Rising Philly heavyweight prospect
Joey ďThe TankĒ Dawejko, 13-3-2, 6 KOs, returns to the ring
Friday night when he meets ďThe Nigerian GentlemanĒ, Enobong
Umohette, 9-2, 8 KOs, in the 8-round co-main event at the
2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Joey will be looking to
extend his five bout winning streak that has spanned the
last 14 months.
It was in January 2014 when Dawejko
upset fringe contender Derric Rossy in Atlantic City. The
surprise victory helped Joey to turn a new leaf in his
then-fading pro career.
After closing his stellar amateur
run in 2009, Dawejko spun his wheels as a professional and
appeared to be on a wrong-way trip in the heavyweight
division. However, with the Rossy fight, the 5í 10Ē Tank
took the opportunity to make a fresh start.
Since his win over Rossy, Dawejko
has won four more bouts, including his last three by first
round knockout. Suddenly after that very good 5-0 year,
Dawejkoís career is hot again.
He signed a promotional contract
with Peltz Boxing after the Rossy fight. Then after
defeating fellow Philly prospect Mark Rideout last May, Joey
became part of the budding stable of Club 57 Management, a
tight band of rising fighters managed by Mark Cipparone.
These two new business relationships have helped in Joeyís
Dawejko enters Fridayís bout with
some high stakes hanging in the balance. First, there is
the continuance of his impressive winning streak. Secondly,
and even more critically, Dawejko is penciled in for a May
date on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights against Delaware-based
wrecking machine Amir Mansour. To get that big fight, all
Joey has to do is beat Umohette this Friday night.
So this weekís 8-rounder holds the
key to Dawejkoís future. I caught up with Joey as he was
winding down his preparations for this important fight.
Are you ready for Friday?
DAWEJKO: ďYeah man. Iím ready to go. I had a good
training camp up in Easton, PA. We had all of our guys in
training camp. So that was a great thing for all of us. I
feel great and Iím ready to go. We had Sherman Williams
come in as a sparring partner, and he gave me great veteran
heavyweight work. So that definitely has me ready. I can
do one round (Friday), or I can do eight rounds. So Iím
definitely looking forward to March 6th.Ē
You went away for camp?
DAWEJKO: ďYes. Mark (Cipparone) rented out a
house for all of us Ė me, Jason Sosa, Tevin Farmer and Ray
Serrano. It was us and all our sparring partners. Thomas
LaManna was up there too. We were all together. We trained
at a place called Hammer Fitness. It was a good time
The Club 57 Management gang seems
like a real team. How has being part of this team helped you
at this point in your career?
DAWEJKO: ďIt really helps a lot. As an amateur, I
came from a gym that had a lot of kids in it. Going to the
different tournaments (together) always made it great. But
then once I turned pro, I was basically on my own. I needed
something like this to feel better about myself. Once I
signed with Mark, I was teamed with Tevin Farmer, Jason
Sosa, and Ray Serrano. So basically we are like a family.
Everybody is supporting each other. Like, we all went up to
New York on Friday to watch Ray fight. (Serrano won a
10-round decision over Jeremy Bryan.) Then we were right
back the next day, sparring on Saturday. So it helps a lot,
just the support. In addition to my family, I now have a
boxing family. I consider them my brothers. It really
helps a lot. I have to give credit to Mark. I really
appreciate everything that he did.Ē
Your teammate Jason Sosa is in
the co-feature bout on Friday night. Do you like sharing
the card with him?
DAWEJKO: ďI love it. Iím glad that we can do it
together. I wouldnít have it any other way. I just think
So what do you know about you opponent Enobong Umohette?
DAWEJKO: ďI donít know much about him. I know his
record and I know who he fought. I know heís about
six-foot. He has nine wins, eight of them coming by
knockout. So I know he can punch a little bit. Thatís
basically it. Thereís not much film on him. So I couldnít
really study anything, but I have the confidence to go out
there and do what I have to do.Ē
You're on a five fight roll with three first round KOs. How
does that feel?
