Foreman ‘locked and loaded,’ heads into title bout

Boxing world champion proud to represent Israel.

June 3, 2010 06:32
2 minute read.
MIGUEL COTTO (left) and Yuri Foreman pose together

yuri foreman cotto 311. (photo credit: AP)


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NEW YORK – Israel’s first major boxing champion Yuri Foreman was relaxed and confident on Wednesday as the build up to his super welterweight title defense went into overdrive.

Foreman will fight Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto on Saturday night in the first bout to be held at New York’s Yankee Stadium in 34 years.

During a press conference worthy of the first fight at the new stadium, the humble rabbinical student kept his words to a minimum, simply stating, “lock and load”.

The symbolism was clear – Foreman believes he is up to the challenge and ready to face a big-name fighter like Cotto.

While the undefeated Foreman (28-0, 8 KO’s) was a man of few words, trainers from both camps heaped praise on the 29-year-old fighter.

Cotto’s Hall of fame trainer Emmanuel Steward called Foreman, “a fantastic fighter with great balance” adding that he “doesn’t buy” the criticism that Foreman has not faced a true opponent in the ring.

The man born in Belarus outpointed Daniel Santos in November to claim his first major belt

Foreman’s own trainer, Joe Grier, discussed the importance of the fight, saying that it will define his fighter’s career and secure, “his place in history.”  

Grier praised Foreman’s training intensity and discipline, calling him a “tremendously hard worker” and a “disciplined individual.”

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post after the press conference, Foreman reiterated the fact that he is prepared to face Cotto.

“I am ready to go, I have been training hard for this and it is going to be fun,” he said.

While Cotto has a huge Puerto Rican following that has helped him to sell more tickets than any other boxer in New York over the past decade, Foreman has called New York City home since moving here from Haifa 10 years ago.

“It is awesome to be fighting in my adopted hometown. 

“Being able to fight here for my first title defense and fight at Yankee Stadium is an honor,” Foreman said.

Since Foreman is Shabbat observent and unable to travel by car until sundown on Saturday night, he will leave his hotel room at 9:15 p.m. and travel to the Stadium with a police escort.

While this is out of the norm, Foreman said he is not worried about the situation.

“It’ll be a bit different.  Usually I would get to the locker room a little earlier and have more time to prepare, but it will be fine.”

The fight comes at a particularly turbulent time for Israel and Jewish people around the world in light of the recent events in Gaza.  Viewed as a role model for Jewish children worldwide, Foreman said the fight is, “very important.”

“It is important for the Jewish people and for Israel. Right now is a tough time. Stuff happens and you have to stay strong. You gotta represent.”

On Saturday night he will have the chance to do just that, as he takes on  Cotto in the biggest fight of his career.

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