SAMPSON LEWKOWICZ

The year is 1999 and a lawyer representing an unknown super bantamweight from the Philippines is having trouble getting anyone to pay any attention to his client. All the sport’s top promoters have said they have no interest in a 120-lb fighter from a distant country.

Sampson Lewkowicz, then working as a matchmaker for Murad Muhammad’s M & M Sports is in a meeting with the lawyer and they are watching a video of one of the fighter’s early victories.

“I watched a fight from the beginning of his career, and he won by a bodyshot knockdown,” recalled Lewkowicz. “I watched it again in slow motion and realized it was an amazing left hook to the body. I went straight to Murad and said we have to sign this kid. He’s the future of boxing. I could tell because I do my homework.”

And so, on that fateful day, future superstar Manny Pacquiao signed a promotional contract with M&M, handwritten by the lawyer. Soon after that, the unknown underdog knocked out champion Lehlo Ledwaba in six brutal rounds. A star was born.

Lewkowicz still has the contract to this day. It changed boxing. And planted the roots to his legendary ability to spot raw talent in off-the-beaten-path locations.

Lewkowicz discovered a great passion for the sport of boxing a young boy in Montevideo, Uruguay. So much so that he even had a brief amateur career consisting of three fights held at the local YMCA, compiling a 2-1 record. His sole defeat came via knockout “I went flying out of the ring and at that point I discovered that my future was not in the squared circle” he laughed.

Searching for new horizons, Lewkowicz emigrated to the US at age 20 in 1971. Three years later, he married his wife Ketty, his lifelong companion. They later had a son Nathan.

Two years later, Lewkowicz was working as a manager at the prestigious electronics store Jason’s 5th Avenue and later Joal 5th Avenue in New York City. While there, and based on his charm and personality, Lewkowicz established very warm friendships with the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, ex-President Jimmie Carter Real Estate Tycoon Donald Trump and World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman.
Ingrid Bergman developed such a close friendship that she confided in him before anybody that she had be
en diagnosed with cancer.

It was while meeting Mr. Sulaiman that his interest in boxing returned. Lewkowicz soon took the plunge and signed his first boxer, middleweight Brian Barbosa and guided him to two important championship eliminator bouts versus Antwun Echols and Carl Daniels.

The year is now 2007 and Lewkowicz spots something in an Argentinean middleweight contender named Sergio Martinez. The unknown Martinez is already a 10-year pro, who failed in his only important fight by getting stopped in seven rounds by future world champion Antonio Margarito.

But Lewkowicz sees something.

“Sergio had just fought Saul Roman in an elimination bout for the WBC and won by KO 4. I was still a matchmaker then and not a promoter, so I called all the big-name promoters again and asked if they are interested in signing him? I was told that Argentineans don’t bring anything to the table. I finally took him to Lou DiBella. I said Lou, you made a mistake with Manny Pacquiao. Don’t miss this one and to his credit, this time he trusted me. We all started working together with Lou as promoter and me as advisor and matchmaker.”

Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez would go on to become unified middleweight champion and a boxing superstar over the last seven years of his career.

In the present day, Lewkowicz has switched over to promoting his own fighters with his company Sampson Boxing and has found great success with developing relatively unknown prospects into champions including former World Super Middleweight Champion and top 168-lb contender David Benavidez, former two-time champion Javier Fortuna Javier “El Abejón” Fortuna, former world Unified WBA and IBF Super Welterweight Champion Jeison “Banana” Rosario, current WBA Interim World Featherweight Champion Eduardo “Zurdito” Ramirez, and is now guiding red-hot junior middleweight giant Sebastian Fundora and his recently debuted sister Gabriela Fundora to glory.

In addition, Lewkowicz handles the careers of several up-and-coming promising fighters including welterweight punisher Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, undefeated Dominican lightweight prospect Michel “La Zarza Ali” Rivera, undefeated middleweight KO artist Amilcar Vidal from Uruguay, recent middleweight world-title challenger and top contender Juan Macias Montiel, recent super featherweight world title challenger Jaime Arboleda from the Dominican, Dominican KO artist Sparkinson Wilson Castillo, and Argentinean contender Jose Matias Romero.

“I take the leftovers and make history with them,” said Lewkowicz with a smile.

OTHER SAMPSON LEWKOWICZ CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

On January 15, 2000, in New York City’s famous Radio City Music Hall Lewkowicz organized the only boxing event ever held at this iconic venue. The featured bout that night was between Roy Jones Jr. vs David Tedesco.

In 2004 Lewkowicz produced another historical event in Louisville Kentucky (Muhammad Ali's hometown) where Mike Tyson was defeated by Danny Williams in his next-to-last career fight.

Lewkowicz has worked in South America with Arano Box Promotions where he guided Jorge “La Hiena” Barrios to the WBO super featherweight world title and created opportunities for Jorge “Locomotora’ Castro and Wilfredo Vilchez. He also guided the first steps of future star Lucas Matthysse.

As Barrios’ advisor, Lewkowicz was instrumental in putting together one of the greatest fights in history, Jorge Barrios vs. Acelino Freitas, as he worked closely with all the parties and the WBO to secure mandatory challenger Joel Casamayor step-aside money to make the exciting fight happen. An interesting side note is that Lewkowicz, who at the time had long hair tied by a ponytail, promised Barrios to cut his hair if he were to win the world title against Freitas. Barrios did not win but fought so well that Lewkowicz asked the boxer to cut his tail off anyway.

Lewkowicz represented fighters and made several historical matches with Golden Boy Promotions and was the brains behind “The World Cup of Boxing” during both editions of the event. (Mexico vs Thailand and Mexico vs Philippines).

