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Ryan Rozicki always told himself if he ever won a championship, he wouldn’t consider it a title win until he had the chance to defend it.
The Sydney Forks boxer captured the WBC International Silver Cruiserweight championship with a third-round knockout victory over American Shawn Miller in Sydney last May. And Rozicki will have the opportunity to defend his title on home soil when he faces Czech Republic native Vladimir Reznicek in the main event of the Valentine’s Day Massacre boxing card at Centre 200 on Friday.
Fights begin at 7 p.m.
- Although the results won’t be available at press time, visit capebretonpost.com for full coverage including a recap, video and pictures from the Valentine’s Day Massacre boxing card. Cape Breton Post sports reporter Jeremy Fraser will be ringside and will have live updates and insight on Twitter by following @CBPost_Jeremy. There will also be coverage in Tuesday’s print edition of the Post.
The 24-year-old expects Reznicek to be his toughest opponent to date and is looking forward to getting back in the ring in Cape Breton.
“If you look at his resume, physically he may not look as good as some of the guys that I fought, but he has the credentials,” said Rozicki.
“He’s been in there with some serious fighters and if you look at his losses, they could have gone either way — he could be an undefeated fighter right now.”
Rozicki enters the fight with an undefeated 11-0-0 record, all wins coming by way of knockout. As for Reznicek, he will step in the ring with a 9-2-2 record with three knockouts.
Rozicki last fought on Sept. 7 when he defeated Khetag Pliev by technical knockout in Hamilton, Ont., but the Cape Breton fighter known as “Bruiser” didn’t escape uninjured.
He received 26 stitches above his left eye, while also sustaining a broken orbital bone and damage to his left hand.
“The first-round was going as planned, but it turned out that I had one of the toughest opponents that night, so it turned into a war,” said Rozicki.
“In the second round when the cut opened up, I went into kill or be killed mode and had to finish him right there because I was seconds away from losing my undefeated record.”
Rozicki said the fight doctor almost stopped the bout because of the cut near his eye, which forced him to finish the job when he did.
“I was completely blind, first I went blind in my left eye because of the blood and then the blood went in the right eye, so I couldn’t see anything,” he said.
“All I could see was like a silhouette pretty much of the opponent — I knew he was going to be right in front of me, so I just went for it and kept going forward and kept hammering him until he was done.”
Rozicki told the Post he’s fully healed from the injuries and received a few laser treatments in Ontario to help break up scar tissue in order to heal.
Meanwhile, Reznicek hasn’t fought since March 23, 2019, when he beat Piotr Rzyman by way of technical knockout.
The Prague product has only fought for a championship belt once prior to Friday's main event. He challenged Vasil Ducar for the vacant Czech cruiserweight title, a match which ended in a split decision.
Rozicki, who recently completed a 12-week training session at TNT Boxing and Fitness Academy in Guelph, Ont., met Reznicek during a Three Lions Promotions press conference Wednesday morning at Centre 200.
Prior to the press conference, Reznicek had some strong words in an interview with Three Lions Promotions about the fight.
“I’ve been a spoiler before and I’ll do it again,” Reznicek told the promoters. “Everyone is talking about me lasting the distance — won’t they be surprised when I knock out their hometown hero? I am taking the belt home to (Czech Republic) with me.”
Rozicki responded to the comments Wednesday evening.
“I like that he’s confident,” said Rozicki. “I know he’s here to win and I can feel it — I know he means what he says and it makes me have more motivation and makes me want to battle even harder.”
Since his last fight, Rozicki said he’s been working hard to improve defensively.
“The main focus of the whole training camp was on defence, protecting my eye because opponents know that I had some damage to it,” said Rozicki. “I’ve been working a lot on head movement, defence, and improving my conditioning — it was really tough, but it’s going to be worth it.”
Rozicki won’t be the lone Cape Breton fighter on Friday's card. Josh Prince of Georges River will make his professional debut against Adam Hazelton of Yarmouth, N.S., as part of the undercard.
“It’s good to see young amateurs like Josh up-and-coming and turning professional and trying to follow in my footsteps,” said Rozicki. “I know they’re going to be right there with me soon — we have lots of tough fighters here in Cape Breton.”
For now, Rozicki isn’t looking past Friday's bout and is focusing on the task at hand — defending his championship belt.
“I truly believe this time I have an opponent who’s going to bring the best out of me and the best man is going to win,” said Rozicki.
“I’m not saying I’m going to beat him because anything can happen in there, but I can promise the whole island that this guy is going to be in the toughest fight of his life, win or lose.”
Tickets are still available for the six-fight card at the Centre 200 box office or online at tickets.capebreton.ca.