Beware the Bulldog: South Philly’s Benny Sinakin returns to the ring

South Philly resident Benny Sinakin will compete in his first boxing match in more than a year on April 3 at the 2300 Arena. Sinakin, a letter carrier in South Philly, recently lost significant weight to reach the 175-pound weight class for the fight. Photos by Mark Zimmaro.

Benny Sinakin’s boxing bloodlines run deep.  

A third-generation fighter, Sinakin draws inspiration from family members who laced up their gloves and spent seemingly eternity in stuffy gymnasiums, hammering away at their craft of delivering powerful punches while avoiding return fire.

“Everyone in my family boxes,” Sinakin said, dripping sweat from another grueling workout at the William A. Barrett Nabuurs Center at 28th and Dickinson streets. “My great uncle, my pop, my dad and my brother all boxed. I got tired of getting my butt whooped so I wanted to get in the ring, too.”

Sinakin is now considered a veteran of the sport at just 23, having picked up boxing a decade ago. He found early success winning two Golden Gloves championships as a young teenager, while also playing baseball and football at the Academy of Palumbo School. He learned from his father Lincoln Sinakin and by watching his older brother, Demetrie. But it was teaming up with trainer Hassaan “Candyman” Williams that helped Sinakin take off in his teens.

“He’s been with me since I was 14 years old,” Sinakin said. “I won two Golden Gloves with him. He laced up the gloves and got in the ring with me and showed me how it’s supposed to be done correctly. He’s a role model and a businessman. We have a great bond.”

Photo/Mark Zimmaro

Lately, he has cast Williams into a role of weight-loss coach as Sinakin (6-0, 3 KOs) is slimming down to his fighting weight of 175 pounds. to take on Afumwa King (2-1, 1 KO) of Bronx, New York in a six-round light-heavyweight affair at the 2300 Arena on April 3 at 7 p.m.

In the two weeks leading up to weigh-in, Sinakin was tasked with shedding another 10 pounds, but there was little concern considering the South Philly bruiser has accomplished such feats several times in the past. According to Williams, Sinakin weighed 214 in early February. He weighed 288 in 2017. Sinakin is in the gym every day jumping rope, working the heavy bag and simulating 12-round fights. Ten-mile runs are sprinkled into the regiment on some days before even entering the gym.

“He’s got some work to do,” Williams said with a reassuring look. “But he’s tenacious and dedicated. He’s years past his maturity of his age. He has the mind of someone that’s been through a lot of things even though he hasn’t been through too much yet at 23. He’s special in that aspect.”

Sinakin’s weight gain could be partly blamed on inactivity during the pandemic, despite his job as a letter carrier for the US Post Office. Sinakin was missing that extra drive over the last year, but perked up after his fight was scheduled. It made it even more special since he’ll be fighting at an arena less than a mile from where he grew up.

Photo/Mark Zimmaro

“After COVID, I was worried about when I’d get to fight again,” Sinakin said. “Everything was difficult because we had no clue when it was going to end. When I got a call that my next fight was going to be in South Philly, I was overjoyed. I’m home. I live three blocks away from the arena.”

Sinakin will be fighting for family and friends. He will also be fighting under his Jewish heritage, as he proudly wears the Star of David on his trunks. It’s also prominently tattooed on his right shoulder among a blanket of other artwork on his upper body.

“My dad is Jewish and I love who I am,” Sinakin said. “I love the Jewish culture. We’ve been through a lot so I have a lot of pride to wear.”

Sinakin carries the self-proclaimed nickname of the “Jewish Bulldog” as his fighting moniker, which is another nod to his tenacity in the ring.

“I’m relentless,” Sinakin said. “I don’t care how big you are, I’m going to come right at you and we’re going to rumble.”

It wasn’t always that way for Sinakin, who admits he took some lumps at a young age, which spurred him into boxing.

Trainer Hassaan “Candyman” Williams (left) helps Benny Sinakin lace up his gloves before a workout. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

“I was a softie,” Sinakin said. “I was a chubby dude and a crybaby. I got bullied. But once I got tired of that, I got in shape and I took on the family business, which is boxing. I was in the gym at 8 years old watching my brother fight and when I got to an older age, my dad allowed me to start boxing.”

Sinakin has compiled a perfect 6-0 start to his professional career and is hoping to take that next step on April 3. He will be on the undercard on a night headlined by heavyweights Joey Dawejko and Brandon Spencer. Tickets are $250 for VIP (Includes three hours of food and drink), $150 for Front Row, $100 for Ringside and $75 for General Admission and can be purchased by emailing

“This is his first six-round fight after a year layoff, so we’re going for the gusto,” Williams said. “We’re not playing around.”

Sinakin continues to deliver mail during his intensive training, giving the slip to real bulldogs along his way. A hard worker with a big, welcoming smile and an outgoing personality, Sinakin shies away from boasting about his boxing tales to residents on his route in Grays Ferry.

“I’m humble,” Sinakin said with a laugh. “I don’t like to talk about it too much. I just deliver the mail with a smile and keep it going.”