VERONA, NY (JANUARY 24, 2013)—On Thursday evening, all the fighters for the ESPN Friday Night Fights championship boxing card weighed in for the card that will take place at the Turning Stone Resort Casino.

In the main event, Sergiy Dzinziruk takes on Brian Vera for the NABO Middleweight championship.  The co-feature will pit undefeated Tony Luis against Jose Hernandez in a ten round Jr. Welterweight bout.


Dmitry Pirog has seemingly sneaked up on boxing fans across the world. Without a solid amateur background, Pirog has managed to remain low profile unless you follow European boxing. Since his pro debut in 2005, he was matched really well, fighting against several solid and dependable boxers, and won several regional titles during the process. In only his fourth pro fight, Pirog won the Russia Middleweight title. In 2007 he defeated Aliaksandr Vaiavoda by technical knockout to claim the vacant WBC CIS and Slovenian Boxing Bureau Middleweight title. Pirog went on to collect four more regional titles, and in 2010, he got his first shot at a title. On July 31, he faced the undefeated contender Daniel Jacobs for the vacant WBO Middleweight title. Pirog shockingly upset Jacobs via knockout with a hard right hand in the 5th round to win the title, on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz II undercard. After making his first successful defense against Javier Francisco Maciel, Pirog defeated Gennady Martirosyan by way of knockout. His most recent title defense was a unanimous decision victory over Nobuhiro Ishida


1. WBC CIS Middleweight Champion

2. WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight Champion

3. WBO Asia Pacific Middlweight Champion

4. WBC International Middlweight Champion

5. WBC Baltic Middlweight Champion


1. WBO Middlweight Champion

WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog (20-0) and his promoter, Kyril Pchelnikov, have no issue with facing mandatory challenger Hassan N’Dam (27-0) in any location or venue. Pchelnikov states that recent comments regarding the possibility of unfair judging in N’Dam’s backyard of France were taken out of context. In a recent interview on, N’Dam’s promoter, Sebastian Acaries, expressed his goal of placing Pirog-N’Dam in France. If the offer is right, Pirog is willing to fight anywhere in the world.

“Neither myself, Kyril Pchelnikov or Dmitry Pirog, ever gave an interview regarding our fear of going to France and the possibility of unfair judging. Besides myself, Kyril Pchelnikov and Dmitry Pirog, nobody else can discuss this subject [for us]. According our staff, some comments were taken out of context by journalists and attributed to me. All four of Dmitry Pirog’s fights [involving] the WBO world title have had no problems whatsoever with judging, no complaints. We did not have and do not have [any complaints with the judging in our fights]. And thanks to the contrary,” Pchelnikov said.

“I suggest that the promoter of N’Dam begin discussions with me – let’s negotiate! We never discussed the subject that caused your anger.”

By Ruslan Chikov

On May 8th, the World Boxing Organization ordered the camps of full champion Dmitry Pirog and interim-king Hassan N’Dam to reach a deal by May 28th for the middleweight world championship.

French Promoter Sébastien Acariès, who takes care of N’Dam, declared:

“Negotiations have already started, I have made an offer to the Pirog team. I hope that we can find an agreement, interesting for the fans and satisfying for both sides. I am deeply determined to bring the fight to France, where this boxing event is highly expected”

On May 16th, Kiril Pchilnikov, the co-promoter of Dmitry Pirog declared:

“We are not unfounded in concerns about the impartiality of the judges. The scoring in N’dams fight for the interim-WBA title, where Avtandil Khurtsidze beat the French fighter, and not vice versa, is well documented by the scorecards which were in favor of Hassan N’dam.”

Sébastien Acariès, was very surprised with the comments, because the judges will be neutral officials appointed by the WBO and that should clear up any concerns with the local judging.

“Team Pirog should not fear the judges and respect them and their work, since the WBO judges are neutrals. It is an insult to the World Boxing Organization to think that there could be concerns regarding their impartiality. The WBO have always considered scoring as an important matter and always take precautions.”

“Moreover my family has been involved with boxing promotions for three generations, and therefore I will not accept any disrespectful comments regarding the manner to do my job correctly. France has never been a land of bad decisions or corruption.”

“The higher justice is proved by the number of local fights where there were unexpected decisions in such a manner that even their opponents were surprised. For example Julien Lorcy, who deserved the win for the WBO super featherweight belt against Castillo, and saw his fight declared a draw or even Bernard Inom who deserved the win against Andrea Sarritzu in a WBO title eliminator and gets a draw.”

