Speaking as a guest on The Fight Lawyer Podcast with Dmitriy Shakhnevich, Yuri Foreman described how he reconciles his religious commitments with those of being a former world champion boxer.
Foreman, who held the WBA super-welterweight title in 2009 before being dethroned by Miguel Cotto in 2010, last fought when halted by Erislandy Lara over a year ago on the back of ending a two-year retirement in 2015.
The 37 year-old won two comeback fights before the Lara effort, and as he contemplates whether to fight again, Foreman spoke to Shakhnevich to talk about juggling his faith and fighting.
DS: …I know you decided to go to rabbinical school a couple of years ago, some people wonder how you reconcile that, your religious commitments with such a vicious sport. Is there a way to reconcile it, what was the reason you went to rabbinical school?
YF: “Well you know the reason for me to start rabbinical school, it was also separate from boxing.
“First of all, when I was growing up in Israel and non-religious person at all, and never been any interest in that but actually now in boxing, as you combine your physical activity with, I would say, strengthening your spiritual side, you know, each human consists of half of spiritual, half of physical, you know.
“Strong soul, big soul, have to be in strong body but have to be also harmony where you train yourself in gym and you also develop spiritual awareness, which is very important…and reconciling with sport like boxing, you know, yeah, it is vicious, you know, so is American football is very vicious.
“Every sport that has physical contact, football, basketball, there is always prone to injuries, boxing is, first of all, is also known as art of defense, not art of offense, you know, so it’s art of defense for me.
“I look at boxing as more of chess play, not as taking someone’s head off. And in terms of morality, it’s something, you take risks and your opponent takes risks and for me, it’s something that I love to do and in the end, I’m OK with that, and God is OK with that as well.
“I don’t think he’s boxing fan but, you know what, God knows me better than I know myself and he sees that I love boxing, then “what the heck kid, do it,” he added.