Boxing: Yuri Foreman

Bid on Super Bowl tix at 'Teddy' dinner

November, 20, 2013
Teddy Atlas remembers one night he stayed up past his bedtime.

It was 1966 or so. He sat at the kitchen table of his family's home on Staten Island, waiting up for his dad. Young Teddy had fallen asleep, head down on the table, and woke up when his father Theodore walked through the door, after midnight. The boy asked his dad what he'd been doing, and the physician told him he was seeing a patient in the hospital. "Oh, well, that person's going to get better, because you're taking care of him," the boy told his dad. "No, actually, he's not," Dr. Atlas answered, giving his son a gentle dose of of vicious and inevitable reality. "So, why do you stay up so late and see the patient if he's not going to make it?" the boy said. "Because you don't give up on life," Theodore Atlas responded.

Adult Teddy Atlas took that lesson to heart, and fight fans see it in action when he puts himself at risk for an aneurysm as he gets into a ballistic fury after another judge offers up another grotesque scorecard on "Friday Night Fights."

Every two weeks or so, Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao's trainer, calls for a national commission to be formed, to clean up the quagmire in the sport. And Theodore Atlas' stubborn devotion to caring, and continuing to soldier on to boost up the fallen, and dispense care and material goods to folks who have been cheated by the inadequate safety net in a society gripped by a hypercapitalistic fervor, is on display annually at the "Teddy" dinner, which unfolds Thursday on Staten Island.

At the dinner, Roach convenes an all-star crew of celebrities, and sells tickets to the gala, which always features a stellar auction. I asked the analyst-trainer the highlight to be from this years' dinner.

Former NBAer Dikembe Motumbo -- "he's very tall," Atlas cracked -- will be present, as will MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who has graciously spotlighted the works of the foundation on his show "Hardball." Former New York Giant Harry Carson is slated to be on the packed dais, as is boxing legend Micky Ward and current pugilists Paul Malignaggi, Marcus Browne, Yuri Foreman and Sadam Ali.

One auction standout Atlas plugged is tickets to this years' Super Bowl, which takes place in our neck of the woods. Giant David Diehl has kindly offered up tix to the forthcoming Giants-Cowboys game, and that will include field passes. Those in the market for a new car might want to pony up $20 for a raffle ticket, or 20, to win a new Ford Mustang donated by Dana Ford Lincoln of Staten Island. Go here to get tickets to the dinner.

Atlas asked that I give props to his ESPN colleagues and former colleagues who will make the drive down from Bristol, including FNF producer Matt Sandulli, anchor Jonathan Coachman, and studio host Todd Grisham. Also, Howie Schwab will be in the house, presumably stumping a person or two.

So, I asked Atlas, what will be the takeaway message on Thursday night? "That room will be about all those people being together and me saying thank you," he said.

Sorry Teddy, I have to correct you. I will be present, and for me it will be about you being a role model of service and providing literally immeasurable aid and comfort to souls most in need of it.

Thank you, and for all those folks who have lost hope and don't know where to turn when insurance companies stomp on their heart, or who get slammed by a natural disaster and don't have the saving to keep them afloat while they rebuild their homes and lives, please, keep up your great work.

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Publicist Swanson wins via TKO1

November, 16, 2013
Some of her colleagues were chuckling post-fight, as the publicist to Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather was interviewed by the boxing writer, and being asked how she felt getting a win in her fighting debut.

But nobody was chuckling about Kelly Swanson's in-ring demeanor on Saturday night, at a jam-packed Gleason's Gym in DUMBO; the debuter, who strode to the ring in a blue robe with the words "The Communicator" stitched on the back, with cornerman Hopkins whispering encouragement and combat tips in her ear, showed a sharp left hand which made her foe Amy Handelsman do a 180 in the first round. Swanson quickly whacked Handelsman with combos, forcing a standing eight. The action resumed, but not for long. Swanson moved in for the kill, let her hands go, and the ref was forced to step in and halt the scrap. The end came at 53 seconds elapsed in round one.

