Robert Cohen (boxer)

Robert Cohen (born 15 November 1930) is a French retired boxer. Cohen was world bantamweight champion from 1954 to 1956. He was managed by Robert (Bobby) Diamond, and Gaston Charles-Raymond.[1]

Robert Cohen
Nickname(s)Gambuch (Short legs)
Height5 ft 2.5 in (1.59 m)
NationalityFrance French
Born (1930-11-15) 15 November 1930 (age 91)
Bône, French Algeria
Boxing record
Total fights43
Wins by KO14

Early life and amateur careerEdit

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.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Cohen, who at 5' 3-1/2", was a short but muscular champion, who won the French bantamweight title in November 1953 and the European championship in January 1954.[3][4]

Between September 1951 and May 1954, Cohen won a remarkable 34 of 37 fights, losing only one to Robert Munier in Paris and drawing twice.[4]

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.[1][4] Cohen upset Jean Snyers, winning a ten-round points decision in Paris on February 23, 1953.[5]

He defeated Pappy Gault on April 15, 1953 in a ten-round points decision in Paris before a crowd of 8,000.[6]

French and European bantam champEdit

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.[4] A religious Jew, one source noted that he briefly attended a Synagogue the morning of the match.[7]

Cohen defeated Jake Tuli on December 14, 1953, in Manchester, England in ten rounds.[4]

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.[8]

World bantam champEdit

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.[9][10][11][3] 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.[4]

Stripped of World bantam titleEdit

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.[12] Both the New York State Athletic Commission and the European Boxing Union continued to recognize Cohen as champion.[13] On December 11, 1955 Cohen lost in a ten-round technical knockout against 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.[14] The referee ended the bout 1:27 into the tenth round, when Cohen's left brow was injured by a left from Hamia.[15][16] 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.[17]

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.[18] In a brutal bout, Cohen was deeply fatigued by the end of the match.[19]

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.[20] Only a year and a half earlier, D'Agata had been injured by a shotgun blast.[21][22]

His professional record over 43 bouts was 36 wins (13 KOs), 4 losses, and 3 draws.

Life after boxingEdit

Cohen retired after his fight with Mario D'Agata, and a comeback attempt three years later against Peter Locke in July 1959.

Suffering from injuries, he retired from boxing in the 1960s, and moved with his wife, Zita, to the Congo and began working in his father-in-law's textile and retail business. Unhappy in the textile business, he opened a boxing gym with some success, but his best boxers left for Europe after it was nationalized, and he left the gym.[7]

In the 1980s Cohen managed a textile import and export business in Brussels, Belgium.[2]

His biography, Gambuch, a book written by Michel Rosenzweig was published in 2012 by the widely-known French publisher L'Harmattan. A movie of Cohen's life, produced by Shanghai-based Italian entrepreneur Jonathan L. Hasson, was in production in 2012.[23]

Hall of FameEdit

Cohen, who is Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.[3]

