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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Josh Feldman to Face Welcome Malumbu

Junior middleweight prospect Josh Feldman is scheduled to face Welcome Malumbu at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 13. Josh's original opponent withdrew.

Malumbu is a veteran from the Democratic Republic of Congo who has fought exclusively in South Africa. His record of 0-8 may seem poor, but boxing records are often misleading. No one with eight professional fights is a bad fighter. The bad fighters are done after one or two professional fights. Malumbu, whose record is split into two different entries on BoxRec, has fought tough opposition. His opponents had a combined record of 17-0 when he faced them, not including the 3-0 Feldman. Welcome has only been stopped twice.

In addition to boxing, Malumbu is a physical trainer, actor, and hair stylist. He turned pro on October 23, 2016. In his second fight, he threw a good jab and landed some sneaky counters in a loss to Etienne van Kierk. Two more decision losses later and Malumbu took a year off. He was then stopped for the first time by Linda Ntshingila in the second round. Welcome stayed out of the ring for three and a half years.

In 2022, he fought competitively against Athenkosi Plaatjies before he battled Darrin Rossouw. In an interview with SA Boxing Talk after the fight, Rossouw described Malumbu as a tough guy. He said Malumbu was better than he had expected and had improved. He caught Darrin with a some good shots caused swelling around Roussouw's eyes. Six months later, Samkelo Mdletshe stopped Malumbu in the second round, saying in an interview that Malumbu had not been as good as expected and he and his coach figured Welcome out after the first round.

Malumbu hasn't fought in the ring in a year and half, but he'll represent a good challenge for Feldman at this stage of Josh's career. Feldman needs opponents who provide some kind of resistance. Malumbu has done just that against young undefeated prospects in the past. 

Monday, June 17, 2024

Tomer Benny's Pro Debut Pushed Back to the End of the Year

Tomer Benny, the southpaw junior welterweight, has decided to delay his pro debut. He had been scheduled to fight this weekend in Mexico.

The Tel Aviv native now splits time between his hometown and Las Vegas in the United States where he has learned from Wayne McCullough and Floyd Mayweather Sr. He plans to fight in a local tournament in Vegas before competing in the under-22 European amateur championships in October.

Benny is looking to turn pro at the end of the year. There's no rush for the 19 year old. The delay will simply give him time to gain more experience. While in Vegas, he has already increased his boxing education by sparring with former world champion Jamel Herring and rising star Curmel Morton.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Yonatan Landman Scores Another KO

Yonatan Landman stopped Habib Lartey in the second round of their bout at the Bukom Boxing Arena in Accra, Ghana today. After a wild start between two men who share the same hair color, Landman- the natural red head- dominated the rest of the fight.

Lartey came out of his corner like a wind-up toy and stayed in Landman’s face during the early portions of the opening round. The Israeli was a bit flustered at first, but a beautiful combination of left hooks, one to the body and one to the head, convinced Lartey of Landman’s power. Lartey spent the rest of the fight acting like both he and Landman were positive charges, always heading the other direction when Landman came near.

Yonatan scored with another left hook in the first. At the end of the round, he squatted down as if a left hook were coming, but landed and overhand right instead. He quickly followed with a left hook causing Lartey to clinch. Yonatan won the round handily.

In the second, Lartey continued to work vigorously towards amassing his daily 10,000 steps. Landman caught him with a right. A few second later, Lartey lunged forward liver first in to the path of a perfect left hook. The Ghanaian fell to the canvas writhing in pain, unable to beat the count.

Yonatan Landman earned his third KO in as many fights a minute and seven seconds in the second round. Lartey is now 0-2.
The knockout shot

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Top 5 Jewish Bareknuckle Boxers

Roberto Nigro's Top 5 Jewish Bareknuckle Boxers

Roberto Nigro is one of the foremost experts on Jewish boxers of the bareknuckle era. In addition to his years of research and talks on Jewish boxers in London's East End and the famed duel between Daniel Mendoza and Richard Humphreys, Nigro's MRes thesis was on Pugilism: Nationalism, Heroism and Masculinity in the Long Eighteenth Century. He also contributed to the oral history project Mendoza Mania, which recounts the life and legacy of Daniel Mendoza.

