Spotlight on: Chris KwiatkowskiJanuary 20, 2014
The 2014 Season Opener is upon us. Fighter Chris Kwiatkowski, also known as “The Polish Punisher,” is ready to dole out his brand of punishment to anyone brave enough to face him in the ring. On January 31st, that person is the reputable Justin Greskiewicz.
Kwiatkowski, with a 9-4-1 professional record, trains at Church Street Boxing Gym with Jason Strout. Coming off a December 13th win against Omar Vega, he is already in fight mode and ready to go. “My last fight was a quick fight,” he said. “I ended up breaking my opponent’s forearm in the beginning of the fight when he blocked a head kick. The fight was stopped at 1 minute, 3 seconds of the first round.
“That was my first fight back in 10 months, so I wanted to get a little more work in. But I was satisfied with the outcome.”
With the fight ending so quickly, it left Kwiatkowski with little room for learning from mistakes and growing for his next bout. However, he is not concerned that this will be a drawback. “Every time I step into the ring and go through the process of cutting weight, mentally preparing for the fight, and physically preparing for the fight, it helps me,” he said. “With the quickness of the fight, I wasn’t really able to try out the combinations that I worked on during camp. But the KO win has definitely helped my confidence a bit.”
When asked to fight Greskiewicz next, Kwiatkowski did not hesitate. “I think it’s a great match-up,” he said. “Justin and I have been fighting in the East Coast Muay Thai scene for a long time. Justin turned pro before I did, so we fought numerous times on the same card when I was an amateur and he was a pro.
“During Justin’s time as a pro, he has had some big fights and some big wins. Fighting Justin will be a good challenge at this time in my fight career. I love challenges. That’s why I’m in this sport.”
His love of challenges fits well with Greskiewicz’s fighting style. “Justin has a very technical Thai fighting style,” Kwiatkowski said. “He is very experienced and relaxed when he fights. He also deals with adversity very well.” This adds up to Greskiewicz being ready to adjust to whatever Kwiatkowski throws his way, making a game plan harder to secure.
But Kwiatkowski is well known for his strengths in combat. Out of his nine wins as a professional fighter, six of them have been knockouts. “My strengths are that I have tremendous heart, and I hit hard,” Kwiatkowski said. “I think this fight is the classic case of an old school boxer/brawler fight. It will be a fun fight to watch and a great fight to be in.”
Kwiatkowski prepares heartily for his fights, but a little bit of superstition also comes in to play for him. “I am very superstitious when it comes to fighting. I do the same thing every time I fight,” he shared.
“The weekend before the fight I always go to the Buddhist Temple in Elmhurst, Queens. I get blessed by the Temple’s Head Monk, and have the gear that I go in to the ring with blessed. I used to wear the same underwear on fight night that I wore when I had a KO win in Thailand. Eventually, the elastic wore out on them, so I had to retire them. Now I have new fight underwear.”
So after two fights in two months, what is next for Kwiatkowski? “I take fighting one fight at a time,” he said. “I’d like to have an active year, but I have no real plans. I do plan to take a little time off right after the fight. Coming up after Easter, I will have a float in the Dyngus Day Parade in Buffalo. It’s a big Polish holiday that gives us a reason to get wasted and celebrate our Polish heritage.”
Whether working hard, playing hard, training hard or fighting hard, Kwiatkowski would like to leave one legacy behind. “I’d like to be remembered as a fierce competitor who always came to fight,” he said.
You can be a part of this journey at the season opener on January 31st at the Broad Street Ballroom, NYC. Tickets are available on the website.