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Ranking the best Polish fighters

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  • Ranking the best Polish fighters

    So the turn has come to them. Poland has produced some really outstanding fighters. They have had some good amateur fighters back in the days of communism, before they could fight as pros. Dariusz Michalczewski was the first Polish professional world boxing champion, reigning as WBO light heavy champion from 1994 to 2003, which is one of the longest title reigns in history and with 23 defenses he is second in history. Then there was the heavyweight Andrzej Golota, talented but destined to be unfulfilled as a pro. In the 21st century, the best Polish fighter has been Tomasz Adamek, the light heavy and cruiser world champion. And now, there are a few other good fighters such as Andrzej Fonfara. Let's go. For your education, I will be writing the pronounciations of their names in the parantesis.

    1. Dariusz Michalczewski (Dariush Mee-hal-chevskee)
    The most obvious choice as the best Polish boxer ever is Tiger Dariusz. Born in Gdansk 5 May 1968, Dariusz was the 1986 middleweight amateur world junior championships semifinalist, beating Fabrice Tiozzo but losing to Ray Close. He moved to Germany later and in 1990 won their national championship at light heavyweight. He was also the amateur European champion in 1991 at this weight. He embarked on a pro career later that year and on 10 September 1994 he won the WBO title from Leeonzer Barber, by way of UD. As mentioned, he made 23 defenses and his most notable opponents were Virgil Hill, whom he beat by UD in 1997, Graciano Rocchigiani, whom he beat twice, first by DQ7 and then by RTD9, Nicky Piper, by RTD7, Montell Griffin, whom he stopped by TKO4, Drake Thadzi (TKO9) and Richard Hall, whom he stopped twice, by TKO10 and TKO11 respectively. He never fought Roy Jones jr because neither was willing to come to the other one's country to fight. DM finally lost his title surprisingly to Julio Cesar Gonzalez on 18 October 2003, by way of split decision. He retired but came back for one more fight in 2005, which he convincingly lost to Fabrice Tiozzo by TKO6. His record is 48 wins with 38 ko's and 2 losses. He was known for his iron chin, great left hook and durability, as well as good boxing skills. He became a successful businessman in retirement.

    2. Tomasz Adamek (Tomash Adamek)
    The second Polish world champion in the pros, Adamek was a pure blood and guts fighter, much like his countryman above, but also had good skills. At 175 and 200, he was also known for his power. Known as "Goral (Highlander)", he was born 1 December 1976 in Zywiec, southern Poland, which is the only mountainous part of the country. He won the lhw bronze medal at the 1998 European amateur championship in Minsk. He turned pro in 1999 and won his first 10 fights by TKO. It wasn't until October 2003 that he fought for a real title, when he won the IBF Intercontinental light heavy title by KO2 against Ed Dalton. He also won the WBO version of this title by KO5 against Dzhebrail Dzhebrailov, before fighting for the vacant WBC one against Paul Briggs of Australia, 21 May 2005 in Chicago. It was a true war and a hard, close fight, but in the end Adamek prevailed by a majority decision to win his first world title. He made his first defense by knocking out Thomas Ulrich of Germany in 6 rounds, with a single straight right to the jaw. Ulrich was back then considered the best German light heavy. He fought Briggs again in his second defense and once again, after a hard and thrilling fight where Adamek was down once, he beat Briggs by way of majority decision. He lost the title in his third defense against Chad Dawson, 3 February 2007 in Kissimee, Florida. Adamek was slow to adjust to Dawson's tricky style and was down once in the seventh, although the replay showed he had tripped on Dawson's foot. He came back stronger in the later rounds and put Dawson down in round 10 but it was too late and he lost by a rather wide UD. He moved up to cruiserweight after that and after beating O'Neil Bell by TKO8 in an IBF-eliminator in April 2008, he fought the reigning IBF champion Steve Cunningham on 11 December and after knocking him down three times, he won by a split decision. He made two defenses, first stopping Johnathon Banks by TKO8 and then knocking out Bobby Gunn in 4, before vacating the title to move up to heavyweight. In his first fight there, he stopped the countryman Andrzej Golota by TKO5. He also decisioned Chris Arreola, Michael Grant and Kevin McBride, but proved to be simply too small against Vitali Klitschko, who stopped him in a WBC title fight 10 September 2011, by TKO10. In 2012, he fought Cunningham again at heavyweight and again won by SD12. He was largely unsuccessful after that however and he was stopped by Eric Molina in 2016 and in his last fight in 2018 by Jarrell Miller, knocked out in 2 rounds. He seems to be retired. His record is 53 wins with 31 ko's and 6 losses, 3 by ko. Adamek simply made the wrong decision when he moved to heavyweight, as he was too small and not hard-hitting enough against the heavyweights of this age.