“Furthermore, regarding the interim-WBA title fight, Hassan N’Dam won the fight against Avtandil Khurtsidze. It was a really close decision but my fighter deserved the win, no doubt”.

By Kamel Messani–53038

The team of WBO middleweight world champion Dmitry Pirog (20-0) will not rule out a possible fight with undefeated Frenchman Hassan N’Dam (27-0), who on May 4th won a twelve round decision against the tough Ukrainian boxer Maksym “The Tiger” Bursak (24-1) to capture the WBO’s “interim” middleweight crown.

On May 8th, the WBO ordered both sides to reach a deal by May 28th or a purse bid would be ordered.

Although Pirog’s team is interested, the champion’s handlers are currently trying to reach an agreement to face IBF titleholder Daniel Geale in a unification fight on August 25th. HBO is interested in televising the fight.

One thing Pirog will not do is face N’Dam in his backyard of France.

“We would try to arrange a fight in Moscow or in a neutral territory. All of Hassan’s fights have taken place on his land, and we are not unfounded in concerns about the impartiality of the judges. [The scoring in N’Dam’s] fight for the interim-WBA title in October 2010, where [everyone thought] Avtandil Khurtsidze beat Frenchman, and not vice versa, is well documented by the scorecards [which were ruled in favor of N’Dam,” said Kyril Pchelnikov, co-promoter of Pirog.


By Ruslan Chikov

On May 1st in Moscow, the current WBO middleweight world champion Dmitry Pirog (20-0) retained his belt winning a twelve round decision against Japanese contender Nobuhiro Ishida (24-8). On May 4th in Levallois, undefeated Frenchman Hassan N’Dam (27-0) won a twelve round decision against the tough Ukrainian boxer Maksym “The Tiger” Bursak (24-1) to capture the WBO’s “interim” middleweight crown.

On May 8th, the WBO sent a letter to both sides ( Pirog and N’Dam’s promoters) advising them that they have until May 28th – “to negotiate an agreement for the WBO Middleweight Championship bout between champion Dmitry Pirog and Interim Champion Hassan N’ Dam.  If an accord is not reached within the time frame, a Purse Bid will be ordered.”

N’Dam’s promoter Sébastien Acariès, the CEO of Asventure Promotion, is currently in Ukraine for the fight between his talented prospect Michel Soro and WBO 154-pound king Zaurbek Baysangurov.

He declared – “Upon returning to France, I will make an offer to Team Pirog in order to host the championship bout. In the event that they do not agree, then we will go to a purse bid. We really want this fight to happen. It has been two years now that Hassan N’Dam is fighting at the top level and waiting for a real title shot. We would like to stage this event in France where Hassan N’Dam has a significant fan base. We strongly believe that this will be a great night for boxing, as it will match two undefeated and exciting fighters”.

Some reports stated that Dmitry Pirog is trying to reach an agreement to face IBF titleholder Daniel Geale in a unification fight on August 25th. However, the World Boxing Organization through its president, Francisco Valcarcel, clearly specified on May 1st – “That the winner of the bout between Pirog and Ishida must face the winner of the fight between N’Dam and Bursak within 90 days.”


By Kamel Messani

 World Boxing Organization President Francisco Valcarcel sets the story straight on an article that appeared titled ‘Pirog-Geale Unification Nearly Set’. He says that “No one can talk about a unification bout without a written sanction letter from the WBO, and for this bout there is no approval. There is no sanction. Dmitry Pirog faces Nobuhiro Ishida today in the Moscow, Russia. The winner of this bout will face the winner of the May 4th bout between Hassan N’Dam vs. Max Bursak within 90 days of the bout.”

On May 4th, Team ASVENTURE (Sébastien Acariès), in association with the city of Levallois Perret, will stage the WBO-interim world middleweight championship event at “Palais des Sports” in Levallois Perret, a city near Paris. The card will be broadcast live from Paris on the French channel Direct 8 at 10:45 P.M. 
Unbeaten local hero HASSAN “EL FENOMENO” N’DAM (26-0, 17 KO), will fight for the WBO “interim” world title against MAKSYM “THE TIGER” BURSAK (24-0, 10 KO), a tough Ukrainian contender.
N’DAM has been inactive for more than one year, and in his last two fights he defeated Giovanni Lorenzo and Avtandil Khurtsidze – meanwhile BURSAK has kept his WBO Intercontinental belt with a big win over Brian Vera.
N’DAM has been training for more than eight weeks with local coach Mouss Ouicher. French fans call him “EL FENOMENO” because of he constantly changes style in the ring. He is definitely a great showman and he is ready to face the best of the middleweight division.

