring Masters has given him the opportunity to showcase his talent and support his people, two important motivations.

Goldberg said, "I've been chasing this tournament." Her dream is to compete at the National Golden Gloves, and Ring Masters serves as a qualifying tournament. Last year, she lost in the finals at the Garden. Should she achieve her dream this year, she'll take things as they come.

For Malul, "The sky's the limit." His goal is to turn professional. "First thing's first, I've got to win this tournament." If he can make it to MSG, he aims to win in front of his family, the people he loves.

Though the name has changed, the tradition of Jewish fighters competing and thriving in New York's most glamorous amateur boxing tournament remains the same.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Adventures in B.C. Boxing: An Interview with Lev Jackson

"I'm really confident in my punching power right now, which is something that I think is overlooked out of my abilities," Lev Jackson told me in an extensive interview that began in a backroom of Beyond Boxing, a gym located on Hastings Street in Burnaby, a neighboring suburb of Vancouver, and continued at Quesada Burritos & Tacos amid a smattering of curious customers and employees.

Lev is just the latest Jewish fighter from Vancouver, a legacy that dates back to the first Semitic settler. Leapin' Louis Gold, born in Warsaw, set up a grocery store in Gastown, now a neighborhood inside of Vancouver, in 1872. Drunk ruffians would mock Gold's short stature and his religion, so he retaliated with his signature punch, a leaping uppercut to the chin.

A hundred and fifty years later, Jackson's best punch isn't an uppercut, but a right hook. We started the interview a few minutes before the 31 year old lightweight, as part of his cooldown, went two rounds on the pads with Jimmy Lin, an assistant coach working with Jackson's new head trainer Louis Sargeant. It was only Jackson and Lin's second session together on the pads, so they were still finding their rhythm, but the frightening pop of Jackson's right hook hitting Lin's mitt provided support for Jackson's confidence.

The Beginning
The southpaw was just a kid when he fell in love with boxing. The boxing website Fight News needed a Vancouver correspondent and the precocious Jackson applied. "I wanted to get free tickets and access to boxing." Fortunately, Manny Sobral, an excellent former pro, started West Coast Promotions at the same time.

Sobral staged his shows at River Rock Casino in Richmond, a suburb just south of Vancouver. He gave Jackson access and took care of the young Richmond native. Everything went well for about a year until Fight News asked Lev to cover the Vernon Forest-Carlos Baldomir fight held on July 27, 2007 at the Queen Emerald Casino across the border in Takoma, Washington and televised on HBO.

Despite his best efforts, Lev couldn't finagle his way in. He asked Fight News, "What can you guys do about it if I'm under 21?" They responded, "Well, how old are you?"

That's when the gig was up. "I watched it on tv and I thought it was pretty funny because Baldomir's kids were stuck watching in the production truck. I was like, 'If the fighter's kids can't get in, I had no chance!'"

Lev soon began boxing under the guidance of George Angelomatis, a real life mensch. "He raised a generation and ran a troubled youth program for close to forty years," Jackson explained. Angelomatis was a provincial court judge that coached boxing and served on local commissions in his spare time. Jackson would be his final Canadian amateur champion, a list that includes two Olympians, bronze medalist Dale Walters and the aforementioned Sobral.

Jackson hates to admit that, like every other boxer, he caused trouble as a kid. "All of us are a bit weird, all of us were kind of shitheads, basically. I never heard of a boxer's origin story, 'I was an alter boy.' That doesn't happen." Boxing helped Lev's parents know where he was and that he wasn't causing any more trouble.

Before his passing in 2013, Angelomatis told Jackson, "The biggest knock I can give on you is that you like to fight. You have the skills to box, but for whatever reason, you choose to fight." After one bout, he told Lev, "You got the win. You coulda made it easy, but you like to make it fun."

At the age of 15, Jackson was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which causes inflammation of the digestive tract. "In life and in training, it's an obstacle. I would be lying if I said it wasn't," he acknowledged. "But the way some guys think, like I'm soft to the belly. I'm definitely not. I make sure I have a much stronger core and lower body strength. If you're gonna target my body, go right ahead, you're gonna leave yourself open for something to eat."

His amateur career was interrupted when doctors advised him to stop boxing because of the effects of the disease. He deeply missed the sport during the three and half years he was away.

