Image Credit: KSW
As Poland continues it’s post COVID-19 defrost, another promoter was up to bat this past weekend and a number of others are announcing their plans for the remaining weeks of the summer. Follow through for the latest results, bookings and gossip from the Polish MMA scene.
KSW Back in Gear
Konfrontacja Sztuk Walk (KSW) held their first pandemic-era show on 11th of June. The promotion’s lightweight and featherweight champion Mateusz Gamrot (16-0) made a triumphant return to the white cage at the top of the card. The only double champ in KSW’s history closed out his trilogy with Norman Parke (28-7-1, 1 NC) by dominating the Northern Irishman in the stand-up without having to resort to his vaunted wrestling.
The contest was initially planned as a unifying bout between the champion Gamrot and the interim champion Parke. It morphed into a 5-round non-title bout when Parke missed weight. This was the 4th time in 7 KSW fights that Parke couldn’t make the contracted weight. Parke was stripped of his interim title before the fight and had to pay the contractual penalty but the fight did go ahead in the end.
With a win under his belt and Parke firmly in his hindsight, Gamrot has now one fight remaining until he explores free agency. The champion has indicated that he would like that bout to take place as quickly as possible so it’s likely he will be looking for a quick return.
It seems that a potential super-fight with undefeated featherweight phenom and interim champion Salahdine Parnasse (14-0-1) is out of the question. This match-up was floated for Gamrot’s return but Parnasse wanted to fight at featherweight while Gamrot wasn’t keen on cutting that weight again and suggested a 150 lbs. catchweight.
The current front-runner to be Gamrot’s next opponent seems to be Shamil Musaev (14-0). The Russian picked up two impressive wins by stoppage in KSW in 2019. Both fighters have indicated in separate interviews their interest in such a fight.
KSW now is looking forward to it’s August event, the date and venue of which have not yet been announced. It’s likely that their new signing Izu Ugonoh (18-2 pro boxing, decorated amateur kickboxer) will debut there. MMA.pl reports a lightweight clash between top contender Marian Ziółkowski (21-7-1) and surging prospect Maciej Kazieczko (6-1) at this event.
KSW has also poached heavyweight veteran Michał Kita (19-11-1) from Fight Exclusive Night (FEN). Kita, who has fought for KSW between 2015 and 2017, is coming off a win over Igor Pokrajac.
One fight that will not take place in the summer is the awaited clash between 2008 Olympic Gold Medallist weightlifter, Szymon Kołecki (8-1), and fighter turned commentator and all-round celebrity Łukasz Jurkowski (17-11).
Jurkowski asked to postpone the fight after concluding that he doesn’t have enough time to get into fighting shape. This raised the ire of Kołecki who will sit out the summer now. Kołecki’s showdown with Jurkowski is tentatively scheduled for one of the autumn events.
Babilon hosts Boxers vs. Fighters
Tomasz Babiloński, promoter of both boxing and MMA events under the “Babilon” name, promoted his third event since the pandemic started in Poland. The boxing card featured two Babilon MMA fighters in boxing bouts.
Adrian Błeszyński (MMA 9-3-1), a brawler and recent title contender in Babilon’s MMA arm, was smashed by Łukasz Stanoch (Boxing 3-0) within two rounds. Babilon and FEN featherweight champion Daniel Rutkowski (MMA 10-2) fared much better against Przemysław Runowski (Boxing 18-1). All three judges gave the win to the boxer but by the smallest of margins: 58-57.
For Rutkowski, known for his wrestling, this was a considerable feat and he has earned praise from MMA and boxing spectators. After putting in 10 weeks of work into strictly boxing, he was delighted by his showing. Rutkowski is focused on a rematch with Adrian Zieliński (19-9) in November but he said he is open to taking boxing fights in the future.
FEN sets sail for Ostróda
Fight Exclusive Night (FEN) is in the process of unveiling their fight card for the event in Ostróda on August 22nd. It is the second time the promotion will visit the open-air venue in Ostróda’s lakeside amphitheatre.
The main event is a light heavyweight title fight between Adam Kowalski (12-5-1) and Marcin Łazarz (12-7). Łazarz is filling in for the injured Marcin Wójcik (13-7), who won the right to fight for the title in June. The co-main event pits Adrian Zieliński (19-9) against UFC veteran Danilo Belluardo (12-5) at lightweight. For Zieliński, this is a return to lightweight after dropping down to featherweight in 2019.
