Yuri Foreman, the Orthodox rabbi-in-training and former boxing champ, is on the comeback trail — and he thanks his fellow Jews for giving him the inspiration to make it happen.
The onetime WBA world light middleweight champion returns to the ring with a non-title bout against Brandon Baue in New York on Wednesday, January 23. It will be Foreman’s first fight in New York since his devastating loss to Miguel Cotto at Yankee Stadium in June 2010.
“Jewish people are happy that I am coming back, they had been waiting, so it’s kind of inspiring, because it’s not just me.” Foreman said.
Foreman (no relation to George), fights under the Israeli flag and is one of the few Jewish professional boxers around. Born in Belarus, he immigrated to Israel at the age of 10 before moving to Brooklyn at 19 to further his boxing career. Now at 32, with a record of 28 wins and 2 losses, he is possibly the only Jewish boxer in history seeking to be ordained as an Orthodox rabbi while fighting at the highest level of his sport.
The fight is at B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill in Times Square
Boxing is a sport where one’s ethnicity is still a topic of interest and when a fight is promoted Foreman’s Jewishness is repeatedly highlighted and brought to attention. Yet, Foreman does not feel the added pressure of being considered as a symbol for the Jewish people.
“I am representing Jewish people, not just Orthodox people, but Jewish people as a big group, even if we are small,” he said. “I feel also leaning towards [that] I’m not just only for myself, but also for Jewish people.”
However, at one point Foreman almost gave up the sport he loves.