During this period apart from boxing, he spent some time as a professional wrestler. "It's not fake. It's predetermined," he said of the contact sport. "It allowed me to cathartically do something physical. And also, it's a little different; there are no weight classes. Everyone's well over 200 pounds!"

When Jackson got the green light to return to boxing, he had no trouble reacclimating to the sport. "It was more exciting than anything to go back to it," he said. "I always loved it. I never really thought it was going to be the end." He said he had "itchy knuckles" to get back in the ring. Once back, his aim was to turn pro as quickly as possible. "I didn't ever want to look back in twenty years and say I could've, I should've pursued something. I remember thinking, I have to go pro. Even if I suck. Even if I lose three fights and that's that, I can say I gave it a go."

He linked up with friend and former pro Junior Moar during a period which Lev describes as "a year of rebuilding." He had four amateur fights with Coach Moar and won all four of them. "I wanted to go pro right away," Lev said, "but he was like, 'No, let's get your feet wet again.'"

Jackson had 38 amateur fights in all. "I remember I did the full count a couple years ago and it was 38. And then I accidentally realized it was 39, but 38's a better sounding number." So we'll go with 38.

Turning Pro
Jackson won his first pro fight on May 11, 2019 and didn't fight for another two and half years. "It sucked," he declared. "I remember thinking before I went pro, 'I'm gonna bang out the first few fights and get them out of the way. I want to build a record.' I didn't want to be like so many pros, for whatever reason, sitting on 1-0." Then, the combination of the pandemic and "some life stuff" froze his career. He never stopped training, but wouldn't fight again until November 6, 2021.

"I took it on short notice," Jackson recalls of his second fight. "It's one that I'd still like to-" His voice trails off wistfully. The fight against a debutant named Ely Avelar Martinez was called a draw. "You're never going to believe me, but I thought I won! In the most polite way possible, I'd like to get that one back. But that opponent is well beneath me now."Jackson had been scheduled to fight the rematch last December, but the commission wouldn't let Martinez fight in a six-rounder because his record stands at 0-1-1. "When the commission said he can't do six rounds, I think it was their way of telling me to let it go."

In his next fight, Jackson knocked out Herman Cheuk in the second round with an unexpected punch.  "I threw two straight lefts and then I just threw a post hook, one of the ones that's supposed to say, 'Stay there,' so I can get back and get to the other left, and that was the one that did it. Boom! and then the eyes rolled to the back of the head, I'm like [showing surprise] ok, ok."

Three months later, Jackson hoped to "skip the line" when he faced experienced journeyman Mario Victorino Vera, who had an even record against tough competition. Vera held a win over future title contender Christian Medina. "Every time J.Y. [Kim, his head coach at the time] and I would watch that fight," Lev said, "he can't understand how we lost a decision. It was a close fight, but we did well."

Jackson noted, "That dude was tough. It was inexperience [on my part], like when I would land shots and wobble him in that fight, I didn't have the wherewithal to follow up. If I would've had a little bit more experience and was a little sharper, it would've been very clear. Instead, it was a close fight." Jackson says he was hit with about 40 rabbit punches during the bout. Four stitches to the back of his head served as proof.

Though the Vera fight resulted in loss on his record, it gave Lev confidence. "It was a great experience. I knew I could hang at the level against an opponent who has a win against a world ranked guy. There  wasn't really anything between us." Jackson does admit, "It sucked because losses suck." But he would love to fight Vera again.

Jackson next fought an old rival named Elroy Fruto. "I smacked him around in the amateurs. That was when I came back and had the quick four amateur fights. He's a tough kid." Lev explained, "All respect to Elroy, but I went back to the corner after the first round and said, 'This is gonna be way easier than I thought it would be. And all a sudden a headbutt happens. I couldn't see. I've had worse cuts than that, but my vision was blurry and the doctor stopped it.'" It was ruled a no contest.

"I originally came up as a bit of a banger and more of a pressure fighter," Jackson said. "More recently, I adopted a bit more boxing and moving, which paid dividends when I had to fight a guy that was two weight classes bigger than me." Last July, Jackson fought awkward rangy welterweight Luis Prieto. "He did come down to 138, so I appreciate that," said Jackson. "When you hit a guy that size, their weight's going to keep them up."

Jackson recalled, "There was one moment in that where I came out thinking, 'I don't care about the size difference. I'm still going to win this by knockout. This is my hometown. The place I grew up in, Richmond, B.C.' I landed a great shot. Pretty sure it was the first round." Jackson snapped Prieto's head back. Prieto shook it off like it was nothing and walked forward. "Alright, I guess I'm moving this fight," Jackson muttered to himself.

