Schneider Has Learned to Roll With Punches


Effi Schneider’s mettle was tested long before he turned to prizefighting.

Schneider, 27, a native of Tel Aviv, served three years in the Israeli army, his tour of duty placing him squarely in harm’s way during the 1991 Gulf War.

Schneider recalls vividly the image of Scud missiles launched by Iraq streaking across the Tel Aviv sky.

“I was right there where they were bombing,” Schneider recalled. “I saw them coming. I could feel them a couple of times. People were scared in Israel.”


A year later, boxing led Schneider to the United States and the tutelage of trainer Joe Goossen of North Hollywood. Still struggling to eke out a career as a preliminary fighter, Schneider, 8-3-1, will fight Stanley Longstreet in an eight-round junior-welterweight bout tonight at Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City.

Schneider’s punching power is suspect--he has knocked out only one opponent--and he has absorbed considerable punishment. But his aggression against more-experienced opponents has led to improvement.

In November, Schneider, an 11th-hour replacement, lost a 10-round decision to former world champion James Leija, who was cut over the left eye and had to rally in the late rounds. A month later, Schneider punched his way to a 10-round victory at the Reseda Country Club over Mark Fernandez, a veteran with 51 professional fights.

“He did a lot of good sparring and he kept improving in the gym,” Goossen said. “He proved a lot against Leija. A lot of guys at that stage, they’re intimidated against a world champion. He has a great survival instinct.”

Schneider’s attitude was instilled at an early age. When he was 3, his father was killed during the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt. His mother and sister remain in Israel, where Schneider plans to return in a few years.

“Right now, I want to box,” Schneider said. “I don’t have a lot of knockouts, but I know I have some power and I can punch. The knockouts will come.”



Heavyweight Lance Whitaker of Granada Hills has 13 knockout victories in as many pro fights.

He also has a new nickname, Mount Whitaker.

The moniker is becoming of the 6-foot-8 Whitaker, who will fight Everett “Bigfoot” Martin in an eight-round bout on the undercard at Sportsmen’s Lodge.

In recent fights, both in the ring and in the audience, Whitaker has been introduced as “Mount” Whitaker. The billing might soon become Whitaker’s legal name.

“It’s in the process,” Whitaker said. “My momma’s gonna call me Lance. But to the boxing world, it’s Mount Whitaker.”

Joe Goossen, who has handled Whitaker since his pro debut in July 1996, came up with the nickname.

“Let’s face it--Lance is one of the biggest guys in the heavyweight division,” Goossen said. “A good tag is worth a lot of money.”


After languishing in the Don King organization, junior lightweight Robert Garcia of Oxnard couldn’t be happier with his new promoter.

Or his next date in the ring.

Garcia, 29-0 with 23 knockouts and ranked No. 1 by the International Boxing Federation, will fight for a world title when he meets Harold Warren for the vacant IBF title March 13 at Miccosukee Indian Gaming Reservation near Miami.

Warren, 38-9 with 19 knockouts, is ranked No. 2. The bout will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Garcia, 23, who will fight for the first time since July, was inactive and frustrated under King. During the past year, he watched possible paydays with Arturo Gatti and Gabriel Ruelas fail to materialize.

“He can’t do that to my career,” Garcia said. “He was supposed to give me four fights a year. . . . It’s been a long time. I’ve paid my dues. It’s been a hard road for me. He can’t do that to my career.”

With Main Events, Garcia joins former U.S. Olympian Fernando Vargas of Oxnard. Garcia and Vargas were stablemates at La Colonia Youth Boxing Club and pupils of trainer Eduardo Garcia, Robert’s father.

Vargas (9-0) will fight Dan Connolly of Pittsburgh in a 10-round junior-middleweight bout on the undercard at Miami. Look for Garcia and Vargas to be paired on many cards to come.

“We’re going to be double trouble from Oxnard,” Garcia said.


Mia St. John of Woodland Hills, undefeated in five pro bouts, will fight on Don King’s first all-female card March 25 at El Paso, Texas.

St. John, a taekwondo black belt, signed a lucrative contract with King last year. St. John will fight Jimi Chartrand of Chicago in a four-round super-featherweight bout. The program will be broadcast live on Showtime.

The fight is St. John’s first under trainer Pat Goossen of Van Nuys. Goossen’s son, Chuck, a welterweight who will fight a four-round bout tonight at the Sportsmen’s Lodge, is St. John’s primary sparring partner.

St. John won a four-round unanimous decision over Dolores Lira in Irvine in her last fight in December.


Monthly boxing returns to Ventura County March 26 at The Derby Club at Seaside Park, formerly Ventura Fairgrounds.

Oxnard promoter Robert Valdez, who has had three cards featuring young, local fighters, has agreed to terms with managers of the venue to stage bouts on the third Thursday of every month throughout the year.

Simi Valley light-heavyweight Victor Ortiz is scheduled to headline the next card.


Fight Night

Tonight’s card at Sportsmen’s Lodge

First bell, 4:30 p.m.

Robert McCracken (30-0, 18 knockouts) vs. Lonnie Beasley (27-4-2, eight KOs), 10 rounds, middleweights.

Adan Vargas (25-1-1, 19 KOs) vs. Narcisco Rodriguez (17-1, 10 KOs), 12 rounds, North American Boxing Federation bantamweight title.

Lance Whitaker (13-0, 13 KOs) vs. Everett Martin (20-20-1, nine KOs), eight rounds, heavyweights.

Anthony Green (9-2, two KOs) vs. Louis Monaco (7-10-2, four KOs), eight rounds, heavyweights.

Effi Schneider (8-3-1, one KO) vs. Stanley Longstreet (21-3-1, 15 KOs), eight rounds, junior-welterweights.

Chuck Goossen (11-2, seven KOs) vs. Patrick Reeder (5-3-2, two KOs), four rounds, welterweights.

Carlos Martinez (5-0, one KO) vs. Carlos Bojorquez (3-0-1, three KOs), four rounds, junior-middleweights.

Tickets: $50 to $15. Information: (818) 755-5000.