BOXING. KRZYSZTOF WLODARCZYK: “Win – or nothing!”
On Friday, December 6, at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, WBC Cruiserweight Champion Krzysztof “Diablo” Wlodarczyk (48-2-1, 34 KOs) of Warsaw, Poland will attempt to make the sixth defense of his title and complete an epic trilogy of fights with Milan, Italy’s former WBC Cruiserweight Champion Giacobbe “Gabibbo” Fragomeni (31-3-2, 12 KOs). The two will meet in the night’s 12-round main event. Heading into the trilogy with Giacobbe Fragomeni, polish warrior Krzysztof Wlodarczyk has one thing on his mind: win – or nothing.
The first two times you fought in the United States were in 2005. Once fight took place in Elk Grove, the other time in the city of Chicago. How does it feel to be back in the States right now, in 2013?
It is really nice and pleasant to come back and fight here again. I hope, more fans are going to come and support Andrzej (Fonfara) and me this time, then there were last time, I fought in the Windy city.
How long does this fight of yours in America was in the making?
It became clear, who was the opponent a few months ago. I was aiming to fight a different boxer, but those plans fell through. Fragomeni came out as a winner of the elimination fight and became my obligatory opponent.
How does it feel for you to fight Giacobbe Fragomeni for the third time? Are you seeking to prove anything or get revenge for the first draw?
I fought Fragomeni in Poland and scored a TKO win in the eighth round. I could have finished earlier, but wanted to go on a distance and box for a little longer. By now we know each other too well. It is quite hard to change things around in your training, it is hard to get motivated for this fight and prepare differently for a rival, who knows both your strong and weak sides of the game. I know my value, and what I can bring to the table. I have a character of a warrior. For the first time I fought him in Rome, Italy, and the bout finished in a draw. Even though I thought, I won. Fragomeni is not my dream opponent, but I have to fight him. I can not loose this fight. It doesn’t matter what is going to happen during the fight, I have to win.
Knowing each other too well, how differently do you prepare for this third fight?
We changed the technical part of boxing preparation. We invited four different sparring partners (with the same height as Giacobbe is) into my camp this time. They alternated every two rounds during sessions. I was trying to come up with the game plan during those sparrings. My coach was very happy, how the last week of preparation went in Poland. We flew in the United States on November 27th. It took a few days to overcome issues with the jet lag. But it seems, right now everything is good.
How long have you been training with your current head coach Fiodor Lapin?
We started working together somewhere in 2002 and have been together since then. I really appreciate him for all the human qualities he possesses. He trains a few other boxers besides me and knows the way to approach each and every one of us. We work well together, so there is no necessity to look for a different coach and switch things up. I am happy with the group I have been working for so many years.
Your nickname is “Diablo”. When do people start calling you like this?
This nickname has a very long history. I was very impatient as a kid, almost like a little devil. I liked to be involved in action and to keep attention on me. I did not listen to anyone and liked to do what I wanted to do. So one day I decided to turn all my enthusiasm to boxing. First I was an amateur, then turned pro. My promoter, Andrew Wasilewski, was the first one who started calling me “Diablo”.
You got two losses on your record. What have you learnt from them?
My first loss was in 2003 to armenian Pavel Melkomyan. We fought in Germany. I got robbed, because the bout was stopped in the fourth round due the cut suffered by opponent. The fight went to scorecards. I felt, I could win it and never felt that I lost it. I usually start slow and go forward and punch stronger in the later rounds. Second time I lost to american Steve Cunningham in Poland in 2007. I have no idea till this day what happened with me then. Don’t ask me, why I lost. I don’t know. Those losses, of course, made me a stronger fighter and made me stronger mentally as well. I became a boxer, who could finish the fight with one punch. I can be loosing all rounds, but then, bam, one punch – and I finish my opponent.
You hold multiple titles during your career. You are a WBC champion right now. Which one of the titles is the most important for you?
All of them are. But I put most of the hard work and dedication into becoming IBF and WBC champion. Past June I got a “W” over the Russian Rakhim Chakhkiyev. It was very important for me to retain the title and defeated him in Moscow.
Lastly, what is your goal in boxing? Why do you fight?
My ultimate goal is to make some money. To get to that level, where you can actually make some money. So I can live peacefully and don’t worry about the money and providing to my family. I would absolutely love to have three or four more kids and live happily ever after. Right now I have only a 10-year-old son Cezary. I would like as well to help others. To help those young men who want to get into boxing, who want to develop their boxing abilities and become great warriors. I don’t want to coach though. I don’t think I have enough patience for that.
But he has definitely enough patience to end the trilogy with Fragomeni this Friday. Don’t miss this blockbuster event entitled “World Championship Boxing: Wlodarczyk vs. Fragomeni III“.
On fight night, doors will open at 6:00 pm CT with the first bout scheduled for 7:00 pm. The UIC Pavilion is located at 525 S. Racine, at the corner of Harrison and Racine on the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Tickets for “World Championship Boxing: Wlodarczyk vs. Fragomeni 3″ are priced at VIP $201, VIP Ringside $151, Ringside $101, Box Mezzanine $76, Reserved Mezzanine $51, and General Admission $31 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (Ticketmaster.com, 1-800-745-3000), the 8 Count Productions Offices: 312-226-5800 or the UIC Pavilion Box Office: 312-413-5740.