Robert Cohen (boxer)
|Height||5 ft 2.5 in (1.59 m)|
|Born||November 15, 1930|
Bône, French Algeria
|Wins by KO||14|
Early life and amateur career
Cohen was born in Bone, a port city in Algeria, on November 15, 1930 to a Jewish family in a French territory suffering from the shadow of the Pro-Nazi Vichy regime. Though the family survived the holocaust, Cohen's father had little wish for his son to pursue a career in boxing. Robert would sometimes escape the house using the window to watch his older brother Leon earn a living boxing. Entering the French Amateur Championships after winning an Algerian title in 1950, he was beaten in the finals by Jacques Dumesnil. The following year he lost the finals again to Joseph Perez, but caught the attention of European promoter Charles Raymond who offered to manage him.
On October 20, 1952, he defeated Theo Medina in a ten-round points decision in Paris. Andre Valignat fell to Cohen on November 17, 1952 in another ten round points decision. Cohen upset Jean Snyers, winning a ten-round points decision in Paris on February 23, 1953.
He defeated Pappy Gault on April 15, 1953 in a ten-round points decision in Paris before a crowd of 8,000.
Taking the French and European Bantamweight Titles
On November 6, 1953, Cohen defeated French bantamweight champion Maurice Sandeyron easily taking the title in a fifteen-round bout in Paris, having beaten Sandeyron earlier on January 19, in a ninth-round knockout in a non-title bout.
Cohen defeated Jake Tuli on December 14, 1953, in Manchester, England in ten rounds.
Before a crowd of 20,000, on February 27, 1954, Cohen took the European Bantamweight Title, defeating John Kelly in a third-round knockout in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Cohen knocked Kelly to the mat for counts of four, seven and six in the second round. Kelly was down again at the end of the second from a right hook shortly before the bell. Thirty seconds into the third, Kelly went down for the full count from a right to the jaw.
Taking the World Bantamweight Title
On September 19, 1954, he won the vacant World bantamweight title in a fifteen-round split decision in Bangkok, Thailand, against police Lieutenant Chamroem Songkitrat. An enormous crowd of 60,000 that included the King and Queen of Thailand watched the bloody contest. Cohen was left with a badly sprained or broken wrist in the fifth and his opponent with a broken nose. Cohen was formerly the European Bantamweight Champion. Later that year, his marriage took place at the Synagogue de la rue des Tournelles, in Paris, presided by Rabbi David Feuerwerker.
On December 20, 1954, he defeated Roy Ankrah in a fourth-round technical knockout in Paris.
Stripped of the World Bantamweight Title
On December 23, 1954, Cohen was stripped of his title by the National Boxing Association for failing to defend it within 90 days against Raul "Raton" Macias. Few sanctioning bodies other than the NBA recognized Macias as the World Champion. Both the New York State Athletic Commission and the European Boxing Union continued to recognize Cohen as champion. On December 11, 1955 Cohen lost in a ten-round technical knockout before French featherweight champion Cherif Hamia before a crowd of 14,000. Cohen was down for an eight count in the second from a right cross to the jaw and was down again in the seventh from a right hook. The referee ended the bout 1:27 into the tenth round, when Cohen's left brow was injured by a left from Hamia. Some time after the bout, Cohen was severely injured in an automobile accident, and suffered a broken jaw. He attempted to defend his title, but the injury shortened his career.
On September 3, 1955, he drew with Willie Toweel in a fifteen-round world bantamweight title bout in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cohen dropped Toweel three times in the second and put him down a no count in the tenth. Toweel had never been knocked to the mat in a previous bout. In a brutal bout, Cohen was deeply fatigued by the end of the match.
Cohen lost a title bout to Mario D'Agata on June 29, 1956 before a crowd of 38,000, in a seventh-round technical knockout in Rome. D'Agata dropped Cohen to the mat for a nine count near the end of the sixth. After the sixth ended, the referee stopped the fight due to a serious gash over the left brow of Cohen. D'Agata appeared superior in the in-fighting, and many of Cohen's blows were wide of his mark. America's National Boxing Association (NBA) did not recognize the match as a title bout, though nearly every other world boxing organization did. Only a year and a half earlier, D'Agata had been injured by a shotgun blast.
His professional record over 43 bouts was 36 wins (13 KOs), 4 losses, and 3 draws.
Life after boxing
Cohen retired after his fight with Mario D'Agato, and a comeback attempt three years later against Peter Locke in July 1959.
In the 1980s Cohen managed a textile import and export business in Brussels, Belgium.
His biography, Gambuch, written by Michel Rosenzweig and produced by Shanghai-based Italian entrepreneur Jonathan L. Hasson, was recently released by the widely-known French publisher L'Harmattan.
Hall of Fame
- List of lineal boxing world champions
- List of bantamweight boxing champions
- List of select Jewish boxers
- "Robert Cohen". Cyber Boxing Zone. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
- Blady, Ken, The Jewish Boxer's Hall of Fame, (1984) Shapolsky Brothers, New York, New York, pg. 284-88
- "Robert Cohen". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Robert Cohen". BoxRec. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
- "Europe Ring Pilots Duck Basset Bout", Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, pg. 25, 25 February 1953
- "2 U.S. Fighters Lose Amid Arguments with French Ref", The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, pg. 18, 16 April 1953
- "Cohen Posts KO For European Bantam Title", The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania, pg. 41, 28 February 1954
- "French Boxer Gains World Bantam Title", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, pg. 21, 20 September 1954
- "Robert Cohen May Make First Bantam Defense Here", Dixon Evening Telegraph, Dixon, Illinois, pg. 8, 20 September 1954
- "Robert Cohen - Lineal Bantamweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
- "NBA Strips Cohen of Ring Crown", Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, pg. 10, 24 December 1954
- Mullan, Harry (1996). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. London, England: Carlton Books. p. 180. ISBN 0-7858-0641-5.
- "Hamia in Upset Nod Over Cohen", Nevada State Journal, Reno, Nevada, pg. 11, 14 December 1955
- "Champion Fails", The Age, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, pg. 22, 12 December 1955
- Hamia Stops Robert Cohen", Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, pg. 27, 11 December 1955
- "Paperpast". 1955 boxing.
- "Robert Cohen Retains Bantamweight Crown", Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, pg. 51, 4 September 1955
- Cohen dazed and staggered in "Cohen is Held to a Draw By Willie Toweel", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, pg. 45, 4 September 1955
- "D'Agata Beats Robert Cohen", The Palm Beach Post, West Palm Beach, FLorida, pg. 6, 30 June 1956
- "D'Agata And Macias Showdown is Planned", The Terre Haute Tribune, Terre Haute, Indiana, pg. 7, 30 June 1956
- "Italian Deaf Mute Slugs to World Bantamweight Title", Casper Morning Star, Casper, Wyoming, pg. 22, 30 June 1956
- BoxRec bio
- When a Cohen was the world champion boxer at The Jewish Chronicle
- Professional boxing record for Robert Cohen from BoxRec
- Robert Cohen - CBZ Profile
Title last held byJimmy Carruthers
| World Bantamweight Champion
September 19, 1954 - June 29, 1956
| Oldest Living World Champion
September 19, 2017 - Present