Lev won by majority decision to the shock of the broadcasters covering the contest. I watched the fight on YouTube before meeting Lev and found the commentators' view of it incongruous with what I saw. I rewound the video over a dozen times when I thought I saw Lev land a big shot only to hear the broadcasters compliment Prieto. Even before I could tell Lev what I saw, he brought it up.

"We lost about one round is what we were seeing in the corner." Jackson was frustrated by the unwarranted criticism, but took it as a lesson on how to deal with the reality of being a pro athlete.

Lev has suffered difficult setbacks during his career, particularly dubious decisions. He's a butcher by day and in both of his jobs, he cuts easily. He's currently working on ways to reduce his propensity to cut, swell, and bruise, which are side effects of the anti-inflammatory medication he takes to combat Crohn's disease. "At the end of every fight I will look a little marked up even if I barely get touched," he explained.

Lev is practical about those seemingly unfair decisions. "One school of thought with judging is who would you rather be at the end of the round. And sometimes it's hard when somebody's bleeding. I cut easily. If somebody has a cut and the other guy doesn't, you probably want to be the guy without the cut."

The Future
Jackson has an important fight coming up. It hasn't yet been announced, but he'll be taking a big risk. The fight was signed days before Canada passed new restrictions on Mexican citizens traveling up north, which should change the landscape of Canadian boxing.

Back when Lev worked for Fight News as a kid, he said, "I got to see the more conniving and nasty side of the boxing business from a young age." Specifically, he learned that boxing often has an A-side and a B-side. In Canada, the B-side is often a "fly-in Mexican" or some other foreign national brought in to, hopefully, lose to the hometown fighter.

On February 29, Canada instituted new regulations requiring Mexicans to obtain a visa, which can take weeks to secure. It makes lower-level opponents from Mexico far less attractive options to Canadian promoters. 

"The good news for Canadians if you're looking for fights is expect a phone call." Jackson was offered three different fights in two weeks following the new visa requirement, but he has his heart set on his next fight, which will be on the road.

Though he sees improvement in its infrastructure, Jackson explained that British Columbia is something of an island when it comes to boxing. "A win in B.C. doesn't do much in the rest of Canada. Nobody watches what we're doing out here."

And he knows he'll be the villain in his next fight. When he traveled to a casino just outside of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan for the Vera fight, he learned, "Just being from Vancouver makes you the bad guy. I remember thinking, 'I'm going to be the good guy, I'm from Canada.' As soon as they said, 'From Vancouver, British Columbia,' everyone was like, 'Booo!'"

For Jackson, the future is rooted in the past. He is now working with Louis Sargeant, a former fighter and immigrant from Guyana. He still has a good relationship with past coaches Junior Moar and J.Y. Kim. Sargeant, in fact, fought Moar twice on Manny Sobral shows in Richmond. He's known Lev since Jackson was a just starting out.

With Sargeant's guidance, Lev Jackson is excited to carry on Vancouver Jews' fighting tradition and face the big fish, just as his forerunner, Leapin' Louis Gold, did a hundred and fifty years ago.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Seldin Starts Strong, Wins Decision

Cletus Seldin defeated Jose Angulo by majority decision tonight at Madison Square Garden Theater. He scored a knockdown in each of the first two rounds before Angulo moved more to get into the fight.

Seldin-Angulo was supposed to open the televised portion of the 360 Promotions card, but it ended up being the third fight of the night. The crowd chanted, “Hamma! Hamma!” before the start of the bout. Cletus, the 37 year old puncher, came out aggressively. He used agile footwork to close the distance and targeted Angulo’s body with rights. The body work set up a monstrous overhand right that sent the 27 year old Ecuadorian to the canvas. The fight looked over, but Angulo courageously got back on his feet.

Seldin continued to target the body in the rest of the round. In the second, he came out with the same strategy, but added an uppercut. A left hook landed high on Angulo’s head for the second knockdown of the fight. The Ecuadorian ran for most of the round as Seldin slung left hooks. He managed to connect with a counter right as Seldin rushed forward with more abandon than before.

