Szpilka headed to U.S. to train with Shields


Heavyweight contender Artur Szpilka has a lot going on.

The 25-year-old Szpilka (17-1, 12 KOs) signed a contract extension this week with Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules and also signed with adviser Al Haymon, whose stable now includes more than 150 fighters.

In addition, Szpilka, a southpaw from Poland, is in the process of relocating to the United States with his girlfriend. He is going to live and train in Houston, where he will work with his new trainer, Ronnie Shields.

"Leon called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I was interested, and I said yes," Shields told ESPN.com. "I have seen [Szpilka] before and he is interesting with his style. The kid can fight, and I have a lot of experience with heavyweights."

Among the heavyweights Shields has worked with: Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Tomasz Adamek.

Szpilka, whose only loss came by 10th-round TKO to contender Bryant Jennings last January, is coming off his biggest victory in November. That is when he outpointed Polish hero Adamek in a 10-rounder in Krakow, Poland.

"I'm looking forward to working with him," Shields said of Szpilka. "I've been watching a lot of his tapes. I think what he does best is [that] when he goes forward, he goes forward throwing punches, and that's a rare thing for a heavyweight. A lot of heavyweights, when they go forward, just throw one punch at a time. He throws combinations first, and then when he hurts you he really sits down and tries to knock you out."

As for what Shields wants to work on: footwork and Szpilka's lead left hand.

Margules said Szpilka should be settled in Houston in about a month and anticipates his next fight will be in March or April.

"We're willing to fight the top guys," Margules said. "He's still only 25 and still a young heavyweight. I think he'll benefit by training with a guy like Ronnie. He'll learn a lot. He'll see more styles in the gym than he does in Europe."