Other announced fights include Marcin Naruszczka (19-9-2) taking on Serbia’s Marko Radakovic (10-3), Kamil Łebkowski (18-9) squares off with Kacper Formela (9-4) at lightweight, Kamil Minda (4-1) will duke it out with Grzegorz Ciepliński (8-7) at heavyweight. At middleweight Krystian Bielski (5-2) is set to take on Seweryn Kirschhiebel (2-3) and FEN-camp graduate Piotr Golon (1-0) debuts vis-a-vis Kamil Kraska (4-1).
ACA makes plans for Polish return
The Chechenya-based Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) promotion is also eyeing a return to the Land of Lech. ACA was already planning a springtime show in Warsaw but the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to put those plans on hold. The promotion announced recently that an event will take place behind closed doors on Thursday, 20th of August.
A clash between Poland’s elite middleweights Piotr Strus (15-5-2) and Rafał Haratyk (12-3-2) tops the bill. Haratyk’s lone ACA fight was a TKO win over Arbi Aguev at 170 lbs. The 186-cm fighter out of Berserker’s Team Bielsko-Biała is a career middleweight and will look to stake his claim as Poland’s best fighter in the weight-class.
Strus has been an ACA staple since he abruptly came out of retirement in 2017. The reinvigorated 31-year old has 6 wins in the Russian promotion. He also fought for the ACA title in 2018, that time coming up short against Albert Duraev.
Other fights announced for the card are a trilogy bout between UK’s Luke Barnatt (15-8) and Poland’s Karol Celiński (17-9), an international tilt between Croatia’s Goran Reljic (19-8) and Bulgaria’s Nikola Dipchikov (18-7), a debut of promising prospect Kamil Oniszczuk (7-0) versus renowned Polish-hunter Mindaugas Verzbickas (14-7) of Lithuania and a fight between Łukasz Kopera (9-3) and Romania’s Aurel Pirtea (20-11).
Heavyweight Daniel Omielańczuk (23-9-1) is also expected to compete. The 37-year old was promised a title fight after three straight wins. Baysangur Edelbiev, ACA’s Polish representative, however states that the reigning champion, Mukhamad Vakhaev (8-4-1), won’t be able to make the trip to Poland.
Former KSW champion Marcin Różalski (7-4) was also being contacted for a fight on this card. According to Edelbiev and Różalski’s manager, Artur Ostaszewski, they were looking for s 5 oz. gloveed kickboxing fight. UK’s Marc Godbeer (13-5) posted on social media that once contacted by ACA about fighting Różalski they later tried to incentivize him to keep it standing against the decorated kickboxer.
Różalski hasn’t fought under MMA rules since capturing the KSW title in 2017.
RWC heads to Poland’s Country Capital
MMA Cartel’s home promotion – Rocky Warriors Cartel (RWC) – will also be making a trip to Poland’s lake district this summer. RWC 5, subtitled “No Forgiveness”, will take place in Mrągowo on 31st of July. Heavyweights Michał Andryszak (20-8) and Romania’s Ion Grigore (7-1) are the main attraction.
Andryszak, who recently healed up from a list of nagging injuries, is known for his extremely short fights. In 28 pro bouts he has only gone into the second round three times. He is looking to rebound after a disappointing defeat in KSW. Andryszak lost a title fight to Phil De Fries and then took a second “L” against Luis Henrique. It is the first time since 2014 that the Ankos MMA fighter is on a losing streak.
Other announced fights are: welterweight clash between Igor Michaliszyn (6-2) and Piotr Danelski (5-2), Krzysztof Wiśniewski (1-0) against Tomasz Ponder (0-0) and Mateusz Żukowski (1-0) against Bartosz Salwa (0-1).
Cezary Oleksiejczuk (4-2), the talented younger brother of UFC’s Michał, is also scheduled to compete. So will Ankos MMA’s Piotr Kuberski (6-1) and Silesian Cage Club’s Adam Niedźwiedź (6-3).
It is undetermined whether any fighter nicknamed “Cowboy” will appear at an event hosted by a city known statewide for its Country Music Festival.
Wieczór Walk crowns amateur champs in Kraków
The only event of the past fortnight was Wieczór Walk (Eng. Fight Night) from Kraków on Saturday the 25th. By-and-large an amateur affair, Robert Ruchała (3-0) picked up a win in the only professional fight submitting Paweł Szumlas (1-1) in round 2.
It was a notable event because of close cooperation between Wieczór Walk’s promoter Kamil Zawarski and the IMMAF-affiliated MMA Polska organization. With the first three amateur champions crowned on the night (Maciej Rębacz at featherweight, Michał Musiał at bantamweight and Barbara Grabowska at women’s flyweight) it is likely that these fighters are the frontrunners for spots on Team Poland in the upcoming IMMAF events.