ATLANTIC CITY - Somers Point middleweight Patrick Majewski realized the enormity of his fight tonight at Bally's Atlantic City a few weeks ago while driving to a training session at the Atlantic City Police Athletic League.
He came off the Atlantic City Expressway to see his picture on a giant digital billboard hyping his 12-round bout against Chris Fitzpatrick for the vacant NABF championship at Bally's Main Ballroom. The winner is guaranteed a top-15 ranking in the WBC world ratings.
"That was the first time I ever saw myself on a billboard," Majewski (18-1, 12 KOs) said at the PAL earlier this week. "I know it's a small thing for most people, but it was a very big deal to me. I've been on this journey in boxing for six years and to see that really meant a lot. I didn't get out and pose under it or anything, but I did take a picture from my car with my phone and sent it to my family back in Poland."
Majewski's family, including mother Boguseawa Smorongiewicz - his parents are divorced - older brother Morciej Majewski and younger sister Karolina Majewksi, are among the dozens of family members who will be watching the fight in his hometown of Radom, Poland via gofightlive.tv.
Majewski, who moved to the United States in 2001 and to the Jersey Shore in 2003, will also have plenty of supporters in the crowd at Bally's.
"People from Chicago, New York and North Jersey are coming to the fight, plus all of my friends from this area," Majewski said. "That doesn't put more pressure on me, but it has given me extra motivation. Sometimes when I get tired, I remind myself what a big opportunity this is for me and I keep pushing myself."
The challenge for manager/co-trainer Arnold Robbins and co-trainer Bill Johnson was to keep Majewski from overtraining, a habit that may have contributed to his only defeat since turning pro in 2006.
The 32-year-old suffered a sixth-round knockout against Jose Miguel Torres in Connecticut on Nov. 5, 2011. Both Majewski and his handlers chalked up his noticeable lack of strength and energy to a workout regimen that left him drained in the fight.
He revised his approach for this fight. Majewski hired a nutritionist to change his diet and now eats six small meals a day. He supplemented his boxing workouts with some CrossFit routines, but scaled back in the last couple of weeks to preserve his energy.
"Patrick learned from that fight (against Torres)," Robbins said in a phone interview. "He realized that he had to cut back a little bit. He's in tremendous shape for this fight, but didn't lose any strength and I think that will show in the ring (tonight).
"This is a big fight for Patrick. If he wins this, I think he'll be fighting for a world title at some point next year."
Fighting for a world title would be a huge accomplishment for someone who started boxing relatively late in life. Majewski, who was a wrestler in Poland, first ventured into the Wildwood Boxing Club in 2003 in search of a way to stay in shape while living and working in Avalon. He switched to the Atlantic City PAL upon moving to Somers Point a year later.
He still has an edge in experience over Fitzpatrick (15-1, 6 KOs), a 25-year-old native of Cleveland. Because of his age, Robbins and Johnson have had Majewski on the fast track since he turned pro. His previous 19 opponents had a combined record of 165-83-10 at the time he fought them and 12 of the 19 had a winning record. Fitzpatrick's foes were a combined 92-113-13 and just five were above .500.
"I know this is not going to be an easy fight," Majewski said. "I train to be the best, but nothing ever goes as planned once you get into the ring. This is a huge opportunity for me and I want to make the most of it."
Punchlines: Atlantic City lightweight Osnel Charles and light-heavyweight Lavarn Harvell are also on tonight's card. Charles (9-3-1, 1 KO) will take on Rafael Luna (4-5-1, 1 KO), of Albany, N.Y. in a six-round bout. Charles is looking to rebound from a six-round decision loss to Christopher Finley at Bally's on April 14. Harvell (11-0, 6 KOs) will face Mojeed Okadara (9-5, 8 KOs) in a six-rounder. Harvell has notched three straight knockouts, including a first-round stoppage over Brian Donahue in Newark last month.
Contact David Weinberg:
Patrick Majewski (18-1, 12 KOs) vs. Chris Fitzpatrick (15-1, 6 KOs)
Where: Main Ballroom, Bally's Atlantic City
When: Doors at 7 p.m., first fight 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $50 and $75. Go to PressofAtlanticCity.com/tickets