    3. Andrzej Golota (And-zhey Goh-lohta)
    Though in terms of achievements, he falls behind someone like Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, this guy was simply a better fighter and more talented. The best examples of what he was capable of as a boxer were his two fights against Riddick Bowe. Not gonna waste too much time going in details about his career, as I've already written about him in detail. He was the 1988 Olympic bronze medallist and turned pro in 1992. He was unbeaten until losing by DQ7 against Bowe in July 1996, after being better for pretty much the whole fight but getting disqualified for throwing too many low blows. The same thing repeated in their rematch in December that year, when Golota was disqualified after 9 rounds. He was very strong, tall at 6'4 and had a very good jab and also pretty good punching power, but he could not control his mind and thus didn't get as far as he should have. His best achievements were stopping Danell Nicholson by TKO8 in 1996 and decisioning Tim Witherspoon in 1998. He lost his world title fight to Lennox Lewis in October 1997 due to having a panic attack before the fight and getting injected with the wrong medicine. In April 2004, he had a good showing in an IBF-title fight against Chris Byrd, which ended as a draw. Just as it seemed he was back in good form, he was stopped in less than a minute by Lamon Brewster, in a WBO-title fight in May 2005. Golota retired in 2008 but came back to fight Adamek, as mentioned above. He came back for the last time in 2013 and got knocked out in 6 by Przemyslaw Saleta, a guy who he'd have knocked out at his best. His record is 41 wins with 33 ko's, 9 losses and 1 draw.

    4. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (Krzhee-shtof Wlodar-chik)
    If we count out Adamek's rather short tenure in that division, then this guy is Poland's best cruiserweight. He won the world title twice, in 2006 and 2010. "Wlod" was always known for his power but was also a good all-around boxer and tough as well, only getting knocked out once in the twilight of his career. He was born in Warsaw on 19 September 1981 and lives in Jozefoslaw, a village in east-central Poland. As amateur, he compiled a record of 61 wins, 44 by ko, and 5 losses. He became a pro in 2000 and his first achievement was stopping then-undefeated Vincenzo Rossitto by TKO10 to win the vacant IBF Intercontinental title in 2001. On 26 April 2003, he suffered his first loss by technical decision against Pavel Melkomyan, after 4 rounds. He beat Alain Simon next year by TKO6 to capture the WBF title and in 2005 he won the European title by KO10 against Ruediger May. After decisioning Imamu Mayfield, he was finally given a world title fight in his 38th professional fight, against IBF champ Steve Cunningham, 25 November 2006 in Warsaw. It was a close fight and tough to score and in the end, Wlodarczyk won by an uneven split decision, thus becoming the first Polish cruiserweight world champion. He had a rematch with Cunningham on 26 May next year and lost the title after being down once and losing by majority decision. However, Cunningham clinched a lot and the decision was controversial. He tried to win the WBC title in 2009 against Giacobbe Fragomeni, but despite having Fragomeni down once, was denied the victory in a controversial draw in Rome, Fragomeni's Italy. He then stopped Fragomeni by TKO8 in the rematch in Lodz, Poland, on 15 May 2010 to win the WBC belt. This time, he remained the champion longer and made six successful defenses, most notably stopping Danny Green by TKO11 in 2011 and the hyped Rakhim Chakhiev by TKO8 in 2013. After 4 years, he finally lost his title against Grigory Drozd of Russia, 27 September 2014 in Moscow. Wlodarczyk was down once but lasted the distance, losing by wide scores. He took part in the World Boxing Super Series in 2017, but lost in the first round to Murat Gassiev, who knocked him out with a body shot in round 3. Since then, he has won 5 fights, but it is clear his best days are behind him and at the age of 38 he is bound to be done. His record is now an impressive 58 wins with 39 ko's, 4 losses and 1 draw.