With Sydney Olympic games silver medalist Sultan Ibragimov, Sampson and manager Boris Grimberg were able to make history as they developed Sultan from pro debut to a mandatory position, followed by winning the WBO Title from Shannon Briggs. Ibragimov successfully defended that belt against Evander Holyfield before losing it to Wladimir Klitschko.

During the reign of Sergio “Maravilla” Martínez, Lewkowicz rejected the Boxing Writer’s Association of America (BWAA) Manager of the Year award, as he was technically an advisor.

In 2003, Lewkowicz was approached for help by a representative of then unknown Indonesian fighter Chris John. Lewkowicz agreed and helped John go on to win and make 17 title defenses of the WBA Featherweight Championship.

Lewkowicz brought future WBC Super Welterweight Champion Javier Castillejo of Spain, future WBA Super Featherweight Champion Yober Ortega of Venezuela and future IBF Lightweight Champion Leavander Johnson to promotional contracts and eventual world championships.

Sampson promoted and organized a historic event in Argentina, the WBC Middleweight World Championship fight between Sergio Martínez and Martin Murray  of England, with a record 40,000 people at the Club Vélez Football Stadium Sarsfield in Buenos Aires. The fervor and eagerness of the fans in attendance that evening was such that the field was packed despite the torrential rain that fell that night.

On March 31, 2011, at the National Stadium in San José, Costa Rica, Lewkowicz produced another historic evening by presenting three women's world titles: Ada Vélez vs. Melinda Cooper (IBF Super Bantamweight), Stacey Relle vs. Dahiana Santana (IBF Featherweight) and local idol Hanna Gabriels vs. Melisenda Pérez (WBO Super Welterweight) to a huge crowd.

Also in Lima, Peru, Sampson set a milestone on May 19, 2012, at the Miguel Grau Coliseum, where Peruvian icon Kina Malpartida defended her WBA Super Featherweight Title against Thai challenger Siriphon Chanbuala.

Lewkowicz also led Marvin Sonsona's career to the WBO Super Flyweight World Championship, where, at age 19, he set the record for his country by becoming the youngest-ever champion from the Philippines.

Led by Sampson, boxing star David “Bandera Roja” Benavidez had his name enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the youngest super middleweight world champion in history (at 20 years of age).

Another Sampson Boxing champion, Jaison "Banana" Rosario, also established a milestone in the rich history of Dominican boxing by becoming the only fighter from his country to hold two world titles simultaneously.

Sampson was the main promoter of the so-called "New Dawn of Uruguayan Boxing", an ambitious and quality project that aimed at the detection and development of amateur fighters. Along with CUBAP (Uruguayan Amateur and Professional Boxing Commission) and its owner Sergio Márquez, Lewkowicz has run the program for two consecutive years (2018 and 2019). From this project has emerged, among others, the huge knockout prospect Amílcar Vidal Jr.

Lewkowicz has also given a great contribution to his native country. In addition to the aforementioned amateur program, he helped give Uruguay its first world boxing title, at the hands of former model Cecilia "La Reina" Comunales (WBA Lightweight).

WORLD CHAMPIONS CURRENTLY OR FOMERLY REPRESENTED

David “Bandera Roja” Benavídez
(WBC Super Middleweight)
México

Jaison “Banana” Rosario
(WBA/IBF Super Welterweight)
Dominican Republic

Javier “El Abejón” Fortuna
(WBA Super Featherweight)
Dominican Republic

John Riel Casimero
(WBO Bantamweight)
Philippines

Sergio "Maravilla" Martínez
(WBC Super Welterweight – WBC/WBO Middleweight)
Argentina

Sultan Ibragimov
(WBO HEAVYWEIGHT)
Russia

Javier Castillejo
(WBC Super Welter)
Spain

Leavander Johnson
(IBF Lightweight)
USA

Celestino “Pelenchin” Caballero
(WBA/IBF Super Bantamweight)
Panama

Michael Katsidis
(WBO Lightweight)
Australia

Jorge R. Barrios
(WBA Super Featherweight)
Argentina

Yober Ortega
(WBA Super Featherweight)
Venezuela

Somsak Sitchawal
(WBA Super Bantamweight)
Thailand

Ratnchanai Sor Vorapin
(WBO Bantamweight)
Thailand

Rafael Concepcion
(WBA Interim Super Flyweight)
Panama

Muhammad Rachman
(IBF Minimumweight)
Indonesia

Gabriel Campillo
(WBA Light Heavyweight)
Spain

Donnie Nietes
(WBO Light Flyweight)
Philippines

Hanna Gabriel
(WBO Welterweight Female)
Costa Rica

Simpiwe Vetyeka
(IBO Bantamweight)
South Africa

Cassius Baloyi
(IBF Super Featherweight)
South Africa

Malcolm Klassen
(IBF Super Featherweight)
South Africa

Ali Funeka
(WBF Light Welterweight)
South Africa

Mzonke Fana
(IBF Super Featherweight)
South Africa

Jeffrey Mathebula
(IBF Super Bantamweight)
South Africa

Takalani Ndlovu
(IBF Super Bantamweight)
South Africa

Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez
(WBC Diamond Middleweight)
Argentina

Chris “The Dragon” John
(WBA Featherweight)
Indonesia

Krystof Wlodarzyk
(IBF Cruiserweight)
Poland

Kina Malpartida
(WBA Female Super Featherweight)
Peru

Katy Pamela Wilson
(IBF Female Super Bantamweight)
Dominican Republic

Brian Magee
(WBA Super Middleweight)
Ireland

Anselmo Moreno
(WBA World Bantamweight Super Champion)
Panama

Cecilia Comunales
(WBA Female Lightweight)
Uruguay

Dahianna Santana
(IBF Female Featherweight)
Dominican Republic

Moruti Mthalane
(IBF Flyweight)
South Africa

 


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