Angulo spent the next several rounds straddling the line between running and boxing. He started the third well, and landed a jab shortly before Seldin slipped and fell. Referee David Fields ruled no knockdown. Jose then ran until he found the right uppercut, which would be his most consistent weapon the rest of the way.

The fourth was close as Seldin continued to land rights to the hip in the hopes of slowing down Angulo. Meanwhile, Angulo relied on those right uppercuts and added a left hook to the body late in the round. Seldin trapped Angulo on the ropes a couple times in the fifth and managed to split his guard down the middle.

Angulo started the sixth fast, but the round quickly fell into a similar pattern as the previous one. Angulo was accurate on the move, but threw fewer punches than Seldin, who landed the harder shots.

Angulo had his best round in the seventh when he landed a hard right uppercut and several left hooks to the head. Seldin was never in trouble and finished the round with a good right.

Angulo continued throwing left hooks and right uppercuts in the final round, but he held more than he had previously. There was a long delay from the moment the final bell rang until the scorecards were read.

Seldin won on two judges’ cards 78-72 and 77-73. The third judge preferred Angulo’s movement, giving him five rounds, but with Seldin’s two knockdowns, that card read 75-75. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored it 77-73 for Seldin. He is now 28-1 with 23 KOs while Angulo falls to 16-8 with 9 KOs.
Courtesy of 360 Promotions

After the decision was announced, Cletus took the microphone and proposed in the ring to his girlfriend Jessica, who accepted. Mazel tov to the newly engaged couple!

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Cletus Seldin and Jose Angulo Weigh In

Cletus Seldin and Jose Angulo weighed in ahead of their clash tomorrow at the MSG Theater in New York. Both weighed in a few pounds south of the welterweight division.

Seldin, a 37 year old New Yorker, weighed in at 142.4 pounds. That was the same weight he was for his last fight in October against Patrick Okine. It is well within the Hebrew Hammer’s normal range. With a record of 27-1, Cletus will be hunting his 24th knockout tomorrow.

Angulo, a 27 year old from Ecuador, tipped the scales at 143.6 pounds. He was a lightweight for his second pro fight back in 2016. Since then, Angulo (16-7, 4 KOs) has vacillated between the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions with four exceptions. In 2018, he weighed 152 pounds for two fights. In 2021, he came in at 148 pounds for two others.

Both fighters are in excellent shape for tomorrow’s scheduled eight rounder to be televised on UFC Fight Pass. The Jewish Boxing Blog’s preview of Seldin-Angulo is here.

Courtesy of 360 Promotions

Monday, March 11, 2024

Mor Oknin's Fight Apparently Canceled

Larry Merchant once described boxing as "the theater of the unexpected." Sometimes it's more like the theater of the absurd.

Mor Oknin was scheduled to fight Sunday night at the Ciudad Deportiva Carmen Serd├ín in Mexico City, Mexico. He had flown all the way from Israel a couple of days ago to fight an opponent who reportedly didn’t show up for the weigh-in. The fight was apparently canceled.

The event promoted by TT Promotions was streamed on Vamos Deportes Boxeo's YouTube channel. Almost two hours into the show, a strange thing occurred. Oknin got into the ring wearing a white robe with a blue Star of David and his customary number 26, also in blue. Tzitzit hung down from the robe. On the back read his surname along with his nickname "The Son of the Lion" and a larger Star of David. His trunks were also white and donned the small blue six-pointed star and his number on the back. His red Reyes gloves jabbed at shadows as he waited for the announcer to introduce him.

The ring announcer declared Rafael "El Leon" Oknin of Israel the winner by technical knockout. The referee raised Oknin's hand as he rapped along with with Ness & Stilla's controversial song Harbu Darbu that blared from the speakers. He took bows in the ring and fist bumped the announcer and the two ring card girls before exiting. But there had been no opponent and no fight.

Before Sunday night, Oknin contended that his professional record is 3-0. BoxRec says it's 1-1. He won his first bout by KO when his opponent injured his hand in 2021. The following year, Oknin undoubtedly fought in February in Mexico. The result is a matter of contention. The commission told BoxRec, Oknin lost by TKO. Oknin claims he won by TKO. BoxRec admits that commissions, particularly in Mexico, sometimes feed the site false results.

Last September, Oknin won when his opponent retired in the corner after the second round. Yet, his fight is not listed on BoxRec. The rest of the event is on the site, although it is listed as taking place on the Tuesday, September 5 when it actually took place on Sunday, September 3.