    5. Andrzej Fonfara (And-zhey Fonfara)
    So far the last truly good Polish fighter. Known as "Polski Ksiaze (Polish Prince)", Fonfara is a tall light heavy who first started as a middleweight. He was born 4 November 1987 in Radom and as amateur he participated at the 2004 European Cadet championships and the 2005 European Junior championships. The 6'2 Fonfara turned pro in 2006 and lost one early fight by UD5 to Eberto Medina. He was also stopped by TKO2 against Derrick Findley in 2008, but then started winning. In 2010, he won the WBC Youth light heavy title by TKO4 against Roger Cantrell. Next year, he won the WBO NABO title by KO6 against Anthony Russell. In 2012, he first stopped the faded former champion and contender Byron Mitchell by TKO3 and then beat Glen Johnson by UD12. He also won the IBO title later that year by stopping Tommy Karpency by TKO7. Next year, he first stopped Gabriel Campillo, in what was until then his probably best victory, by TKO9. On 24 May 2014, he was matched against the WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in an unforgettable fight at Bell Centre in Montreal; Stevenson started best and sent Fonfara down in the first round and again to one knee in round five and hurt him in round six, but the brave Fonfara came back and hurt Stevenson in round nine and dropped him with a right hand. The rest of the fight was a toe-to-toe battle, but Stevenson was too far ahead on points and won comfortably in the end 116-109 and 115-110 twice. Next year, Fonfara had another major success as he stopped Julio Cesar Chavez by RTD9 after another toe-to-toe fight where he had the upper hand most of the time and put Chavez down in the ninth. With that, he won the WBC International title and defended it by beating Nathan Cleverly by UD. In 2016 however, he experienced a devastating TKO1-loss to Joe Smith jr after being down twice and stopped at 2:32. He came back next March to stop Chad Dawson by TKO10 and then in June again fought Stevenson for the WBC belt, but this time got stopped by TKO2 after being down in the first round. His last fight was on 16 June 2018 and he stopped Ismayl Sillah by TKO6 in Warsaw. He is currently inactive and his record is 30 wins with 18 ko's and 5 losses, 3 by ko. Despite never winning a true world title, he has defeated 6 world champions, all except Glen Johnson and Nathan Cleverly by stoppage.

    6. Krzysztof Glowacki (Krzhee-shtof Glo-watzki)
    Another fine Polish cruiserweight who captured the WBO title from Marco Huck and thus ended his 5-year reign in 2014. He was born 31 July 1986 in Walcz and participated in the 2005 European Junior championships and won the Polish 2007 amateur championships silver medal at heavyweight. In 2008, he attempted to qualify for the Olympics, but was knocked out by David Price in 2 rounds. He became a pro in October that year. In 2012, he won the vacant WBO Inter-continental title by TKO6 against Felipe Romero and defended it by KO11 against Matty Askin. Glowacki stands at 6 feet and has a reach of 75 inches and is known for his power and toughness. After defending this title three times, he faced Marco Huck, who was making his 14th defense as the WBO-champion, 14 August 2015 in Prudential Center in Newark. Huck put him down in round 6, but Glowacki came back to break Huck down with body shots and then knocked Huck down twice in the 11th before the referee jumped in. He thus became the third Polish cruiserweight champion. He made his first defense on 16 April 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, against two-time world champion Steve Cunningham and put Cunningham down three times, but the tough and rugged Cunningham survived till the final bell. Of course, Glowacki won by UD. He made his second defense against Oleksandr Usyk on 17 September, in Gdansk. This time, he was simply worn down by Usyk's constant attack and had no answer for his boxing skills, but lasted till the final bell, losing by a clear decision. He managed to win a few rounds and kept throwing punches to the end. He came back next year by stopping the 29-0 Hizni Altunkaya by RTD5 and then, 10 November 2018, he won the interim WBO title by UD against the solid Russian Maksim Vlasov. He faced Mairis Briedis of Latvia in Riga, 15 June last year, but the fighr was stopped early in round 3, despite Glowacki being fouled and not ready to quit yet. Briedis was also deducted a point for elbowing in the previous round and it was just a weird fight. He is still registered as active and has a record of 31 wins with 19 ko's and 2 losses.

