Monday, December 16, 2013
Jennings to return vs. Szpilka
By Dan Rafael
Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant Jennings fought five times in 2012, all televised bouts, and went from unknown to hot prospect. He was even mentioned as a possible opponent for heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko.
Jennings had looked good in his fights and won three of those 2012 bouts by knockout. But then came a forgettable 2013, during which he fought just once, stopping Andrey Fedosov in the sixth round in June.
Jennings turned down fights, had issues with promoter Russell Peltz and also signed with a new manager, James Prince, who later negotiated the sale of Jennings' promotional contract to Gary Shaw and Antonio Leonard.
With a new year upon us, Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs), 29, is hoping that with a new team in place the layoff is a thing of the past, and that he can once again gain the attention of fight fans.
He'll start by facing Artur Szpilka (16-0, 12 KOs) of Poland in a scheduled 10-rounder on Jan. 25 (HBO) on the Mikey Garcia-Juan Carlos Burgos undercard at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
"It feels like I've been caged up for so long," Jennings said. "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. Jan. 25 will be a buffet. With every minute that passes, its like my hunger grows and that is bad news for Artur Szpilka."
Szpilka fought four times in 2013, twice in tremendous brawls with Mike Mollo, including a fifth-round knockout win in August in his most recent fight.
"I look forward to the challenge," Szpilka said of facing Jennings. "I have been improving with every fight and I am ready for anyone in the world. To take away his ratings in the world [organizations] by beating him will move my career forward, so that is what I will do."