This fantastic list focuses mainly on the Georgian and Victorian periods.

1. Daniel Mendoza
2. Dutch Sam
3. Young Dutch Sam
4. Abraham Belasco
5. Barney Aaron

Monday, June 10, 2024

Josh Feldman to Face Mayamba on July 13

Junior middleweight Joshua Feldman is scheduled to face Jeancy "Cartouche" Mayamba at Box Camp Booysens in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 13. Mayamba marks the most experienced opponent of Feldman's nascent pro career.

Feldman suffered an injured finger in his last fight, an impressive second round stoppage of Sibusiso Muteleni on March 8. When he next enters the ring, the 3-0 Cape Town native will be away from the ring for four months and five days, the longest layoff of his career. In an era when many boxers have complained about not getting fights, Feldman has been fortunate to stay so active early in his career.

Josh typically starts his camp in Cape Town at the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Gym before relocating to the Hot Box Gym in Jo'burg closer to the fight. One of his training partners is Doron Zinman. A skilled southpaw, Feldman has a smart jab and puts his combinations together well. In his first three fights, he's tried to blast his opponents out of the ring rather than build towards the stoppage.

Mayamba, a 30 year old who sometimes goes by Eric, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has had three pro fights in South Africa. He lost all three, but he signifies Feldman's most experienced opponent yet. Muteleni had one loss before he fought Feldman. Josh's two other opponents were debutants, but they were both tougher challenges. Potego Ntsoane exhibited an awkward style while Mbulelo Aluhavi was a quality foe.

As for Mayamba, his hands drop low during his fights as he occasionally dances and throws powerful body shots and uppercuts from that position, but his head shots are too wide and he leaves himself open over the top.

In his debut, he fought as a junior welterweight against Talent Baloyi and took the undefeated prospect the distance back in 2022. Baloyi was able to exploit Mayamba's low guard, but the Congolese fighter showed a good chin. Three months later, Mayamba was a middleweight against Nelson Mbhele. Mayamba won the first round and half with uppercuts and body work as Mbhele ran around the perimeter. Halfway through the second, Mbhele held his ground and gave Mayamba a serious beating to the head the rest of the way. Mayamba showed admirable courage and punch resistance to go the full four rounds.

Mayamba next fought four months later against Jonas Senga at just above the junior middleweight limit. Senga mostly avoided Mayamba's lead uppercuts and quickly realized straight shots upstairs were open. The fight was waved off in the third after Mayamba took another beating, but he was still standing and ready to fight back at the time of the stoppage.

Feldman will need to be careful of Cartouche's powerful uppercuts, hard body shots, and wild looping punches to the head. Mayamba has a great chin, so Feldman should box early, invest a bit to the body, and only load up after Mayamba fades. The number of rounds will be updated when announced.

Update: Mayamba pulled out. He has been replaced by Welcome Malumbu.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Tomer Benny to Make Debut on June 22

Tomer Benny is scheduled to make his debut in June 22 at Palenque in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The 19 year old native of Tel Aviv, Israel, Benny has recently been training in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

The southpaw, has sparred with former world champion Jamel Herring and fast-rising prospect Curmel Morton. Benny has also worked with undefeated pro Trevor Thonson. In Vegas, Tomer has received coaching from former world champion Wayne McCullough and the famed trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Benny had been scheduled to make his debut on June 15 in Maine, a state in the northeast of the U.S., but that fell through. He started boxing in 2018 and learned to fight under the tutelage of Adam Hadad. By moving from Israel to Vegas, he's following in the footsteps of undefeated Israeli pro David Alaverdian.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Odelia Ben Ephraim Drops Controversial Decision

Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim suffered a controversial majority decision loss to Narymane Benloucif at Patinoire Municipale Jacques Raynaud in Blagnac, France tonight. The French featherweight title changes hands as a result of this stunning upset.