The fight was the main event of a charity card, Fighters 4 Life Showcase, to raise money for at-risk youth, who can learn about fitness, and self-discipline and work towards positive goal-setting at Gleason's.

Afterwards, Swanson was barely breathing hard as she dissected her performance and the experience. Lisa Milner, Swanson's right hand for the past few years while helping promote Mayweather and Hopkins fights, was howling as she watched me query Swanson, who's done the same to the best in the business in her 20 plus years in the game. "The butterflies as you're getting ready, getting your hands wrapped, everything, are incredible," Swanson told me. "But once the bell rings you just get into it and fight."

Hopkins pre-fight told me that he'd told Swanson to keep it simple, don't try and get fancy. She complied, but with extra zest, firing with the same firmness and directness she often exhibits doing the publicity chores.

A celeb-studded crowd packed the joint, as Rosie Perez, and fighters Peter Quillin, Danny Jacobs, Yuri Foreman, Marcus Browne and Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza attended, to raise funds for the kids, and cheer on the publicist, who did indeed live up to the name "The Communicator:" Swanson communicated some serious intent with a thudding left hand, and even better, serious skills as a fundraiser: she raised $11,270 for the charity, tops among the 12 participants in the event.

Foreman gets grade A

July, 25, 2013
No professional boxer, that I know of currently practicing, uses his legs as much during a bout as Yuri Foreman, the junior middleweight from Park Slope, Brooklyn.

When his right knee betrayed him fully during his June 5, 2010 Yankee Stadium title defense against Miguel Cotto, the boxer was left with a diminished arsenal which sapped his effectiveness and much of his desire to compete. But Foreman, now 32, had surgery and took time to heal. He now has his legs under him. It was evident on Wednesday evening at Roseland in Manhattan.

Foreman (31-2 with 8 KOs) looked to be pretty darn close to where he was when he was in the mix as one of the best 154 pounders on the planet in earning a unanimous decision win over Jamaal Davis (14-9-1) of Philadelphia on a show promoted by Lou DiBella along with 50 Cent.

The fight was all Foreman. Davis didn't win a round and never switched up his attack enough to change the tone of the bout.

"I felt good, I felt fluid," Foreman told NYFightblog after the eight rounder, which was seen by celebs, including superfan Rosie Perez, Burt Young aka Pauly from "Rocky" and actress Susan Sarandon. "I feel a lot better working with trainer Pedro Saiz."

The former professional fighter Saiz, who fought from 1990-2002 and finished with a 25-9-3 mark, thought highly of Foreman's effort versus Davis.

"I give Yuri an A," Saiz said. "He was disciplined, he's a hard worker, never complains."

Saiz wanted Foreman to use his main strength, his ability to move constantly and smartly, which enables him to land but be extremely elusive and avoid return fire. "He knows the best defense is to stay busy," Saiz said.

So, is Foreman at or near his pre-surgery peak?

"He's there," the trainer said.

And if promoter Dibella set up a scrap with IBF champ Ishe Smith or WBO titlist Zaurbek Baysangurov, would Saiz advise Foreman, after his third comeback bout following a two-year hiatus, to take the opportunity?

"I would take it," Saiz said. It looks like, however, that Team Foreman will book another eight rounder and then take stock. Another ten rounder could be booked or, perhaps, by the end of the year, DiBella will look to make a deal for a most meaningful fight for Foreman.

Yuri Foreman tops DiBella card

July, 23, 2013
Comebacking boxer Yuri Foreman and promoter Lou DiBella sat down before Foreman emerged from a two-year hiatus. They plotted out a course for the former junior middleweight champion.

Both agreed that the comeback shouldn't be a rushed affair, one or two rust-shedders, and then a trip back into the deep waters. Both agreed, it would be the wisest course for Foreman (30-2 with 8 Kos), who suffered a nasty knee injury in a title defense against Miguel Cotto in 2010 at Yankee Stadium, to take the comeback slowly and deliberately.

