Nobody in the right mind will compare just 22-year-old southpaw Artur Szpilka (7-0, 5 KO) to former Polish heavyweight contender Andrzej Gołota (41-8, 33 KO) and today’s boxing powerhouse Tomasz Adamek (44-1, 28 KO), but there’s no question that the popular fighter whose name means “The Needle” has an extraordinary talent. When he was an 18-year-old cruiserweight, his skills were recognized in the U.S. by legendary trainer Lou Duva, but nobody knew what kind of fighter would emerge after an 18-month prison sentence for soccer related, unfortunately not boxing sanctioned, fight.
“There was nothing more to do there for eighteen months other than lift weights and play chess. I did both all day,” said Szpilka, who weighed a healthy 222 pounds, when just two months after his prison release, in his first heavyweight bout, he destroyed previously unbeaten Ramiz Hadziaganovic (8-1, 7 KOs) in just 33 seconds.
Before his second fight, Szpilka decided to introduce his heavyweight talent in the U.S., preparing himself by knocking out longtime Monte Barrett sparring partner Derrell Dixon (12-5, 8 KOs) during training with lightning fast left hook.
“I like everything what I saw, except that Szpilka hurt my sparring partner,” said longtime heavyweight contender Monte Barrett, who was watching “The Needle” from the ringside in Global Boxing Gym in North Bergen (New Jersey). “He has a very powerful punch in both hands and seems like he’s got the desire to work. I’m looking forward to see what he does in the future.”
“Needle fights and moves like 220-pound Vic Darchinyan,” added another world class fighter, number one WBC ranked cruiserweight, Francisco Palacios.
Week later, fighting on the undercard of another Polish fighter making waves, Mariusz Wach (25-0, 13 KOs), who knocked out Kevin McBride in the fourth round of their respected fight in Mohegan Sun Casino event, “The Needle” was even faster. First a left hook put David Williams (6-5, 2 KO) on the canvas after just 80 seconds, second left hook ended the fight before two minute mark. “I want to fight; I want to show people that heavyweights can be exciting in the ring the same way Roy Jones Junior was as light heavyweight,” said Szpilka.