The winner of this bout should face the winner of Dmitry Pirog vs Nobuhiro Ishida, scheduled for May 1, within 4 months.
In the other big fight of the evening: French titleholder and ex-Olympic participant ALI HALLAB (11-0,5KO) will try to capture the WBO European belt against the Spanish fighter Jorge Perez (10-4).
HALLAB has been training for 5 weeks in Panama.

The rest of the undercard features:

Ahmed El Mousaoui (12-1, 2KO) at only 22, he wants to show the world that he can compete.

Sofiane Cherfioui (19-0, 13 KO), a tough middleweight prospect from Algeria who wants to prove that he is a serious candidate for a world title in a near future.

Jaoid Chiguer (1-0), an ex-Olympic boxer who has just started his professional career.

Christopher Rebrassé (17-2, 4KO), the super-middleweight French titleholder.

Denis Farias (12-3), a true lightweight warrior.

Youri Kalenga (10-0, 6KO), a young and powerful cruiserweight.

Christopher Dettinger (16-2, 7KO), former French cruiserweight champion.


By Kamel Messani

Russian boxer Dmitry Pirog will defend his WBO world middleweight title against Japanese contender Nobuhiro Ishida in Moscow next month, Pirog’s representative Nikolai Baklanov said Thursday.

The fight will be Pirog’s third title defense and will take place on May 1.

“The negotiations for this fight went on for quite some time and both fighters have been on an intensive training regime for long enough,” Baklanov said in an emailed statement

“Nobuhiro Ishida is one of the most experienced opponents in Dmitry Pirog’s professional career,” he added.

The Russian fighter is rumored to be lining up a unification bout in August with IBF champion Daniel Geale, an Australian with a 27-1 with record.

Pirog is undefeated in 19 fights, winning 15 of them by knockout, and won the WBO belt when he stopped Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas in July 2010.

Ishida held the WBA interim light middleweight title for 14 months before losing it to Rigoberto Alvarez in October 2010, and lost his last fight on points to U.S. fighter Paul Williams in February.

WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel announced today the referees and judges who will work on the world title bouts between Lukas Konekny against Salim Larbo and Christina Hammer versus Julie “Queen” Tshabalala tomorrow at the Vodova Arena, Brno, Czech Republic.

For the vacant WBO Interim junior middleweight title between Konecny (47-3, 22 KOs) and Larbi (17-1-1, 4 KOs), the referee will be Andre Van Grootenbruel. The judges for the Konekny-Larbi fight are Paul Thomas, Manuel Oliver Palomo and Zoltan Enyedi. WBO supervisor for this bout will be Istvan Kovacs.

For the Hammer’s (11-0, 7 KOs) third defense of the WBO Female Middleweight title against Tshabalala (4-1-1, 1 KOs), the referee will be Paul Thomas. The judges are Zoltan Enyedi, Andre Van Grootenbruel and Manuel Oliver Palomo. WBO supervisor will be Istvan Kovacs.

Here is a photo gallery of the public workout in Brno, Czech Republic, where locals hope Lukas Konecny will be their first professional world champion when he takes on Salim Larbi for the vacant WBO interim light middleweight world championship.

In the co-feature, WBO female middleweight world champion Christina Hammer takes on Queen Tshabalala.


Photos: Team SES

It’s official. Talented middleweight Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (26-0, 17 KO) will place his undefeated record at stake against another unblemished boxer, Ukrainian Max “Tiger” Bursak (24-0-1, 10 KO), on May 4th. The two fighters will battle for the WBO’s interim-middleweight belt at the Palais des Sports Marcel Cerdan in Levallois-Perret. The fight was originally scheduled for April 20th in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea. The team behind full champion Dmitry Pirog were against the scheduling of this fight, but the World Boxing Organization still sanctioned the contest.