Foreman will glove up on Wednesday night in New York City at Roseland Ballroom on a show promoted by DiBella, along with entrepreneur 50 Cent.

The 32-year-old Park Slope, Brooklyn resident, who is nearing the completion of studies to become a rabbi, meets Jamaal Davis, a durable journeyman with a 14-9-1 mark.

"Davis is a mild step up for Yuri," DiBella told NYFightblog. "Yuri and his wife just had a baby, so he had some time off. He's looked better in his second fight [in April] than in his first [in January]. His health is holding up, his stamina is there. After a long layoff, you expect to see rust. He's less rusty, and I hope to see a little more action, and him more in the flow, with good rhythm."

How far is Foreman from a title crack in a division which leaves room for a name ex-champ looking to make another mark?

"I think he'll have one more comeback fight before we take a major step," DiBella said. The fight with Davis is set for eight rounds or less. A ten rounder against someone a bit better than Davis would make sense if Foreman passes his Wednesday test, the promoter said.

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"I don't want Yuri to get a big fight just to get paid," he said. "I want him to win it, or have an opportunity to win it. His injury was really severe, and he showed tremendous courage against Cotto. He deserves a proper comeback, and to be as close as possible to where he once was, when he gets the shot."

Foreman wins, back to diaper duty

April, 5, 2013
Yuri Foreman got his second win after almost two years away from the ring, on Thursday evening in New York City at Roseland ballroom. On the card, promoted by Lou DiBella, Foreman boxed smartly and won a unanimous decision over six rounds against foe Gundrick King, from Alabam.

The three judges saw it 60-54 for Foreman, who rose to 30-2 (8 KOs) with the W. King slid to 18-10.

I wasn't able to attend, so I texted congrats to my Park Slope neighbor.

"You free for a quick chat?" I asked Foreman this morning. "A bit later," he responded, "I'm busy with the boys at the moment."

Love it.

Yuri and his wife Leyla welcomed a baby boy, little Elijah, into the world on Feb. 24. And here you have a fighter, the morning after a six round scrum, knee deep in diaper duty. Elijah's brother Lev, age 2, is also in the mix.


A DiBella welter, "Jo Jo" Ion Dan, rated No. 6 by the WBC, crept closer to a title shot with a UD8 win over Damian Frias.

Another Brooklyner, Gabriel Bracero of Sunset Park, also inched closer to a most meaningful scrap, with a UD8 win over Pavel Miranda.

His trainer Tommy Gallagher told NYFightblog that he's heard people are "looking at us to fight Mike Alvarado in Denver. It would be a good fight," Gallagher said of the possible faceoff against the man who won the interim WBO 140 pound crown against Brandon Rios on March 30. "Gabe will try, he'll bleed, it'd be a good fight."

We chatted in the early AM, but Gallagher didn't sound like he needed a drop of coffee to get jazzed about another one of his fighters, Ecuadorean heavyweight Ytalo Perea, who won his pro debut March 23 in Maryland.

"I've never see a fighter like the kid from Ecuador, 19 years old greatest ... puncher, he's a big Frazier or Marciano, no definition, this is the kid," he said. Expect to see Perea on a DiBella show in May, he said. "I have never been so ... excited, what a pure natural puncher. Since 1965 I've been in the gym business, I worked with Michael Dokes, Tim Witherspoon, Michael Bentt, Riddick Bowe a couple fights, Perea has more natural ability than I ever met. He hits the heavy bag, people stop to watch him."

Yuri Foreman fighting April 4

March, 21, 2013
It's now a new level of grind for Park Slope junior middleweight Yuri Foreman, who with wife Leyla welcomed baby boy Elijah into the world three weeks ago.

Foreman (29-2) has a fight set for April 4, against Gundrick King (18-9) at Roseland Ballroom in NYC.

