On the Rise: Cletus ‘Hebrew Hammer’ Seldin Seeks to Join Historic Jewish Boxing Ranks (VIDEO)

August 3, 2012 3:30 pm 2 comments

Cletus Seldin (R) demolishes another opponent. Photo: Star Boxing.

Cletus Seldin, an up and coming Jewish boxer who picked the moniker ’Hebrew Hammer,’ has shown great promise since he launched his professional boxing career last year. The welterweight, who averages a 143 pound weigh in remains undefeated in eight fights. Remarkably, for a modern era Jewish fighter six of his wins came by way of knockout, two of which, including one last weekend, were executed in the first found.

Seldin was born in September 1986 to father Harry, nicknamed “the Iron Man,” in East Yaphank, Long Island. Seldin’s grandfather Lee owned a motorcycle club, the Dragons, in Brooklyn during the 50’s and was known around town as a strongman. “My grandfather was a tough Jewish kid; you never looked him in the eyes without him giving you trouble” said Seldin in an interview with The Algemeiner. “I’m the same height, same build as him; I definitely inherited his gift” added Cletus in a heavy and endearing New York accent.

Cletus is named after Clete Boyer, an ex-Yankee third baseman and a friend of his grandparents. The rare name often confuses people, strangers usually expect a southerner when they meet him for the first time. “I’m the only person not from south named Cletus,” he told The Algemeiner, laughing.

Now 25, Seldin started boxing in his early twenties, a late start for a boxing career. “Some kids start fighting at eight years old” said Cletus. “I played three sports in high school… As soon as it was over, I started working. I always wanted to be a professional athlete.” To help accomplish that goal, Cletus has surrounded himself with an all-star management team, most of which is Jewish. “My brother graduated from Columbia in Nutrition, so he has me covered in the food department, and my trainer Pete Brodsky is also Jewish” said Seldin. “My trainer is a boxing guru. At one point he trained over twenty pro fighters at one gym” said Cletus, adding “my manager is also Jewish.”

All of which influences his thoroughly Jewish persona. “I wear a Star of David on my trunks and my jacket, just like the old Jewish fighters” said Cletus, “and on the back of the jacket it says ‘Remember the Masada.’” He is referring to the legacy of the twenties and thirties, when New York played host to a golden age of Jewish boxing. Featuring such giants as Benny “The Great” Leonard, ranked by some as the #1 lightweight of all time, and Barney Ross, a world champion in three weight divisions. “In the city, Jewish boxing was huge, it was one of the top spots for the Jewish fighters” says Seldin. On this legacy, which he calls a “heritage with being tough,” Cletus bases his boxing style. “Put pressure on the fighter, working at my ability, always working to always put pressure, to wear the fighter down” says Cletus.

This juggernaut style sets Cletus apart from other big name contemporary Jewish fighters, such as Yuri Foreman and Dmitriy Salita, who fight with techniques considered modern. “Their style is complicated strategy, avoid punches… My style is old school, a rugged Jewish fighter from back then” said Cletus. “Win, lose, or draw, you fight as hard as you can and that’s what matters.”

That old-time doggedness and determined resilience has earned Cletus a strong following, who sometime dub him “the Throwback Kid” instead of “the Hebrew Hammer.” It has also impressed boxing experts, despite his relatively short career so far. Boxing sites have called Cletus’ knockouts “stunning” and praised his “tremendous right hand.” The icing comes from ESPN, who named Cletus “one to put on your watch list in the coming years.”

A video of Seldin’s latest first round knockout is posted below:

2 Comments

  • Braham Finestone

    MazaI Tov and may Hashem be with you to the top….. about time we had a reputation for fighting hard and fair…. not as Mohammadan fakes.. think we are too soft to fight and win.

  • Great story — good luck, Cletus :)

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Israel Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    Israeli Arab Microbiologist Wins on Israel’s ‘MasterChef’ Reality Show

    JNS.org – An Israeli-Arab microbiologist and mother of three won the fourth season of Israel’s most popular reality TV show, “MasterChef.” Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, 32, who holds a PhD in microbiology and is from the Israeli-Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, described winning as the “the most exciting moment in her life.” She said she plans to use the prize money to open up an Arab-Jewish cooking school. MasterChef is a popular reality TV show that originated in the U.K. It is [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Theater Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Play About Muslim Man Who Discovers His Parents Are Jewish Seeking Funds

    Jewish comedian and writer David Baddiel is seeking public support to help produce a musical based on his film about a British Muslim man who discovers his parents are Jewish. London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East is in development to premiere The Infidel in October, London’s Evening Standard reported on Wednesday. However, the theater needs another £55,000 on top of around £200,000 already raised in order to produce the show. Baddiel, 49, retained the stage rights to the story when he wrote the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.