All that is to say, Mor Oknin is intimately aware of boxing's absurdity.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Benny Nizard Wins Pro Debut

Junior middleweight Benny Nizard won his pro debut by unanimous decision against Avend Yassin at Palais des sports Marcel Cerdan in Levallois-Perret, France. The former French amateur champion displayed impressive ability during his first fight.

Nizard, a southpaw from Paris, slid through the ropes to wild applause. When the bell rang, Yassin, a 33 year old from Ploufragan, started the fight as a southpaw. Nizard flicked a jab for show and smacked an overhand left against Yassin's cheek just as the contest commenced. Yassin quickly turned orthodox and remained that way for the rest of the bout.

Amid raucous chants of "Nizard! Nizard!" Benny continued to use his jab as a distraction in order to land straight, overhand, and looping lefts. When Yassin got too close for comfort on one occasion, Nizard shouldered him to the canvas. Benny slipped one shot and came back with an intelligent left to the body. He later landed a stunning combination while Yassin was trapped in the corner. He finished the round with two lefts, turning with Yassin as the latter tried to get out of dodge.

It was a brilliant opening round of his career.

The pace slowed a bit in the second. With thirty seconds left in the round, the two fighters exchanged shots with Benny getting the better of it. Nizard had the faster hands and threw his punches with more conviction, which convinced Yassin to avoid a firefight and keep his hands home.

Nizard introduced his right hook in the third round. Yassin was trapped in the corner when a big overhand left crashed into face. The skilled Parisian finished one combination with a left to the body, later landed a check right hook and quickly got out of harm's way, and finished the round alternating between the head and body with that back hand.

The beginning of the fourth round looked like much of the same. Nizard snapped back Yassin's head early and then touched him with lefts up and down to set up his right hook. But Yassin not only showed courage and toughness, he refused to quit. A hard right to Benny's body encouraged Avend to press forward with a body attack. Nizard ended the fight strong though. He connected with a short counter left and finished with a harmless jab that set up a damaging straight left.

Nizard has clearly been taught well by trainer Mike Cohen. Benny disguised his offense with deceptive upper body movement and has a creative variety of combinations for such a young fighter. Defensively, he kept his head off the line effectively. But it's important to keep expectations reasonable and give Benny time to develop.

At times he lunged in when throwing his left from the outside and was slow to bring that hand back after launching it. Against a better opponent, the southpaw would be susceptible to the counter right. Beginning midway through the third round, he kept his hands down in spots because he felt confident of victory, but perhaps he should have kept his foot on the accelerator .

Any minor criticism aside, it was a magnificent debut. The Jewish Boxing Blog scored the fight the same as all three judges, 40-36 for Nizard, who weighed 159 pounds. He's now 1-0. Yassin, who was 153.5, falls to 1-1-1.

Nizard (left) and Yassin

Friday, March 8, 2024

Joshua Feldman Wins by TKO

Joshua Feldman made short work of Sibusiso "The Killer" Muteleni today at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa. Feldman scored the stoppage victory a minute and 26 seconds into the second round.

Muteleni weighed in at just 140.3 pounds for the junior middleweight contest. At the weigh-in, he indicated that he didn't want to fight, but his coaches convinced him to through with the contest. Muteleni was forced to gain four pounds yesterday and weigh in again before the fight was allowed to proceed.

To Muteleni's credit, he got into the ring and though he was mostly in survival mode, he connected with a few counter rights. But they had no effect on Feldman. From the outset, the 19 year old southpaw from Cape Town went after Muteleni. He craved a knockout and mostly threw whipping right hooks and pinpoint straight lefts.

Feldman treated Muteleni's power with zero respect, walking towards his lighter foe with impunity. During the second round, Feldman landed with yet another right hook and Muteleni fell back into the corner. Feldman caught him with an uppercut before Muteleni crumpled to the canvas. He rose nine and a half seconds after falling. Referee Riaan Van Rensburg saw Muteleni did not want to continue and wisely waved off the fight.

In the build up, Feldman pleaded with Muteleni to bring his "A" game. Instead, Sibusiso should pick a new game or at least a new nickname, as he posed virtually no threat. In addition, coming in so drastically underweight was unprofessional. While the fight didn't help the skilled Feldman much, he did sit down on his punches at times, which was something he had been working on in camp. It paid off with his first knockout. He's now 3-0. Muteleni falls to 0-2.

courtesy of Boxing5's IG page

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Josh Feldman Makes Weight, Opponent Comes in Low

Joshua Feldman is scheduled to fight Sibusiso Muteleni tomorrow at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa. The fight, however, is now in jeopardy as Muteleni  came in considerably underweight at today's weigh-in.