By Kamel Messani

According to promoter Kirill Pchelnikov, Nobuhiro Ishida (24-7-2, 9KOs) is a candidate to face WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15KOs) on May 1 in Moscow, Russia. There were rumors of an offer being made to Marco Antonio Rubio, but Rubio is ranked at number 12, while Ishida is ranked at number 9 in the WBO’s top ten. Pirog was close to a deal to face Darren Barker, how suffered an injury and was forced to withdraw. Team Pirog is waiting for the WBO to sanction the fight.

“In preparation for this fight, we negotiated with many of top middleweights boxers, among [Sergio] Martinez, Geale, Sturm, Murray, Bursak, Barker, Zbik, N’Jikam. All of the boxers were offered a substantial fee for coming to Russia. They were offered hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, as was the case with Martinez. Some of boxers have just ignored us [like Felix Sturm], others made their own plans in May, and someone got injured in the negotiations process [Barker]. In the end, it was only with Ishida that we could reach an agreement for May 1. As for Rubio, we are very interesting and we can not exclude meeting with him at a later date, but in order to stage a title defense we have to choose an opponent from the WBO’s top ten. At the moment, Rubio is ranked at twelve and Nobuhiro Ishida at nine,” Pchelnikov said.

If Pirog wins in May, then a possible unification with IBF champion Daniel Geale is being discussed for August, and HBO is interested in televising.

“The other day I received a letter from our American partners, in which I was told
that the channel HBO is interested in this fight. Right now, Pirog must successfully make a defense, and I hope that the WBO will sanction the fight and everything will be all right, and we believe that after the unification bout will take place at last…..most likely in Las Vegas,” Pchelnikov said.


By Ruslan Chikov


Kyril Pchelnikov, co-promoter for WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15KOs), says the boxer is fully focused on a May 1st defense in Russia. The opponent has not been secured, but Pchelnikov is looking for someone in the WBO’s top ten. If everything goes as planned, then the focus will shift to finalize a deal for an August unification clash with IBF champion Daniel Geale (27-1, 15KOs) of Australia, which may be televised by American cable network HBO.

“Our main task right now – is [for Pirog] to defend his title in May against a fighter in the WBO’s top ten, whose name we will issue at a later date,” said Pchelnikov.” Next, we plan to stage a unification bout with the IBF world champion Daniel Geale on HBO. Negotiations [for a fight with Geale] have been taking place for some time.”


By Ruslan Chikov

Undefeated WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15KOs) of Russia will return to the ring on May 1 in Moscow, according to his promoters. Pirog last fought on September 25 in Krasnodar, when he stopped mandatory challenger Gennady Martirosyan within ten rounds. Pirog’s handlers plan to match him with a highly ranked contender in the WBO’s top ten.

One possible opponent being mentioned by Pirog’s handlers is undefeated contender Max Bursak (24-0, 10KOs).


By Alexey Sukachev


An unfortunate left shoulder injury will postpone a possible April defense for WBO middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15KOs). He was going to face former WBA-interim champion Hassan N’Dam N’jikam (26-0, 17KOs) of France on April 6th. The fight has now been placed on hold until further notice.

“I want this fight because it’s going to be very interesting. Unfortunately, it will not be held on April 6th. Just two days ago, I slipped and fell on the street right and hurt my left shoulder. Everyone knows about the current elements in Gelendzhik – hurricane, ice. An evaluation showed that my recovery will take about four weeks. I can not even run. If N’jikam is willing to wait four weeks, then we can sit down at the negotiating table. I would love to fight him and neither of us has a loss. If they want this fight, we are ready to sit at the table and negotiate. I will gladly give this fight to the Russian audience. This will be an uncompromising battle between two undefeated fighters,” Pirog said.


By Ruslan Chikov



The WBO world middleweight champion, Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15KOs) of Russia, has been trying to get a fight with WBA king Felix Sturm (36-2-2, 15KOs) of Germany. Pirog claims to have been chasing Sturm since 2010, when the Russian boxer shocked everyone by knocking out heavy favorite Daniel Jacobs in five rounds. In the opinion of Pirog, Sturm is more interested in making money and doesn’t care as much about furthering his craft as a boxer. The Russian champion was very disappointed with Sturm’s twelve round draw with the inexperienced Martin Murray from last Friday.

“We tried to negotiate with the Sturm immediately after my championship bout against Daniel Jacobs, but attempts to contact him have failed. It seems to me that Felix just runs from me. At the same time, constructive dialogue is possible with other top fighters in our division. Therefore, we agreed to a fight with the IBF titleholder Daniel Geale. Incidentally, the last performance of Sturm left me very unimpressed. In my opinion, the German is not progressing. It is likely, he became too interested in making money, and boxing, apparently, [has become a secondary] business to Sturm,” Pirog told FE.