    7. Rafal Jackiewicz (Raa-fal Yatz-kee-eh-weech)
    A very solid welterweight in his best years, however, in the last 5 years his career has been disappointing and he has experienced 7 straight losses at one point. Born 17 February 1977 in Minsk Mazowiecki in eastern Poland, Jackiewicz turned pro in 2001 and experienced a few losses early on, most notably against Michael Jennings on points in 2004. He won the vacant IBC welter title in 2006 by UD12 against Joel Mayo. A good technician with some power and a tough guy, Jackiewicz won the European title in 2008 with a UD12 over Jackson Osei Bonsu and defended it against the 25-0 Jan Zaveck (who later won the IBF title) by SD12 in Katowice, Poland. In November 2009, he scored his perhaps biggest victory when he beat Delvin Rodriguez in an IBF title eliminator by UD12. He then again fought Zaveck for the IBF title, but this time lost by a close majority decision in Ljubljana, Zaveck's homeland Slovenia. In October 2011, he was stopped by Kell Brook by TKO6 in a fight for the WBA Intercontinental title. He once again captured the European title in May 2012, by stopping Luciano Abis by TKO7. He was however knocked out in 11 by Leonard Bundu in his first defense in April 2013. He once again fought for the same title in November 2014 against Gianluca Branco, but after knocking Branco down in rounds 3 and 4, he was himself down in round 6 and then retired in his corner. He fought as a super welter and middleweight after that, but without success. He currently has a record of 51 wins with 22 ko's, 26 losses (4 by ko) and 2 draws.

    8. Pawel Wolak
    A guy mostly known for the toughness and bravery he displayed in the first fight against Delvin Rodriguez, Wolak was a solid light middleweight who only lost twice in his career and won 29 fights, 19 by ko. Standing only 5'8 but known for his ferocity, Wolak was known as "Raging Bull" as a fighter. He was born 26 September 1981 in Debica, southeastern Poland. He lives in Mount Arlington, New Jersey and twice fought in the New York Golden Gloves finals, in 2001 and 2002. He has around 50 amateur fights. He started his pro career in 2004 and won 13 fights before winning the New York State middleweight title by TKO2 against Keith Sims, 23 March 2007. On 14 September that year, he also won the IBC light middle title by TKO4 against Dan Wallace. He also beat the former William Joppy-challenger Jonathan Reid by TKO4. On 17 May 2008, he won the interim WBC United States lmw title by UD10 against Troy Browning. His first big fight was against Ishe Smith, 1 August '08 in Brooklyn. Wolak was the aggressor but Smith landed the cleaner shots and won by the scores of 97-93 and 96-94 twice. Wolak scored a few solid wins, such as stopping Carlos Nascimento, who before fought Serhiy Dzinziruk for the WBO title, by corner retirement in 5. On 12 March 2011, he fought Yuri Foreman, who had briefly held the WBA title. Wolak was dominant and after 6 rounds Foreman retired, having lost every round on all scorecards. He then had his first fight against Delvin Rodriguez, the tough Dominican contender, 15 July that year in New York. Wolak developed a massive hematoma on his right temple in round 4, that made the one Rahman suffered against Holyfield look small, but he fought on and in the end the fight was a majority draw, only one judge scoring it for Rodriguez. It was named the 2011 Boxing Writers Association of America FOTY. They had a rematch on 3 December at MSG and this time, Wolak lost by a clear unanimous decision to the taller and more experienced Rodriguez. He retired after that, aged 30.

  • #2
    --- You speak Polish, Boz?

    Beggers the Question-

    How many Poles does it take to erect a pole?


    • #3
      Originally posted by LondonRingRules View Post
      --- You speak Polish, Boz?

      Beggers the Question-

      How many Poles does it take to erect a pole?
      Don't exactly speak it but as it's a Slavic language, like my own, I can understand much of it and also know how their names are pronounced. Because we pronounce them the same way. I know that IS how they are pronounced, I checked.