As a product of a boxing family, I am probably going to examine this film very closely. you see, my grandfather was a boxer in the 1920s and fought under the name of joey medill. he was one of the early jewish fighters whose stable mate was barney ross. My father managed two heavy weight champs, tony “tnt” tubbs and tony “tnt” tucker. as you might have guessed, there are not many jewish boxers fighting today so the concept of an orthodox jewish fighter is something of an anomaly.
The focus of this film is on a Jewish boxer named dmitriy salita who as a child emigrated to the united states from the ukraine. the film takes us to dmitriy’s home in brooklyn, his orthodox synagogue, and his gym. the film gives the audience a view of what it is like to be an observant jewish boxer, i.e., keeping kosher, praying and not boxing on the sabbath. demitriy reminded me of the jewish baseball players going back to sandy koufax who would not play ball on the jewish high holidays.
There are many interesting characters in the film such as the jewish boxing promoter bob arum who was able to relate to some of the difficulties dmitriy had to encounter on the road such as finding kosher food in out of the way places or telling hbo his fighter could not fight on the sabbath. another interesting character is dmitriy’s 80 year old black trainer jimmy o’pharrow who seems to know his way around the boxing world. the director, jason hutt, gives you the inside view of what a boxer goes through to make it in the tough boxing world. it is interesting to see a fight crowd consisting of hasidic jews and the typical boxing crowd rooting for a victorious dmitriy. hutt also takes you to the white house when dmitriy is invited to president bush’s hanukkah party. the movie is very uplifting in sort of a jewish “rocky” way. fred says go see “orthodox stance” and roll with the punches.