DAWEJKO: ďIt feels great. Five in a row, three by
knockout Ė first round knockout. Itís a big confidence
boost. Itís exactly what I needed. Like I said, it just
feels great. Itís how I wanted to start off my professional
career, but it didnít happen that way. But itís going that
way now. After I signed with Mark, everything has worked
out great. Iím training like Iím supposed to. Iím eating
how Iím supposed to. Iím sleeping how Iím supposed to.Ē
Tell me more about this boost in
DAWEJKO: ďThe first fight that I had with Mark, I
knocked David Williams out in the first round. That was a
big confidence booster. Everybody was saying that I
couldnít punch. But I was actually in the shape to go out
and get him out of there. So after that, I came back and I
stopped Yohan Banks in the first round. That was the same
thing; it was a big confidence booster. And the third one
(KO1 Rayford Johnson), was even bigger. Each fight has
given me more confidence. I now know that I have the
ability to do it.Ē
Now you have this KO streak
going. Do you feel pressure to KO this guy too?
DAWEJKO: ďItís no pressure at all. Actually in my
last three fights, I didnít look for the knockout. But it
came. Everybody says that in boxing Ė donít look for the
knockout because itís not going to come. But if youíre
relaxed and you set the punches up, then it can. So I
always have that in my mind Ė NOT to go out there and just
try to knock somebody out. But if I know that if I have
someone hurt, Iím going for the kill.Ē
There has been a lot of talk that
if you win this fight you'll next meet Amir Mansour in May
on ESPN2. Is that true?
DAWEJKO: ďYes, thatís the game plan right now. I
have to go into this fight and come out 100%, not hurt or
anything. Then thatís the match that weíre looking for.Ē
Do you see Mansour as a pretty
big step up?
DAWEJKO: ďYes, itís a big step up from the competition
that Iíve been fighting, but Iím used to that. I was a top
amateur and I fought the best in the world. Amir Mansour
has nothing that I havenít seen before. I fought guys with
power. Iíve fought southpaws. Iím used to fighting at a
high level. So right now, Iím excited about that. Iím not
looking past March 6th. Iím 100% focused on
that, but as soon as I knock this guy out (laughs), Iím good
to go for Mansour.Ē
What would beating Mansour do for
DAWEJKO: ďMansour is ranked higher than me in the
USBA and on BoxRec. Beating him will put me where I need to
be. Thatís what Iíve always said. I have nothing against
Amir Mansour, but I need to be in his spot. Heís in a
position right now where heís calling out Deontay Wilder to
fight for the WBC heavyweight title. I have to be in that
spot, and in order to be in that spot, Iíve got to beat
The Philadelphia heavyweight
scene is really heating up. We have Bryant Jennings fighting
Klitschko in April for the world title and Steve Cunningham
fighting Glazkov in an IBF eliminator next week. How do you
fit into this new era of Philly heavyweights?
DAWEJKO: ďPhilly was always a big fighting town.
I support every Philadelphia fighter there is. Iím hoping
and praying that Bryant Jennings beats Klitschko. I know
that Cunningham can beat Glazkov. Iím not too worried about
that one. Iím on the (Philly heavyweight) ladder trying to
get up to that level. Iím peeking my nose over right now.
And thatís where I feel Iím at. Once I win on Friday, and
then get past Mansour, Iím there. Iíll be at the top.Ē
Isnít it funny that when your
chance at a title fight comes, it might be against a fellow
DAWEJKO: ďI read an interview where Steve Cunningham
said that he hopes Jennings beats Klitschko and that he
(Cunningham) beats Glazkov, and then they fight each other
for the title in Philadelphia. So who knows? Maybe in a
couple years, I can fight the winner (laughs). Another
Also on the card Friday night, junior
lightweight Jason Sosa, 13-1-3, 9 KOs, Camden, NJ, looks to
extend his 8-bout knockout streak against Costa Rican
Bergman Aguilar, 12-1-1, 4 KOs. Five additional fights fill
out the show which begins at 7:00 PM.