WBO world middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog believes WBA champion Felix Sturm (36-2, 15KOs) will struggle when he finally meets hard hitter Gennady Golovkin (21-0, 18KOs). Sturm is the WBA’s “super champion” at 160-pounds, while Golovkin is the “regular champion” at 160. The WBA ordered Sturm to defend the title against Golovkin, the current mandatory challenger, but the sanctioning body has not forced the issue to make this fight happen.

Based on Sturm’s recent performances, a controversial split decision win over Matthew Macklin and a close twelve round draw with the far less experienced Martin Murray, Pirog feels the German boxer will have problems when he steps in the ring a heavy handed boxer like Golovkin.

“I think [Felix Sturm] has ceased to develop as a boxer. I’ve been able to form this opinion on the basis of his recent fights. If he is to meet Gennady Golovkin in the near future, I think that it’s going to be difficult for him,” Pirog said.

In a recent interview, Sturm praised Pirog and called him “the most difficult” fighter to beat at 160-pounds. Sturm feels Golovkin is “very overrated.”


By Gregory Stangrit,

Somers Point middleweight Patrick Majewski suffered his first loss Saturday night.

Majewski (17-1, 11 KOs) endured a sixth-round TKO against Miguel Angel Torres (23-5, 20 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round bout at Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Conn.  reported on its web site that referee Arthur Mercante, Jr. stopped the bout at one minute, 13 seconds of the sixth after Torres sent Majewski to the canvas with a left and right hook.

Majewski, a native of Radom, Poland who moved to the Atlantic City area in 2003, entered the fight ranked No. 7 by the World Boxing Organization. He lost his NABO regional title to Torres, who also captured the vacant NABF crown.

Majewski, 31, was supposed to fight Dionisio Miranda (21-7-2, 18 KOs) Saturday night, but Mirando could not obtain a visa from his native Colombia and was forced to withdraw two weeks ago.

A dream fight between Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38KOs) and Sergio Martinez (48-2-2, 27KOs) is possible – if Martinez agrees to a same-day weigh-in, according to Top Rank’s CEO Bob Arum, who promotes the Filipino superstar. Martinez is willing to drop down to a catch-weight of 150-pounds to face Pacquiao, the WBO’s champion at 147-pounds.

Arum’s concern with Martinez making 150, with 24 hours to rehydrate, is the possibility of the Argentine boxer coming to the ring at 175-pounds on the night of the fight. To prevent that, Arum would like to have both boxers make weight on a Saturday afternoon, a few hours before the fight.

“Here is the problem with Martinez. Let me tell you the problem with Martinez. Martinez says ‘I’ll fight him at 150,’ but that’s bullsh**. That means he’ll dehydrate until the afternoon of the weigh-in and come to the ring at 175, which he’s done before. What I say is, if you really want to fight Manny Pacquiao – I have a simple way to do it. You said 150, you will fight at 150, then let’s go to a commission, and not necessarily this [Las Vegas] commission….maybe New York, maybe Texas, wherever. And say ‘both fighters want to do the fight and they want to go back to the old days and we’ll weigh in on the day of the fight, at 150. If he wants to do that, we can start talking,” Arum said.

After last year’s fight with Antonio Margarito, at 150, Arum says Pacquiao and his team made a decision to avoid taking fights above the welterweight limit. Pacquiao, who tried to bulk up for Margarito, started dropping weight a few days before the fight because the added bulk was making him sluggish in the gym. Pacquiao weighed in at 144-pounds. During the fight, Margarito’s size became a factor when he trapped Pacquiao against the ropes and hurt him badly to the body.

“He was hurting for a month after that fight. We realized that he can’t continue to fight all of these bigger guys,” Arum said.

By Ryan Maquiñana

A Polish invasion has overwhelmed New Jersey in recent times, with Tomasz Adamek packing in Newark’s Prudential Center, and Garden State residents Pawel Wolak and Mariusz Wach beginning to make waves on the world stage.

Unbeaten middleweight prospect Patrick Majewski (17-0, 11 KOs) hopes to join them soon enough.  Originally from Radom, Poland, the 31-year-old nicknamed “The Machine” has a no-frills, wear-you-down style about him that has endeared him to rabid red-and-white clad fight aficionados in the Northeast.

