By Matt Thompson
Photo: Big Joe Miranda
Polish junior middleweight contender Pawel “Raging Bull” Wolak (28-1, 18 KOs) once again will look to add that elusive signature victory on his resume, that could vault him into a world title shot when he faces former WBA champion Yuri Foreman (28-1, 8 KOs) on March 12th at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada. The fight will be a supporting bout for the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga Showtime pay per view card promoted by Top Rank.
The signature victory could have happened back on December 4th when Wolak entered into a contract as a late replacement to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. It was a roller coaster ride from the time the fight was signed.
“It was very difficult for me psychologically,” said Wolak. “I was preparing for another fight at junior middleweight, when we were asked to take on Chavez, Jr. at middleweight. We accepted and then the following weekend we were told that he would be unable to make the weight. We agreed to move up even further in weight so that the fight would go through. Then on the Monday before the fight, we are told that Chavez Jr. had a high fever and had to pull out of the fight. I was mentally preparing myself to fight a main event with Chavez Jr., and then going to a lesser bout with a fighter who I (had) barely watched a couple of rounds of, was emotionally draining.”
In stepped WBC youth world junior middleweight champion Jose Pinzon and Wolak was asked to lose weight and get further down to the middleweight limit.
“Going up in weight and then having to take off again for a last minute replacement was very tough.”
Wolak did make weight though and the bout went on as planned. The risky fight almost had a difficult ending for the Polish sensation, who was sent the canvas for the first time of his career in the second round. Wolak however, showed the will and tenacity of a future champion as he rose to his feet and battled back, winning every subsequent round on his way to a seventh round stoppage of the very tough Pinzon.
Now Wolak will once again get his shot at the elusive signature victory that has eluded him, when he squares off with Yuri Foreman.
“It is really strange fighting Foreman,” said Wolak, “I know Yuri so well, having trained side by side with him as he prepared for the Cotto fight. I watched him sparring and I know he is always in great shape. This is going to be a very tough fight, but I know this is the type of fight that I need to win if I am going to be a world champion.”
Wolak ranked #7 in the world by the WBA, will have another plus in his camp. Respected trainer Tommy Brooks returns to his corner to work alongside “Terrific” Aroz Gist.
Brooks had also trained Foremen for several fights so he knows his style well.
Manager Ivan Edwards stated the importance of adding Brooks to the corner: “I know that Brooks and ‘Terrific’ are great trainers. Brook’s familiarity with Foreman could be a pivotal key to the victory for Wolak.”
Edwards has meticulously and methodically moved Wolak up the ladder into national contention and he is aware that Foreman will be Wolak’s biggest test. “I know Foreman is a tough fighter, but I believe Wolak’s tremendous pressure, will and determination to become a champion will allow him to stop Foreman inside of the twelve round distance.”
The fight is the ultimate clash of styles. Foreman, likes to stick and move while Wolak is a pressure fighter.
Wolak knows he must adhere to his game plan, if he is to pull out the biggest victory of his professional career.
“I know I have to be in great shape and work my game plan, round by round, cutting off the ring,” outlined Wolak. “He is not a big puncher, so hopefully I can get to him. I plan to maximize the positives and come out with the victory.”
Wolak is not looking past his showdown with Foreman but he knows a win over the former junior middleweight champ will push him closer to his goal of fighting Chavez Jr. or a current champion.
“Right now my thoughts are only on Foreman, but should I come out uninjured and victorious, I would love to immediately turn around to fight Chavez Jr. or (IBF jr middleweight champion) Cornelius “K9” Bundrage or some of the other top fighters in the middleweight or junior middleweight division. That is only the logical step.”
This will be a battle you won’t want to miss.