Benloucif won the early rounds by boxing and moving. She used her reach advantage to land straight shots with either hand. The combination of her potshots and movement threw Ben Ephraim off her rhythm for most of the first three rounds. Benloucif targeted the body with jabs and lead rights in the first round, an effective strategy that she abandoned too quickly.

In those early rounds, Odelia resembled a cat futilely chasing a mouse. The 31-year old Benloucif's stick and move boxing worked beautifully, but she lacked the power on her punches to discourage Ben Ephraim from catching her. Towards the end of the third round, "Thunder" launched a hellacious left uppercut that violently snapped back Benloucif's head. In many ways, that was the story of the fight.: Benloucif's higher work-rate against Ben Ephraim's harder punches.

That left uppercut proved to be the turning point. Though Benloucif still won the third, Ben Ephraim was spurred on by her success. The fourth was a case of Narymane landing a lot of straight shots upstairs while Odelia landed several hard rights. Benloucif even nodded her head in acknowledgement after one particularly good thunderous right hand by Ben Ephraim.

That fourth was a swing round. Ben Ephraim seemed to land enough hard rights to negate Benloucif's landed-punches advantage. The fifth, sixth, and seventh were clear rounds for the 24-year old. Ben Ephraim caught Benloucif's work on her gloves in the fifth while dramatically snapping the older fighter's head back in return. Odelia's typically hurtful combinations defined the sixth while left hooks early and damaging rights late characterized the seventh.

To Benloucif's credit, she fought back hard at the end of the seventh. She kept up the momentum into the eighth as her earlier form returned. She was impressive in the last round, especially after getting pummeled in the previous three rounds. Ben Ephraim had her moments in the eighth, but they weren't enough to take the final stanza.

At the end of the contest, Benloucif's eyes, particularly the left, were swollen. Unmarked, Odelia has had more red on her face during one of her painting sessions than she did after this fight. If boxing was scored by overall damage inflicted, Ben Ephraim was the clear winner.

But it isn't.

Odelia's team felt they were robbed as Christophe Pinto inexplicably scored the bout 78-74 for Benloucif. Vincent Dupas had it 77-75 for the new champion. Like The Jewish Boxing Blog, Sebastien Turboust had it even at 76.
If 10-8 rounds were used more liberally, Ben Ephraim would have deserved to win, because she won the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds more convincingly than Benloucif won her rounds. Though that is why the ten-point must system was created, no jurisdictions judge fights that way unfortunately.

Hopefully, Ben Ephraim will be offered a rematch. It was a close competitive fight that reasonably could have gone 5-3 either way. Odelia will need to get inside quicker if there is a rematch. Her pressure wore down Benloucif by the fifth round, but by then she had already given away at least three rounds. She didn't throw her jab enough and didn't move her head off the line. Though Benloucif's punches weren't hurting Odelia, the judges were watching her get hit too frequently. Ultimately, Benloucif fought the fight of her life while Ben Ephraim fought to her usual ability only occasionally.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Ben Ephraim and Benloucif Make Weight

Odelia "Thunder" Ben Ephraim and Narymane Benloucif both made the 126-pound limit ahead of their clash for Ben Ephraim's French featherweight title. The fight is scheduled for eight rounds at Patinoire Municipale Jacques Raynaud in Blagnac, France.

Ben Ephraim weighed in at 124.1 pounds, which is comfortably within her normal range. As a pro, her lightest weight has been 123.5 pounds and her heaviest 126. The 24 year old is 5-2. Benloucif, a 31 year old with a 2-1 record, is also within her normal weight range. Her lightest was 123.3 pounds and her heaviest was in May at 126.5.

The taller Benloucif will want to keep the champ at the end of her punches. Maintaining distance will be imperative because she doesn't have the hand speed advantage. Thunder typically throws more punches and has better punch technique. Ben Ephraim can probably win a fight on the outside, but throwing her quick, well-placed combos in the midrange or in close will be the key to a dominant victory.

