PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - March 03, 2015                                                              
Home Boxers Fights Arenas Non-Boxers Gyms Relics More About Contact

Story / Interview by John DiSanto
File Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr.


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 boxing rebirth.  

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

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 (laughs).Ē

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 itís awesome.Ē

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 your confidence.    

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 your career?

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 him.Ē

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 Philadelphian? 

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 Philly showdown.Ē


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.




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - March 03, 2015