Thursday, December 06, 2007

Brooklyn man wants to become a boxing rabbi

Yuri Foreman is not the only religious fighter cracking fists and turning heads in boxing today, but the junior middleweight is trying to do them all one better.

If he can just pass a tricky religious examination three years from now, Foreman will become perhaps the only combination rabbi/boxer in fist-flying history.

"Trying to become a rabbi is just something I feel being right for myself," said Foreman, born in Gomel, Belarus, who moved at age nine to Haifa, Israel, and now resides in Brooklyn. "It is more part of my personal life, and not my public career as a fighter."

A career that could lead the 27-year-old to a world title shot if he can win his bout at at the Paradise Theatre in the Bronx Thursday(9 p.m., Versus network).

Foreman (23-0, 8 KOs) faces a fellow ex-Soviet, Andrey Tsurkan, a Bronx resident from Lugansk, Ukraine, in a 10-round bout for the 154-pound North American Boxing Federation title.

Foreman, who shares his surname with legendary powerhouse preacher George Foreman, said the integration of rabbinical study and boxing can help influence younger orthodox Jews to stay true to their faith.

Though not yet a rabbi, Foreman volunteers one day a week in between preparation for his professional bouts to train younger orthodox teenagers in the art of hitting and not getting hit.

"It was something my rabbi suggested I do, and I agreed," Foreman said. "In fighting professionally, I do something kids generally admire. So, by utilizing it, I can help them stay on the right moral path."

In Yuri's path stands Tsurkan (25-2-1), a brawler-before-boxer-style fighter who holds a wealth of amateur experience, as well as a stoppage victory over contender Hector Camacho Jr. in Atlantic City last year.

Foreman has decent amateur credentials and a New York Golden Gloves championship to show for it, plus numerous amateur titles in Israel. His toughest win came at Madison Square Garden on June 7, when Foreman defeated sizzling contender Anthony "The Messenger" Thompson via decision in a not-so-sizzling bout dubbed "The Battle for Jerusalem."

Foreman will hold a three-inch height advantage tonight, while power will likely be on the side of Tsurkan, 30.


wow this was posted about ten o'clock and noone condemned him yet saying what a chutzpa and atrocity it is??? maybe we are improving and becoming more tolerant...




How could he become a Rabbi? This is a statement from a reporter after the fight.
"...Foreman made a very unimpressive fashion statement. Foreman was sporting a huge blonde-dyed streak going across the middle of his head.

Rabbi, my highney.


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