Feldman, a 19 year old from Cape Town, came in under the junior middleweight limit at 153.8 pounds. Josh is 2-0 and has now weighed between 153 and 154 pounds for all of his fights.

Muteleni also came in under the junior middleweight limit, but he was significantly under. He tipped the scales at 140.3, a satisfying bowel movement away from making the junior welterweight limit, two divisions below the contracted weight. Muteleni had come in at 149.3 pounds for his lone pro fight last May. He's either nine pounds lighter this time around, or his weight from the first fight was embellished.

When an official read off Muteleni's weight today as 63.65 KGs, the event's mc announced "63..." as a question. When the official reread the weight, the mc actually commented that it was way low. During the stare down, Josh remained composed, but a glint of confusion and frustration was evident.

Thirteen and half pounds is far too great a difference at this weight for the fight to take place. On top of the weight disparity, Feldman also enjoys a significant talent advantage, which can create a dangerous situation.

Update: The Jewish Boxing Blog has learned Muteleni weighed in again and was 144.5 pounds this time. As of now, the fight is still on.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Yonatan Landman Scores a KO in Ghana

Flyweight Yonatan Landman defeated Simon Tackie by knockout 1:10 into the second round at Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra, Ghana today. Platinum Punch Promotions and Box Office Sports Promotions co-promoted the event held on the eve of Ghana's Independence Day.

Landman, a 19 year old from Kiryat in Israel, started the fight aggressively behind his jab and left hook. He pressed Tackie, forcing the native of Accra back to the ropes on several occasions in the first round. Landman had some trouble finding the range early and allowed himself to fall into clinches on a few occasions.

A minute into the contest, Tackie fell in a heap from an apparent short left hook. It seemed the Ghanaian would be counted out, but he showed resilience in getting up and continuing to fight. Landman's lefts set up a right to the body that put Tackie down again at the end of the round. That first stanza ran several seconds long, but neither man did any more damage.

Yonatan's jabs and left hooks in the second round set up another right to the body, which scored another knockdown. Eschewing the guiding principal of nonviolence espoused by Ghana's founding father, Kwame Nkrumah, Tackie responded by throwing a wild ill-intentioned combination. It would prove to be his undoing. A short counter left hook floored Simon, who laid prostrate on his face for the ten-second count. He got up a few seconds later and appeared relatively ok, if decidedly defeated.

After the fight was stopped, Landman was living the highlife as promoter and popular boxer Prince Patel picked him up in celebration. Yonatan is now 2-0 with two KOs. BoxRec attributes an extra loss to Tackie who is now 0-3.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Sagiv Ismailov Steps Away from Boxing

Sagiv Ismailov has decided to put his boxing career on hold, The Jewish Boxing Blog has learned. Ismailov, a 21 year old, is planning to get married this year and is on route to accept a position in law enforcement.

Ismailov is 7-0 with 2 KOs. He scored quick stoppage victories in his first two fights in 2020. After a 21-month layoff, he faced fellow Jewish boxer Nikita Basin, scoring a first round knockdown, but fading late. Last year, Sagiv fought four times and showed dramatic improvement.

In February, he won an ugly fight against a tall southpaw. He showed good variety in his offense in May. In November, under difficult conditions, Ismailov won by decision behind the jab. The next month, Sagiv displayed superior defense and threw clever combinations. With his IDF commitment finished last August, he seemed ready to devote himself to his boxing career. But life has a way of changing one's plans.

Ismailov was scheduled to fight in Spain on March 23. It would have been the seventh different country in which he has fought during his pro career. His fights took place in Albania, Turkey, Israel, Estonia, Germany, and Moldova. But with a new career on the horizon, Ismailov won't have enough time to adequately train.

Ismailov's coach, Evgheni Boico, now intends to move to Spain to help build up the boxing scene in Valencia. It's a sad loss for Israeli boxing. Boico is an outstanding coach who promoted the last two professional events in Israel. And Sagiv was one of the best young prospects based in the country and the furthest along in his pro career.

The Jewish Boxing Blog wishes Sagiv all the best.