I ran into Foreman's wife, Leyla, who chatted briefly before hustling back to be with son Lev and the newborn. "We are very busy," she said, and talked about the juggling act going on. Yuri is in the home stretch to become a rabbi, they are working on a book proposal and he is knee deep in training for his second fight since taking almost two years off from the ring.

Foreman tops a card promoted by Lou DiBella, also featuring Gabriel Bracero, Jo Jo Dan and Luis Orlando Del Valle.

Yuri Foreman welcomes baby boy

February, 27, 2013
Boxer Yuri Foreman and his wife Leyla welcomed a baby boy into the world on Feb. 24.

The Brooklyn resident returned to the ring on Jan. 23 with a win over Brandon Baue on a card promoted by Lou Dibella in his first fight since March 2011.

No name for the baby, yet. Foreman, a 32-year-old junior middleweight, said the baby hit the scale at 7.5 pounds.

"Mom is good," he reported.

Also, his next fight could take place on April 4, giving him enough time to acclimate to the new arrival and get a good training camp in.

Foreman to fight in March or April

January, 31, 2013
Yuri Foreman always seems happy enough to see me when we run into each other in Park Slope. When I saw him today, he said, "Small world!" I joked that it must be a pain to always run into the nosey fightwriter. "Nooo," Foreman said, graciously.

I couldn't help asking when he will glove up next. The 32-year-old fighter said he'd be calling promoter Lou DiBella tomorrow to figure that out.

By the way, Foreman looked pretty darn rust-free in his comeback after 22 months away from the ring, when he won a UD6 over journeyman Brandon Baue on Jan. 23 on a DiBella card.

His availability is somewhat limited because his wife Leyla is due with their second child the third week of February, so he needs to free up some time to be present. Also, Friday nights are out, because of his adherence to Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. The future rabbi to be said he'd like to get in the ring in March or April.

My curiosity didn't stop there.

There are a pair of gloves up for auction on Ebay right now which were worn by Foreman (29-2) in his title-winning fight against David Santos in 2009. Bidding, which ends Feb. 10, starts at $1,000., or you can buy it on the spot, for $3,500.

I asked Foreman why he was unloading the gloves?

"Kids' college fund," he answered.

Taking punches to the head hasn't affected his sensibility, it seems.

Back to daddy duty for Yuri Foreman

January, 24, 2013
The man had his head down, chin tucked in a manner to best mitigate a tiny breeze that made the 12-degree temperature feel like 5. Upon drawing closer to the gent walking up Sixth Avenue in Park Slope, it became apparent that the man with the chin tucked was the same man I saw with his chin tucked while in combat the night before, at BB King's in Manhattan.

"Hey, Yuri, what's going on?"

It was Yuri Foreman, the former junior middleweight champ, out and about at 9 a.m. Thursday, looking none the worse for wear, save for a tiny scratch on his right eye.

"Going to buy diapers," he told me and my wife as we walked our 2-year-old to play group. "My son uses a lot of them."

The adults all nodded at that, on the same page. If there is one thing little tykes all do with efficiency, it is diaper-soiling.

There will be more diapers needed in the near future, Foreman informed us. Wife Leyla is due in a month. Another boy is on the way.

Foreman said he will trust in promoter Lou DiBella to set up another bout as he looks to get back into top form following 22 months away from the ring. The 32-year-old pugilist/diaper-changer upped his record to 29-2 with a UD6 win over Brandon Baue at BB King's.

Yuri Foreman wins comeback fight

January, 24, 2013
He's about two months away from becoming a rabbi but Yuri Foreman isn't done just yet with closing the book on his ring career. The 32-year-old Park Slope, Brooklyn, resident, who has been out of the ring for 22 months while he did daddy duty, and let his motivational batteries recharge, gloved up on Thursday night at BB King's in Manhattan, and though he was not in with any world-beater, the ex-154 pound champ looked pretty sharp.