Now residing in Atlantic City, the current NABO 160-pound champ will be fighting for the NABF version of the crown against tough Colombian Jose Miguel Torres (22-5, 19 KOs) this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, on the undercard of Wach’s bout against Oliver McCall.

In probably one of the most candid interviews you’ll ever read, the former construction worker and physical education student tells BoxingScene about how his deep passion for the sport prompted his rise up the rankings despite a limited amateur career, what it’s like to have the Polish fanbase behind him, and the idea of a feeling so strong that no drug can compare to its magnitude.


“I came here in 2001 through a student exchange program with my five friends.  We started working here and saw it as a great opportunity.  We tried to extend our visas to stay in the United States.  We started in Salt Lake City, then two years in New York, then when I came down to New Jersey.”


“I used to do Greco-Roman wrestling for seven years all the way through high school, so I thought about trying boxing.  In 2003, I started boxing, and I met a former fighter named James McCray.  He asked me to fight in the Philadelphia Golden Gloves, and he said ‘Come on, you can do it.’

“So he talked me into it, and I won.  After that, it was all about boxing.  My amateur record was 12-2.  Then I moved to Atlantic City.  Bill Johnson has been my trainer now for six years.  My team turned me pro, and so far, so good.”


“I’ve had experience with making weight for sure.  It’s a combat sport, but it’s a totally different sport with boxing as far as using totally different power and strength.  It’s a similar sport but much different as well.

“It gave me good experience and good conditioning.  All my life, I loved to play sports, like wrestling volleyball, soccer, basketball.  I was studying in college for two years to be a physical education teacher, so I’ve always been active.”


“I love to train every day, but most important for me, is that when they raise your hand after winning the fight.  I work so hard to see this.  I do everything to enjoy that moment, that couple seconds after the fight when they raise your hand up, and you win.  The more you think of it, nothing else gives you that great feeling.

“I always tell the kids that no drugs can give you that feeling.  It’s so real, and it lasts for a couple weeks to me.  It’s really motivating.  Boxing as a sport is great.   I love to come to the gym, see everybody, having fun with everybody.

“Last time me and Chuck Mussachio had great sparring for eight rounds.  He said after, ‘Sorry for my language,’ and after we were just laughing.  It was good work.  It’s just a great environment.  You can see all sportsmen, and all good fighters are so respectful.  I just love to be around fighters and the coaches and to be around boxing clubs.”


“I had a chance to fight on the undercard of Tomasz Adamek in the Prudential Center two times.  They’re great and there’s so many of them.  What a great experience.  Even when I’m fighting I could hear the fans in the middle of the round cheering my name.  Ma-jew-ski!  Ma-jew-ski!  It was so loud I could hear it.  But I was focusing on my opponent.

“They also put our fights on Polish T.V., so it gives me extra motivation during the fight knowing all my family, all my friends back home see me.  It was compelling.  Polish fans are so great and so supportive.

“With this fight on November 5th with Mariusz Wach as the main event they’ve already sold like 5,000 tickets.  They’re working so hard to set a record over there.  It’s going to be a great evening.”


“It was supposed to be Dionisio Miranda.  He was the original opponent.  I think he got in trouble or something, so now I have a new opponent.  It’s throwing me off my rhythm a little bit because we were working hard on a gameplan to fight Dionisio, but no matter what, I’ve got to be ready for everything.  If I can knock him out, then I’ll go for it, but if I have to go war, then I have to be ready for that, put all my heart into the ring and into the fight.”


“[Bill] is like a grandfather to me.  Every day in the gym we’re having fun.  Back then, Leavander would see me and say, ‘Look at this guy.  He can punch!  He can punch!  He can fight!  He can fight!’  But back then, I was so green.  I was throwing wide punches, but I think Leavander was speaking about my heart.

“Back then I was a nobody, but Leavander would always find time to work with me and talk to me and telling me good things.  To be honest, I didn’t really know how good he was, and then one day I see him on HBO fighting, and I was like, ‘Wow.’

“After what happened to Leavander, everybody in the gym was sad.  It was—I don’t really know how to say—it was really hard for Bill.  That was his son, and he was right there with him.  Bill took a couple months off from the gym, but he knew Leavander wanted him to stay in the gym.  That’s why he came back to keep training me and training other fighters.

