Alright, so these five boxers who fight for the Polish flag are sending shockwaves with their performances. Young heavyweight prospect Artur Szpilka, middleweight Grzegorz Proksa, cruiserweights Pawel Kolodziej and Mateusz Masternak, as well as light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara (8-0 win streak) are all earning important victories that are bringing them closer to big fights and contracts with major boxing TV networks.
Each guy is making a name for himself, and three of them—Proksa, Kolodziej, and Fonfara—are set to have their breakthrough fight this year. 2012 could be a spectacular year for Polish boxing (if all goes right), and for the first time, boxers not named Golota or Adamek may bring glory to fans waving the white-and-red national flag. The national emblem is the white eagle, and the five aforementioned fighters are beginning to soar like that white eagle, all the way to the top of the mountain…. Let's take a closer look at what each pugilist has to offer.
Artur Szpilka: This 22-year-old native of Wieliczka, Poland, is an undefeated southpaw (9-0, 7 KOs). Nicknamed "Szpila," he moved up from cruiserweight to heavyweight, and has fought five matches in the latter so far. His biggest victory came against Owen Beck last October. At age 19, he captured the Polish national amateur championship in the heavyweight division. Szpilka has a Golota-like past, as he served time in prison for 18 months for partaking in a melee near a disco which resulted in him stealing a cell phone and assaulting another person. Before this incident, Szpilka was a soccer hooligan on the streets of Kraków. His next fight is on March 24 in Atlantic City versus Terrance Marbra.
Grzegorz Proksa: Known as "Super G," the 27-year-old undefeated middleweight seems to have a super future ahead. By defeating Sebastian Sylvester in October, the England-based Proksa won the vacant EBU middleweight title. Since that splendid victory, Proksa’s name has become more and more recognizable around boxing circles. Talks of a possible match with Argentinian star Sergio Martinez began—and that certainly may materialize—but for now the European Champion is expected back in the ring late Spring.
Pawel Kolodziej: A 29-0, 17 (KOs) cruiserweight, Kolodziej is a former kick-boxer who is the current WBA International Champ. Previously, Kolodziej held the WBF cruiserweight belt. He’s scored victories over Parfait Amougui Amougou, John McClain, and Felix Cora Jr. There is big hype surrounding Kolodziej’s 30th pro bout—it’s supposed to be him facing a very notable opponent. Interestingly, fellow countryman Krzysztof Wlodarczyk is the WBC titlist, and there’s another Pole who is also a division foe—Mateusz Masternak—whom you’ll read about in the following paragraph. A Polish showdown of cruiserweights? The future might look something like that (promoters Krzysztof Zbarski and/or Tomasz Babilonski could easily make a tournament pitting these three cruisers against one another).
Mateusz Masternak: And so here he is, Masternak, also undefeated. The "Master" recently signed a promotional contract with top-flight German power-horse Sauerland, an outlet which is expected to draw big fights for him. At this point, Masternak needs them, as he’s already fought 24 pro matches against decent-level opposition at best. Striking a deal with Sauerland was a good move, because if he continued fighting in Poland, his career would not progress to a level that would match his talent and ability. Masternak seems to be a natural athlete with a notable amateur record of 61-9 (Bronze Medalist at the Junior European Championships). Masternak fights tomorrow night in Frankfurt against Michael Simms.
Andrzej Fonfara: Trained by Andrew Golota’s partner-in-crime Sam Colonna, Andrzej "Polish Prince" Fonfara may fight for a world light heavyweight title by the end of the year! That’s huge for only a 24-year-old with just two losses, and talk has already begun about the possibility of him moving up in weight sometime in the future considering how he’s been developing as a light heavyweight. "Polish Prince" is expected back on March 17 in his second home which has become the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. At 20-2, with 11 KOs, Fonfara is a fighter you must keep on your radar. He’s already been ducked by Nathan Cleverly and Tommy Karpency, but he may travel to Africa to face Braimah Kamoko in a WBO eliminator.
With Szpilka’s, Proksa’s, Kolodziej’s, Maternak’s, and Fonfara’s great potential, and with Golota and Adamek having already achieved so much, the question has to be asked...will Poland become a nation with a boxing-rich history such as the United Kingdom and Mexico? That may be wishful thinking, but the average boxing fan should realize that Poland has produced some good fighters and is not a stranger on the boxing map. Before Andy and Tom hit the scene, Poland’s biggest boxing successes have virtually come from amateur fighters, who combined captured an unprecedented 43 Olympic medals for the nation! Now, however, it may be time for professional boxing to kick into gear and bring glory to an Eastern European nation hungry for pugilistic successes. So fly high white eagles, and let Polish power prevail!
Which of these guys are you most interested in seeing?