While winning championships in kickboxing’s biggest promotion had become routine for fighters from Holland, Canada and other countries, fighters from Poland had yet to even step into a Glory ring.
That all changed in February of 2016 when Pawel Jedrzejczyk, one of Poland’s most decorated kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters, made his debut at Glory 27 in Chicago. There were big expectations for “Wergi” in a city with one of the biggest Polish populations abroad, as the then 35 year old welterweight faced American Richard Abraham on that night.
The Pole had a rough first two rounds, getting a standing eight count in the first. However, with Abraham slowing down in the third, Jedrzejczyk finished strong. Abraham went on to win the Glory welterweight qualifying tournament in Los Angeles and picked up another big win at Glory 34 in Denver, landing him in the co-main event this year in Chicago in a bout with Antoine Pinto. However, Jedrzejczyk’s future in Glory remained questionable.
He regrouped though, and was able to string together two big wins in one of Poland’s top fighting promotions, Makowski Fighting Championship. Now he has a second chance to perform on kickboxing’s biggest stage.
I caught up with Jedrzejczyk recently and had a few questions for him before his return to Chicago.
How does it feel to be fighting for Glory again?
After two hard fights I’m back. I know that GLORY is the place for me. I’m glad that the matchmakers believe in me. My fights are never boring and I’m proud that I’m fighting again in the champions’ league.
How important is a victory for you this time?
Victory is priceless for me. This time I’m going there not only to compete. Failure is not an option this time.
What do you think about the current welterweight division in Glory?
I think that it’s strong but when undefeated Nieky Holzken lost for the first time, the title is open. I can fight with everyone in this division. Abraham is number six now. He is very tough but he didn’t break me. No one ever has. Now I’m only thinking about my next fight.
Who are you training with for this fight? Are you doing anything different with your preparation?
Everything is different now. Last time I left my old gym and I was without a team. Now I have the new #TeamWergi with head coach Tatiel Zandukeli – boxing, Bartek Bibrowicz – physical preparation and Pawel Tracz – pad work. A lot of good people are helping me. I have good sparing partners and I was at Hemmers’ Gym twice in Breda with my mate Lukas Plawecki, who is also fighting in Chicago. I know that I’m an experienced fighter but now my trainings are different and better. My punches are much heavier now. I won twice with my new team. This time it will be the same.
What would you like to say to your opponent, Daniel Morales?
Nothing. I’m not the kind of fighter who talks too much before fights. It means nothing in the ring. It’s funny for me when someone speaks too much. I’ve fought in Thailand many times. We respect our opponents and they respect us, of course. He knows that he is a fighter. I know it too, so let’s fight. There’s nothing to talk about.
So, as you heard, Pawel Jedrzejczyk will be returning to the USA, but he won’t be coming alone.
With him will be madfight24.com’s “2016 Fighter of the Year” Lukasz Plawecki. 2016 was a breakout year for the 29 year old from the Halny Gym in Nowy Sacz, Poland, winning fights in some of kickboxing’s biggest promotions. Now he takes aim at Glory’s lightweight division and Denmark’s Niclas Larsen. I had also had a chance to get Lukasz thoughts before his American debut and here is what he had to say.
How important is this fight for you?
This is the biggest fight of my career so far. I’ve fought for Kunlun – the biggest Asian promotion, KOK – the biggest European promotion and MFC – the biggest Polish brand in kickboxing. Now it’s time for Glory – the best known worldwide kickboxing organization. This is the dream for all of us, you know? This is the best moment for a fight like this. At the end of 2016 I was in top shape. I’m a complete fighter now. I’m my thirties, so it’s time for Glory.
Who have you been training with in preparation for this fight? Is there anything special you have been doing to prepare this time?
I’m working with Martin Belak from Slovakia who is a very experienced coach. I can see the difference between a great coach for amateur fighters and one for pro fighting kickboxers. In Poland, as you know, we have many successful fighters without big fights on major organizations. In my opinion this is the reason. If you want to be the best in pro rings you have to give up amateur fighting, and I did.
Do you have any words for your opponent, Niclas Larsen?
Yes. I know that he is taller than me as always. I know that he used to fight in top king and Glory a few times, so he is more experienced. So I will watch a few fights just to look at his stance and distance, nothing more. I’ve been training for years and it’s impossible to change my style in a few months. I just need to know the day and the rest will be resolved in the ring.
And for those of you how have not seen the fight card for Glory 38: Chicago, it is STACKED from top to bottom.
The event goes down on February 24th 2017 from the Sears Center. You can check out the full card below.
Main event for the Glory Light Heavyweight Championship
– 95 kg: Artem Vakhitov (Russia) vs. Saulo Cavalari (Brazil)
-95 kg: Winner A vs. Winner B (Light Heavyweight Contender Tournament Finals)
-77 kg: Richard Abraham (USA) vs. Antoine Pinto (France)
Glory Light Heavyweight Contender Tournament Semi Final Fights
Danyo Illunga (Germany) vs. Ariel Machado (Brazil)
Zack Mwekassa (Congo) vs. Andrei Stoica (Romania)
Super Fight Series
+95 kg: Benjamin Adegbuyi (Romania) vs. Anderson Silva (Brazil)
+95 kg: Catalin Morosanu (Romania) vs. Maurice Greene (USA)
-77 kg: Murthel Groenhart (Holland) vs. Thongchai (Thailand)
-77 kg: Pawel Jedrzejczyk (Poland) vs. Daniel Morales (Mexico)
-70 kg: Lukasz Plawecki (Poland) vs. Niclas Larsen (Denmark)
Also, keep in mind that although FightBox does not show Glory Kickboxing live, you can see all of the most recent and past Glory events regularly on our channel. Make sure you check the schedule to see what we will be showing next.
Good luck to Pawel Jedrzejczyk who has been a guest twice on The FightBox Podcast on episodes 4 and 89 and also to Catalin Morosanu, who appeared on episode 82. And, of course, I’m also wishing a successful Glory debut to Lukasz Plawecki. Polish Power!