By Sam Geraci
Photos: Tom Barnes/Tomba Images
On Tuesday at the Copernicus Center on Chicago’s Polish Northwest Side, 8 Count Productions, 3 Count Productions, Warriors Boxing and Ulrich Knockout Promotions held their final media conference to discuss “The Big Fight 2,” which will be featured on ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights on August 16 in Chicago and is headlined by an IBF eliminator between IBO light heavyweight champion Andrzej “The Polish Prince” Fonfara (23-2, 13 KOs) and former world champion Gabriel “El Chico Guapo” Campillo (22-5-1, 9 KOs).
Although the light heavyweight matchup between Chicago’s “Polish Prince” and Spain’s “El Chico Guapo” is certainly an intriguing and significant one that features a young, straightforward conventional fighter with a big right hand in Fonfara stepping up against a wily veteran with an elusive southpaw style in Campillo, the historical significance of the event overshadows the terrific headlining light heavyweight matchup as well as the exciting fighters featured on the undercard, which include undefeated Polish heavyweight Artur “The Pin” Szpilka, Chicago fan favorites “Merciless” Mike Mollo and Junior Wright as well as Chicago’s next potential star Adrian “El Tigre” Granados.
The historical significance of “The Big Fight 2” is that it’s going to be held at U.S. Cellular Field (Home of the Chicago White Sox), which makes it the first outdoor boxing event held in Chicago since the “The Big Fight” between heavyweight legends Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson on September 25, 1962, at Comiskey Park, the former home of the Chicago White Sox.
“My father was here in 1962 and told me about it growing up. Now, everyone in Chicago is going to be able to tell their children that they were there the night boxing came back to Chicago’s ballparks. This is history,” said Frank Mugnolo of 3 Count Productions.
The event’s other promoters reiterated the theme of history.
“A lot of the greats will be watching—down here and upstairs,” said Luis De Cubas.
Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing added that this “is the most exciting venue he has ever been a part of” and Dominic Pesoli of 8 Count Productions expressed that he expects “eight to ten thousand fans to be in attendance because of the family-friendly ticket prices.”
Although each of the event’s promoters and fighters touched upon the significance of the night, legendary talent scout Sampson Lewkowicz stole the show with his entertaining and heartwarming comments about his Polish name.
“I am torn today. If you look at my name, you will see that it is Polish. That is because my father was proud of his Polish heritage and refused to change it when he immigrated to South America after World War II. That being said, despite my love of the Polish people, I am representing the Spaniard who is going to beat my Polish brother. (The crowd laughs and boos) I told you I was torn,” said Lewkowicz with a smile.
Whether Campillo can go on the road to redeem himself against Fonfara after being destroyed by Sergei Kovalev within three rounds and whether Fonfara can establish himself as a top contender at light heavyweight are questions that scratch the surface of Friday’s historic event. Other questions include: Can Szpilka and Mollo’s rematch live up to the bloody expectations? Is Granados finally prepared to win decisively on the big stage in his matchup with the undefeated Mark Salser? Is Junior Wright or Nick Kisner going to become a legitimate prospect after their cruiserweight bout? And, most importantly, will Chicago fight fans fill U.S. Cellular so that Frank Mugnolo can achieve his goal of “making U.S. Cellular fights a yearly happening?”