Feature Story

Q&A: Promoter Mariusz Kołodziej

By Przemek Garczarczyk

Photo: Global Boxing Promotions

“I never treated boxing as a way of making money. And when you have a hobby, you know how much you can spend. You don’t buy a Lamborghini when all you can afford is Chevy” – said Mariusz Kołodziej, Global Boxing promotions owner and founder, before probably his most important event, a November 5 boxing gala in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“I want to test my undefeated fighter, WBC #9 ranked Mariusz Wach (25-0, 13 KO) against a real threat, hard hitting Oliver McCall. I’m nervous, I’m happy, the event is almost a sell-out, Wach, middleweight Przemek Majewski (17-0, 11 KO) and Polish amateur star Kamil Łaszczyk (4-0, 3 KO) and Poland’s new heavyweight star and knockout artist Artur Szpilka (8-0, 6 KO) fights will all have their bouts broadcast live on most prestigious Polish television Polsat Sport and Telefutura in the US. I hope it’s only a beginning.”

When you started as a boxing promoter in New Jersey, the number one question was: “I wonder when he will run of money?” No Polish-owned boxing promotional company ever succeeded in the US.

I knew about people questioned how much money I can lose, before I will fold the tent, but I never treated boxing as a way of making money. And when you have a hobby, you know how much you can spend. You don’t buy a Lamborghini when all you can afford is Chevy. I own very successful company, Hudson Bread, also own a bunch of other businesses, so making money is not a big deal for me. My biggest problem was with people, old-style promoters thinking the same way for the last 20+ years. Times have changed. You have to give people more for their hard earned dollar. And sometimes you don’t have to spend a dollar to immediately earn two. My idea is to put more money into events, make them more interesting, like it has been done in Europe. Profits will come when everybody will be happy.

I can look at your words in the two different ways. As a pessimist saying that you will be fighting with promoters who are in the business a lot longer than you are, and they consider boxing deadly serious and not as hobby; or as a optimist, because Global Boxing Promotions is still here and its name is growing. And you have a Midas touch when it comes to resurrecting forgotten fighters.

It happened with Mariusz Wach, who two years ago was considered even by people who know boxing as too fragile, not good enough to be a heavyweight contender. Now he’s 25-0, and the #9 WBC ranked heavyweight fighter in the world. Same with Przemek Majewski, who was supposed to be “too old.” “The Machine” now has the NABO belt, works very hard and is dedicated to being the best.

Wach is your marquee fighter, but questions about him were never about his abilities or size, more about his toughness. He’s a teddy bear, a big man with soft heart. Not too soft to beat the best?

That was his problem because before he came to the States, his previous coaches never addressed this part of his preparation. This is why he is working now with the DeLeon brothers, tough guys from Puerto Rico. This is why he is fighting on November 5 against Oliver McCall, who is a mean man when he steps in the ring. Let’s put it this way, we are working on giving Wach a new set of balls, he has to show his bad intentions when he fights.

You have great plans, but no matter how big the show will be, you need your guys to be spectacular and win their fights. Is this the crucial event for Global Boxing?

I understand how important wins are. This is why I provided all my fighters with full, no-excuses help with all their needs, but I cannot fight for them. I have big ideas – I’m on the verge of signing a big promotional deal with the Izod Center in East Rutherford, a 20,000-seat arena, who wants a huge international boxing series. They want to have what Prudential Center is having in Newark.

Going into competition with Prudential Center will be competing for Tomasz Adamek fans – and their money. Adamek adviser Ziggy Rozalski said that he wishes you and all you fighters all the best. “We are all friends here,” said Rozalski. No conflict?

I hope not. No way I want to compete with Adamek’s unbelievable success in the US. Why not do things together, become a real promotional power? I don’t want to make any enemies, I want to make friends. Andrzej Wasilewski, biggest boxing promoter in Poland and his “12Rounds Boxing Promotions” are great partners, because he always keeps his word, which is not always a rule in this business. On November 5 I will have his hottest heavyweight, Artur Szpilka. I would love to showcase Wach’s, Majewski’s and Łaszczyk’s skills in Poland, so even when you work with your potential rival, in the end everybody wins. I hope that this way of thinking can also work in the States.

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