By Przemek Garczarczyk
“I’m ready to fight Afolabi. We did everything what we wanted during our nine week training camp, but I know that I have to be at my best ever because this is my first 12-rounder. I will be A BEAST in Madison Square Garden,” said Łukasz Janik (25-1, 14 KOs), who will challenge top-rated Ola Afolabi (19-3, 9 KOs) for the vacant IBO cruiserweight belt on November 2 from the famed Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The event, headlined by WBA/IBO middleweight world champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) against Curtis “Showtime” Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) can be seen live on HBO.
“We know, what to do against Afolabi. It has to be a fast, high tempo fight from the opening bell,” said Janik in a Fightnews.com interview. “When you watch the last Afolabi fight, against Marco Huck, you can see that he was tired after just four rounds – and the tempo of this fight was not a overwhelming one. My tactics – no single punches, combinations. It will be about pressing Afolabi, but not the chaotic ‘gung ho’ approach: I will make him miss and then hit him with hard, straight punches. I want Afolabi to get tired first and then just finish him off. No way he worked harder than me getting ready. Ola is a very slippery fighter – it’s hard to hit his head, he moves well.”
When asked if he feels like a big underdog against Afolabi, Janik was not too happy about this description. “Maybe for you reporters. I see our chances very differently, although I will have nothing against him taking me lightly,” answered the man, whose nickname is ‘Lucky Look.’ “I lost only one fight, against Mateusz Masternak, but I learned a lot from this defeat. Especially about the mental part of preparations. I had too many private problems, my head was not in the fight.
“I had good, tough sparring partners, like Paweł Kołodziej (#1 IBF ranked cruiserweight), who is also a hard guy to hit cleanly. I will be a beast in Madison Square Garden, my first fight in this famous arena. And of course I’m counting on the support of my Polish countrymen in NYC,” concluded Janik who arrives in New York City six days before the Afolabi fight.
Janik’s trainer Fiodor Łapin, who also works as WBC cruiserweight champion Krzysztof “Diablo” Włodarczyk’s head trainer, acknowledges that his fighter is not the favorite, but knows that Janik will be ready for the Afolabi challenge. “We all know that Ola is a very smart fighter, wants you to get into his traps, so defense discipline will be the key for Łukasz. He will be very busy against Ola, there’s will be a lot of hard punches. And Janik can punch.”