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
43 fights 36 wins 4 losses
By knockout 14 2
By decision 22 2
Draws 3
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
43 Loss 36–4–3 Peter Lock PTS 10 Jul 13, 1959 Raylton Sports Club, N'Dola, Zambia
42 Loss 36–3–3 Mario D'Agata TKO 7 (15) Jun 29, 1956 Stadio Olimpico, Roma, Lazio, Italy Lost NYSAC and The Ring bantamweight titles
41 Loss 36–2–3 Cherif Hamia TKO 10 (10) Dec 10, 1955 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
40 Draw 36–1–3 Willie Toweel PTS 15 Sep 3, 1955 Rand Stadium, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa Retained NYSAC and The Ring bantamweight titles
39 Win 36–1–2 Roy Ankrah TKO 4 (10) Dec 20, 1954 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
38 Win 35–1–2 Chamroen Songkitrat SD 15 Sep 19, 1954 National Stadium Gymnasium, Bangkok, Thailand Won vacant NYSAC, NBA, and The Ring bantamweight titles
37 Win 34–1–2 Mario D'Agata UD 10 May 15, 1954 Stade de la Pépinière, Tunis, Tunisia
36 Win 33–1–2 Manny Kid Francis PTS 10 Apr 30, 1954 King's Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester, Lancashire, England
35 Win 32–1–2 Eddie Carson PTS 10 Apr 7, 1954 Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
34 Win 31–1–2 John Kelly KO 3 (15) Feb 27, 1954 Kings Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Won EBU bantamweight title
33 Win 30–1–2 Jake Tuli PTS 10 Dec 14, 1953 King's Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester, Lancashire, England
32 Win 29–1–2 Maurice Sandeyron PTS 15 Nov 6, 1953 Palais des Sports, Paris, France Won vacant France bantamweight title
31 Win 28–1–2 Dante Bini PTS 10 Oct 17, 1953 Palais de la Foire, Casablanca, Morocco
30 Win 27–1–2 Teddy Peckham RTD 6 (10) Sep 25, 1953 King's Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester, Lancashire, England
29 Draw 26–1–2 Gaetano Annaloro PTS 10 May 31, 1953 Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
28 Win 26–1–1 Pappy Gault PTS 10 Apr 15, 1953 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
27 Draw 25–1–1 Jean Sneyers PTS 10 Mar 28, 1953 Palais des Sports, Schaerbeek, Bruxelles-Capitale, Belgium
26 Win 25–1 Gaetano Annaloro PTS 10 Mar 19, 1953 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
25 Win 24–1 Jean Sneyers PTS 10 Feb 23, 1953 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
24 Win 23–1 Maurice Sandeyron RTD 9 (10) Jan 19, 1953 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
23 Win 22–1 Marcel Mathieu RTD 7 (10) Dec 19, 1952 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
22 Win 21–1 Andre Valignat PTS 10 Nov 17, 1952 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
21 Win 20–1 Theo Medina PTS 10 Oct 20, 1952 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
20 Win 19–1 Dante Bini PTS 10 Oct 2, 1952 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
19 Win 18–1 Roland Gibert KO 1 (8) Sep 18, 1952 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
18 Win 17–1 Tino Cardinale PTS 8 Jun 30, 1952 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
17 Win 16–1 Andre Jasse RTD 9 (10) May 31, 1952 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
16 Win 15–1 Robert Meunier RTD 8 (8) May 15, 1952 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
15 Win 14–1 Robert Garcia PTS 8 Apr 5, 1952 Salle Marcel Cerdan, Oran, Algeria
14 Win 13–1 Felix Vanderdonck TKO 4 (8) Mar 17, 1952 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
13 Win 12–1 Robert Lefuevre PTS 8 Feb 25, 1952 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
12 Win 11–1 Jean Binet PTS 10 Feb 3, 1952 Palais de la Mutualité, Paris, France
11 Win 10–1 Georges Lafage PTS 6 Jan 19, 1952 Palais des Sports, Paris, France
10 Win 9–1 Edmond Moletto PTS 8 Jan 5, 1952 Paris Stadium, Paris, France
9 Win 8–1 Lucien Gougelin PTS 8 Dec 29, 1951 Élysée Montmartre, Paris, France
8 Win 7–1 Michel Martin TKO 8 (8) Dec 16, 1951 Palais de la Mutualité, Paris, France
7 Loss 6–1 Robert Meunier PTS 8 Dec 2, 1951 Palais de la Mutualité, Paris, France
6 Win 6–0 Sideki Yansanne TKO 6 (6) Nov 4, 1951 Metz, Moselle, France
5 Win 5–0 Florent Druart TKO 5 (6) Oct 17, 1951 Central Sporting Club, Paris, France
4 Win 4–0 Henri Pageot KO 5 (6) Oct 11, 1951 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
3 Win 3–0 Emile Cordillot PTS 6 Sep 26, 1951 Paris, France
2 Win 2–0 Francis Pandocchi PTS 6 Sep 20, 1951 Salle Wagram, Paris, France
1 Win 1–0 Leon Gauche TKO 2 (6) Sep 12, 1951 Paris Central, Paris, France

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Robert Cohen". Cyber Boxing Zone. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b Blady, Ken, The Jewish Boxer's Hall of Fame, (1984) Shapolsky Brothers, New York, New York, pg. 284-88
  3. ^ a b c "Robert Cohen". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Robert Cohen". BoxRec. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Europe Ring Pilots Duck Basset Bout", Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, pg. 25, 25 February 1953
  6. ^ "2 U.S. Fighters Lose Amid Arguments with French Ref", The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, pg. 18, 16 April 1953
  7. ^ a b "When a Cohen was the World Champion Boxer". The JC.
  8. ^ "Cohen Posts KO For European Bantam Title", The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania, pg. 41, 28 February 1954
  9. ^ "French Boxer Gains World Bantam Title", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, pg. 21, 20 September 1954
  10. ^ "Robert Cohen May Make First Bantam Defense Here", Dixon Evening Telegraph, Dixon, Illinois, pg. 8, 20 September 1954
  11. ^ "Robert Cohen - Lineal Bantamweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  12. ^ "NBA Strips Cohen of Ring Crown", Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, pg. 10, 24 December 1954
  13. ^ Mullan, Harry (1996). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. London, England: Carlton Books. p. 180. ISBN 0-7858-0641-5.
  14. ^ "Hamia in Upset Nod Over Cohen", Nevada State Journal, Reno, Nevada, pg. 11, 14 December 1955
  15. ^ "Champion Fails", The Age, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, pg. 22, 12 December 1955
  16. ^ Hamia Stops Robert Cohen", Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, pg. 27, 11 December 1955
  17. ^ "Paperpast". 1955 boxing.
  18. ^ "Robert Cohen Retains Bantamweight Crown", Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, pg. 51, 4 September 1955
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ "D'Agata Beats Robert Cohen", The Palm Beach Post, West Palm Beach, FLorida, pg. 6, 30 June 1956
  21. ^ "D'Agata And Macias Showdown is Planned", The Terre Haute Tribune, Terre Haute, Indiana, pg. 7, 30 June 1956
  22. ^ "Italian Deaf Mute Slugs to World Bantamweight Title", Casper Morning Star, Casper, Wyoming, pg. 22, 30 June 1956
  23. ^ "When a Cohen was the World Champion Boxer". The JC.

External linksEdit

Title last held by
Jimmy Carruthers
World Bantamweight Champion
September 19, 1954 - June 29, 1956
Mario D'Agata
Sporting positions
Jake LaMotta
Oldest Living World Champion

September 19, 2017 - Present