Yuri Foreman and Miguel Cotto pose for photographers at Yankee Stadium, Photo: Chris Farina/TopRank
By all accounts, the first year for the New York Yankees in their new stadium has been a success. Last year, the Yankees rode the best record in baseball to their first World Series title in nine years. However, until recently, a modern replay of the inauguration of the original Yankee Stadium was missing. To officially declare the Mecca of Baseball open for business the stadium needed to host a mega world championship boxing match, and more specifically, one featuring a Jewish world champion.
On July 24, 1923 –just three months after the original stadium opened - 58,519 fans watched as two Jewish boxing greats, Benny Leonard and Lew Tendler, battled it out for a world lightweight title in the first world title fight at the venue.
On June 5th world light middleweight champion Yuri Foreman will continue this tradition when he faces three-time world champion and Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto, at the “new” Yankee Stadium.
Hall of Fame boxing promoter Bob Arum announced the fight at a press conference in Yankee Stadium on Friday, where he introduced Foreman saying that he is “very proud of this young man who combines a deep spirituality with athleticism and brings these qualities to the ring.”
Foreman relayed his personal story to over 200 members of the local and national press attending the conference, detailing how he came to the United States from Israel ten years ago to chase his dream of becoming a world champion. He explained how along the way he discovered “Judaism and where he came from.”
Yankee Stadium will be transformed for the fight as 7,000 field level seats will be set up around the ring that will be located in right field. The event is expected to draw at least 30,000 people from the large Jewish and Puerto Rican populations living in the New York area.
The fight will take place approximately two hours after the conclusion of the Jewish Sabbath in order to ensure that Foreman - who is an Orthodox Jew and is studying to become a rabbi - will have ample time to travel with a police escort from the uptown hotel where he will be staying to the stadium in the Bronx.