|Other names Big Train|
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Reach 74.5 in (189 cm)
Weight 80 kg (180 lb; 13 st)
Name Sherman Bergman
Parents Hank Bergman
Education Florida International University, Miami Dade College, Miami Beach Senior High School, Nova Southeastern University
Similar People Gary Daniels, Oliver Stone, Sean S Cunningham, Tobe Hooper, Enzo G Castellari
Sherman "Big Train" Bergman is a retired kick-boxer from Florida who was a promising prospect in the 1980s; noted for his knockout punch. Bergman had the unique experience of competing against three actors who appeared in the motion picture, The Expendables; Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mickey Rourke, and Gary Daniels. He is also credited as the only fighter to have knocked down Jean-Claude Van Damme in sanctioned competition.
Bergman is Jewish, and was born in Miami Beach, Florida. He was the only child of Polish born actress Anne G. Sterling and World War II hero, Hank Bergman. He graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School. As a high school senior, he worked as a boxing reporter for the GLOVE (a boxing newspaper based out of California).
Bergman earned an Associate in Arts Degree with honors from Miami Dade College. He also received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Florida International University, and graduated with a Master's degree in TESOL (English as a second language) from Nova Southeastern University.
Sherman Bergman compiled an amateur boxing record of 17 victories (17 knockouts) and 4 defeats from 1973 to 1983.
Bergman was a member of the Amateur Athletic Union, the Florida Gold Coast Association, the Golden Gloves Association of America and the USA Amateur Boxing Federation.
He trained at the 5th Street and the Elizabeth Varrick Gyms in Miami-Dade County. His coaches were Hyman Hank Bergman(his father), Jose Maceo, Eddie Ludlow, and Gary Ritter. Also, the legendary cornerman Benjamin "Evil Eye" Finkle worked Bergman's corner for two fights.
Early in his amateur career, Bergman was knocked out in the first round by the future movie star Mickey Rourke.
At the 1981 Southern Regional Golden Gloves in Coconut Grove, Florida, 600 fans turned out to see Bergman fight 5-time Florida Golden Glove Champion Larry Byrd. Byrd overcame a Bergman barrage, and knocked down Bergman twice to score a first round technical knockout.
Bergman was a sparring partner for future World Heavyweight Champion Ken Norton, heavyweight contender Rodney Bobick, and former World Welterweight Champion Luis Rodriguez.
Bergman began kickboxing competition in 1976. He was trained by his father, and managed by his mother. Bergman earned the nickname, "Big Train" due to his aggressive fighting style and his knockout punch.
In 1984, after compiling an impressive knockout streak, Bergman received both local and national attention. He was featured in a number of articles in his hometown paper, The Miami Herald. Bergman also caught the attention of Official Karate Magazine. In the November 1984 issue of Official Karate Magazine, in his column "Southern Exposure", Barry Harrell called Sherman Bergman "One of the best new prospects on his way to the top." A year later in 1985, Harrell wrote that many people believed that Bergman had the knockout power to defeat world champion Alvin Prouder.
Bergman's biggest victories were knockouts over Wilver "Rio" Johnson (18 seconds), Morsak Muangsu (23 seconds), Alejandro DasCola, Bernardo Jua and Carlos Andino.
Bergman clearly had one punch knockout power, but like many knockout artists, he lacked the proper defense needed in which to break into the top-10 world rankings. Also, limited exposure due to lack of proper promotion, lead Bergman to compete on independent shows against obscure competition.
Bergman scored an impressive amount of first round knockouts, however, if he was unable to knockout his opponent in the early rounds, his lack of defense lead him to being knocked out himself. A purposed match with World Champion Alvin Prouder failed to materialize.
After suffering knockout losses to club-fighters, Carlos Andino and Mario Wilfredos, Bergman's promising career was derailed and he lingered on the independent circuit until he retired.
Bergman's most recounted kickboxing matches were against Jean-Claude Van Damme and Gary Daniels.
In his fight with Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1979, Bergman knocked Van Damme down in their match, but Van Damme arose to knockout Bergman with an axe-kick at 56 seconds of the 1st round. In a 2013 interview, Van Damme remembered Patrick Teugels and Sherman "Big Train" Bergman as his two most memorable opponents.
Also, Bergman lost a points decision to Gary Daniels (future PKA World Lightheavyweight Champion)in a 1980 tournament in South Florida.
Mentoring and coaching career
Sherman Bergman mentored and coached South American martial artists living in South Florida from 2002 and 2004.
Among his most successful students were karate point-fighting champions Jeronimo Solis (Uruguay), Martin Rebollo (Uruguay), Luis Anibal Carvalho (Chile), and Derwin Portilla (Uruguay).
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
In 1981, Bergman began a teaching career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He taught ESOL (English as a second language) to recent Cuban refugees from the Mariel boatlift for Adult and Vocational Education.
At the Fienberg-Fisher Adult and Community Education Center, Bergman was the Center's 1995 Teacher of The Year. In 2009 Bergman was one of nine finalists for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, 2008-2009 Elayne Weisburd Excellence in Education Award.
Bergman was involved in various projects including the Arts and honoring veterans.
Bergman studied acting with the drama teacher Jay W. Jensen. Jensen's students included Andy Garcia, Brett Ratner, and Mickey Rourke.
As a child, Bergman appeared on numerous children's television shows, including the The Skipper Chuck Show.
Later, Bergman worked in the movies. He also acted in the stage play 10,000 Baskets directed by Lois Brooks, and in Dinner Theatre productions.