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Gary Shaw of Gary Shaw Productions and Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing are happy to announce an agreement has been reached for rising heavyweight contenders Bryant Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs) and Artur Szpilka (16-0, 12 KOs) to meet in a 10-round showdown on January 25 in New York at Madison Square Garden Arena .
The undefeated pair will meet in an HBO-televised doubleheader, headlined by "Mikey" Garcia's first defense of his WBO Super Featherweight Championship. The fight will mark the HBO debuts of both fighters.
Co-promoted by Antonio Leonard Promotions, Philadelphia's Jennings, currently ranked #5 in the WBA and #4 in both the WBC and IBF rankings, will be returning from a seven-month layoff for this fight. Jennings who's managed by James Prince, who also manages Andre Ward, was last seen in June of this year (his only fight of the year) stopping Russia's Andrey Fedosov in round six. After competing five times in 2012, the time off has left Jennings eager to get back into the ring.
"It feels like I've been caged up for so long," said Jennings. "I feel like I have all of this intensity built up inside of me and nowhere to release it. My hunger is so strong that not even killing it in the gym is an escape anymore and the only way to satisfy my hunger is to binge, January 25th will be a buffet. With every minute that passes it's like my hunger grows and that is bad news for Artur Szpilka."
Warsaw, Poland's Szpilka, who's co-promoted by Warriors Boxing and Ulrich Knockout Promotions, is currently rated WBA and WBC #14, was last seen in August, completing a two-fight ESPN-televised series with tough guy Mike Mollo. Szpilka visited the canvas in both fights against Mollo before scoring the KO with his super punching power from the southpaw stance.
"I look forward to the challenge," said the popular Szpilka of the Jennings fight. "I have been improving with every fight and I am ready for anyone in the world. To take away his ratings in the world by beating him will move my career forward, so that is what I will do."
"This is an incredible matchup between two undefeated heavyweights on the rise, they are both prideful countrymen and they are both on the fast track to the top," said Gary Shaw. "Jennings has been on the radar a bit longer, but Szpilka has made a dent over the past year. This fight could steal the show based on the complementary nature of their styles. Bryant could've taken a lesser fighter with a more well-known name, or even one of the fading veterans still hanging around the heavyweight division, but instead he decided to get back in the ring and face a strong test. It's a testament to both his dedication and competitive nature, I think it's also foreshadowing for the kind of champion he will eventually be."
"Artur makes all of his fights exciting by fighting to the level of his opponents, so prepare to see the best Artur Szpilka anyone has yet seen in the ring," said Leon Margules. "He's a tough Polish fighter with a dynamic style and a charismatic personality. A victory over Jennings will go a long way toward making him the star he was born to become."