Tickets can be bought here. A full preview is here. The fight will be on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Toe-to-Toe with Ira Berkow

When Rocky Graziano stopped Tony Zale in the sixth round of their world title bout at Chicago Stadium, a seven-year old Jewish kid from the nearby Lawndale neighborhood sulked for the rest of that balmy July day in 1947. Young Ira Berkow was a fan of Zale, the dethroned middleweight champion from Gary, Indiana. The heartbreak caused by the loss would become the future Pulitzer Prize winner's first boxing memory. In a phone interview with The Jewish Boxing Blog, Berkow was quick to boast that Zale took two out three against Graziano.

Growing up on Springfield Avenue near Roosevelt Road, Ira Berkow wasn't an academically strong student. He managed to matriculate to Miami University where a friend encouraged him to write about sports for the school newspaper. Soon, he brazenly shipped a couple of his articles to famed sportswriter Red Smith. Smith's written reply explained that his editor either nods his head when he likes what Smith has written or mutters, "Try again." Smith advised Berkow to "try again." He added that while he considered providing critical comments of Berkow's work, he didn't want to make the young writer unhappy. Berkow quickly sent his articles back and wrote, "Mr. Smith, please make me unhappy."

For the next fifty years, his editors constantly nodded their heads as Berkow brilliantly covered countless sports, including boxing. He treated the fighters he wrote about with dignity and empathy, perhaps because his relationships with boxers started at a young age.

As a ten year old, Ira regularly visited the Midwest Gym on Chicago's West Side to watch the boxers train and to snag an autograph or two. A middleweight contender named Charley Fusari obliged. So did another fighter. "Cisco Kid came into the gym shooting blanks," Berkow recalled. "It scared everyone!"

From age 11 until 19, Berkow worked in the vast market on Maxwell Street, a ghetto that was once home to Barney Ross, Jackie Fields, and Kingfish Levinsky. Berkow cut his teeth selling women's nylons near Union Avenue, three pair for a dollar. He was promoted to men's socks and a new stand close to Halstead Street. At the age of 16, his dad advised him to start his own business hawking second-hand belts.

Years later as a sportswriter, the former peddler interviewed the legendary boxers of Maxwell Street. Though he missed Ross who had died young, Berkow describes Fields, the Olympic gold medalist and two-time welterweight world champion, as "warm" and "very courteous." He remembers Levinsky, who became a tie salesman, choking him with one of the heavyweight's goods. Though Levinsky challenged for the heavyweight title, he was unfortunately perceived as something of a clown. Berkow explained, "Kingfish Levinsky, I called him King, didn't have a reputation of being an intellectual. Against Joe Louis, he put his boxing shoes on the wrong feet. The right one on the left one, and the left one on the right."

As a kid, Berkow followed the Willie Pep-Sandy Saddler featherweight battles and admired Sugar Ray Robinson. As a young reporter, he met the fearsome heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. Berkow asked Liston his age and noted, perhaps unwisely, that it was different from the officially listed number. The writer quavered in fright when after an icy glare, the goliath bellowed, "Are you going to dispute my mother?"

After a lifetime of memories and mementos in the world of sports, the legendary scribe was eager to share one of his most prized possessions, a correspondence with the great Muhammad Ali. Berkow asked his wife Dolly to bring over the letter, but she couldn't quite locate it. So, at 84 years old and recently recovered from a one-two combination of pneumonia and the flu, he retrieved the letter hanging from the wall and read it aloud. In the correspondence, Berkow thanked the champ for his time and patience regarding a New York Times article that ran on May 8, 1985 in which Ali was the subject. They shared an inside joke about the word "figure," a word Ali would jokingly mishear in his playful-yet-poignant way. Berkow's voice swelled with pride as he related Ali's graceful reply.

After gifting the world a couple dozen books worth of invaluable stories and 25 years of priceless columns as a writer for the Times, the old storyteller added one more tale from long ago.

On the corner of Madison Avenue and 36th Street in New York, he spotted an elderly man sitting in a wheelchair with a blanket around him and an aide standing next to the feeble gentleman. Berkow, who lived a couple blocks away, greeted the enfeebled former boxing trainer. "You're out watching the people?" he asked.

Ray Arcel answered, "I got used to being around crowds."