Foreman rose to 29-2 with a unanimous decision over limited but game Brandon Baue of Missouri, who slipped to 12-9. His legs are his best asset and Foreman's looked rust-free, as he moved left, moved right, popped his foe with the jab and threw a right every so often to mix it up.

"I felt very rusty," said the winner, who won 60-54 on all three judges' cards in a fight promoted by Lou DiBella. DiBella promoted Foreman early in his career and the two are pairing back up for another run. "I was more nervous than usual, but I was just happy to get some rounds in." Those who were familiar with the Foreman story kept an eye on his legs, as he's battled a balky right knee in the past. He hurt it as a teen, and injured it in a 2010 bout against Miguel Cotto at Yankee Stadium. He had surgery, and came back, but the knee wasn't top shelf, and he couldn't use that lateral movement as needed in his last effort, before his hiatus, a loss to Pawel Wolak.

On a bitterly cold evening, Foreman got warmed up right-quick, and dominated with smart boxing, only occasionally getting tagged by Baue, usually when he was trapped on the ropes, which was maybe four times, tops.

The victor drew a chuckle from a most-interested press after the fight, when he said that he'd "slept with my opponent in the same bed for the last week." The Belarus-born boxer noted some quizzical faces staring at him, and assured us that "was not to be taken literally." He was trying to say that Baue was occupying space in his head, while he waited for fight night to arrive.

Foreman can be seen walking the streets of Park Slope with wife Leyla and two year-old son Lev. He told the press he'd been busy "being a father" and that "parenting takes a lot of time." He seemed reasonably pleased with his comeback effort, but wasn't calling out top dogs at junior middleweight just yet. Names like Austin Trout and Canelo Alvarez leap out at him, but sometime within the next 24 months or so, he said.

Yuri Foreman to return Jan. 23

December, 30, 2012
The Belarus-born rabbi-to-be Yuri Foreman (age 32), a former junior middleweight champion, will return to the ring on Jan. 23, after almost two years away from boxing.

The 28-2 hitter, who lives in Park Slope, will fight on Lou DiBella's Broadway Boxing card at BB Kings. His opponent is TBD at the moment.

Yuri Foreman comeback info

December, 4, 2012
I saw Yuri Foreman running this morning. The Park Slope resident was hustling up 7th Ave. I rudely interrupted his progress.

"What's up, Yuri? Getting some roadwork in?"

"Running to the store, actually," answered the ex-junior middleweight titlist. "Gotta get some diapers for the kid."

"Run!" I said. "But quick, any word on your comeback fight?"

Foreman (age 32; 28-2 record) last fought in March 2011, and then took a break, to assess his career, and recharge.

"We're looking for a card to be on. Kathy Duva has a card in January at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut," he said.

Foreman was with Top Rank of Las Vegas and is now a promotional free agent. Bruce Silverglade at Gleason's is checking out potential spots for his comeback and has been in touch with Duva. Foreman said he should know more within a couple days.

Yuri Foreman makes plans to return to ring

November, 26, 2012
Former junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman is in training, looking to return to the ring after a 19-month break from the mental and physical rigors of the often savage sweet science.

Foreman, a 32 year-old Park Slope, Brooklyn resident, offered an update to his fans on Facebook:

"I'm back with my old trainer, Joe Grier, we are training hard and working on my comeback," he wrote on Monday. "I'm feeling strong, refreshed and driven. Hopefully soon i would have a fight date."

Foreman wasn't on message in his last fight, a six-round stoppage loss to Pawel Wolak in Las Vegas. It was his second straight loss after a TKO at the hands of Miguel Cotto. Later, he achieved his signature win, a unanimous decision over Daniel Santos, to win the WBA 154 pound crown, in November 2009.

Foreman has spent time raising his toddler son while studying to become a rabbi.

It's good to have a top tier local practitioner back in the saddle; Foreman has been on the shelf all the while NYFightBlog has been alive.