Foreman to defend boxing title

By Mike Sinclair, June 3, 2010

Yuri Foreman, the world boxing champion student rabbi, will be following in the footsteps of the legends when he makes the first defence of his WBA light-middleweight title against Miguel Cotto at the Yankee Stadium tomorrow.

It will be the first fight there since Muhammad Ali retained his heavyweight crown against Ken Norton in 1976.

The fight comes 11 months after Foreman beat Daniel Santos on points in Las Vegas to become the first observant Jew to win a world boxing title for 70 years.

On the same night, in the main event, Cotto suffered a punishing defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao, arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world - although his possible next opponent, Floyd Mayweather Jnr, might dispute that.

Foreman and Cotto are both 29 and, in his prime, Puerto Rico's former world light-welter and welterweight champion would have been a huge favourite to beat Brooklyn-based Foreman.

But Foreman is a fighter in the ascendency while it remains to be seen what the brutal 12th-round stoppage defeat by Pacquaio and a succession of battles at the top level have taken out of Cotto.

Foreman said: "I'm very happy to be headlining a card like this. When I was a kid in Israel, every time I was competing for the Israeli team in international competition, I always wanted to win the competition so they would raise the flag and play the national anthem.

"But it never happened. I'd lose in the finals or semi-finals. It's a goal to come into the ring with the Israeli flag. It will be very fulfilling."

There are big plans for the winner with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, son of the Mexican legend of the same nam, lined up as the next challenger.

    Last updated: 1:43pm, June 3 2010