“We actually started talking often about Leavander, me and Bill, and I started thinking about whether I should talk about him to Bill.  But Leavander is all over our gym.  Wherever we go in A.C., there is always Leavander’s name.  Even the street’s name is Leavander Johnson Boulevard.  So we always talk about Leavander, as in who he was fighting, and what he was doing.  I think Leavander’s spirit lives on in the gym.”


“When I was an amateur, my team, they say, ‘You’re ready for pro.’  I wasn’t sure, but I said ‘O.K.’  I won my first couple fights, but I knew I had a long way to go in a short amount of time.  I started training and training, and I had small dreams.  One day I see ‘Mighty’ Mike Arnaoutis training in our gym in Atlantic City.  When he won the NABO title, I thought, ‘Wow, maybe I hope one day I can win that title one day.

“That’s so great.  That’s such a big thing.  So I kept training harder and harder, getting better and better, and the next thing I see, I’m 16-0 and my next fight is for the NABO title.  My dream was coming true, so I beat [Marcus] Upshaw, and I got it.  And as soon as I accomplished this dream, this bigger dream is coming up.  I see a small light at the end of the tunnel where I could maybe beat those top guys and get a shot at the title, and I’ll do anything to do it.”


“With Upshaw, I really had to close the distance.  I had to put the pressure on him.  People think I’m a pressure fighter.  Yeah, for this fight, I had to be because he was 6-foot-3 and he has a big reach on me.  So when I stayed outside, he was popping me from the distance.  I had to get close to him so he won’t be able to do it.  So all 10 rounds I would just pressured and pressured him.  Then the fifth round came, and I dropped him.  Sixth round, I dropped him, too.

“But as far as my boxing skills, I’m a pressure fighter but I try to do everything.  I can box.  The more you are able to do in the ring is better for you.  You can fight forward, but what if someone is pushing you?  You need to know how to fight backward, use your jab and move around, too.  So I work on many things. I work with my balance and my defense.

“I try to see the whole picture in the ring.   I study boxing.  It’s like a science.  For many people, boxing is just punching and whipping each other and getting hit, but boxing is much more than this.”


“I’m with Global Boxing Promotions right now.  Because of Mariusz Kolodziej, I got a shot at the NABO and now the NABF title.  You know, I was working construction when I first started fighting, but I was working too many hours that I couldn’t really focus on boxing.  I was getting burned out.

“Mariusz saw me at one of my fights and said he liked me and offered me a contract.  He said, ‘Just try it out with us, and if you don’t like it, you can leave anytime.’  I’m happy I did.  Without Mariusz, I don’t know if I’m still fighting.”


“Every top fighter is great.  Last night I was watching Sergio Martinez.  He’s so nice, relaxed, with accurate punching.  He’s moving, ice skating in the ring.  I like Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, [Manny] Pacquiao, [Floyd] Mayweather, [and] Andre’s Berto’s speed.  I look at them all.  How they could be so dynamic and relaxed, these champions and top fighters?  From each of them, you can pick up small things, and that’s good for any fighter.”


“Mentally, your head’s got to be straight for every fight.  I think I’m strong mentally, but I try to work on things.  Going to the fight, there is some stress like you’re afraid of something, so I try to control this and try to relax in the ring so I perform better.  Everything is mental.  My trainer says, ‘Don’t worry about the fans until after the fight.  You can celebrate after.  Now you have to focus on your opponent.’ “


“We always take it one fight at a time, so I do everything to be 100 percent ready for every fight.  Sometimes I see something one day in training, and I write it down so I can focus on it to get better in the next couple day.  Maybe it’s combinations.  Maybe I need better balance.  We see what is coming next.”


“Every fight from here on this level is going to get tougher and tougher.  There is not many opponents to choose right now.  If I fight for the NABF title, I would be ranking in the top 15 in the world.  I see all these big names up there around my name, it’s motivating me so much and I better step up and be ready for those fights.

“I was never thinking I’d be a pro fighter.  Now here I am, and I must do my best or not try at all.  You can get hurt in boxing when you’re not ready for the fight, so I must work as hard as I can.”


“My entire family is back there in Poland.  I have a couple friends in the United States, but that’s it.  I don’t have a wife and kids.  I’m married to boxing right now.”


“Keep following me and watching my fights.  I’ll keep giving exciting fights.  We fight for the fans.  If not for the fans, who else are we fighting fight for?  I’m working hard for the fans so they can see a great show on the 5th.”