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Q&A: Retired Wolak eyes MMA
Retired "Raging Bull" Pawel Wolak aims to transition from boxing to mixed martial arts
Pawel Wolak, known as "The Raging Bull" for his rugged, in-your-face style in the ring, told RingTV.com that he aims to transition into mixed martial arts before the end of 2012.
Wolak (29-2-1, knockouts) announced his retirement from boxing on Dec. 8, just five days after his unanimous decision loss to Delvin Rodriguez at New York's Madison Square Garden in a rematch of their majority draw in July.
Although he still has an existing managerial contract with Cameron Dunkin and promoter Bob Arum, Wolak said that he plans to allow that commitment to expire in October before taking his fight experience and background as a high school wrestler into mixed martial arts.
A 30-year-old, married father who splits his time as a construction worker and roofer, Wolak rode an unbeaten streak of 8-0-1, with five knockouts into his return bout with Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs).
Rodriguez-Wolak I was selected Fight of The Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, with both fighters delivering fierce, all-action efforts.
Wolak fought the entire second half of the fight while peering through severely cut and swollen eyes, the right side of his face marred by a hematoma the size of a ripe grapefruit.
Wolak's biggest career victory came in March under former manager Ivan Edwards, when the New Jersey pressure fighter scored a sixth-round stoppage of former WBA 154-pound titleholder Yuri Foreman. Prior to that, Wolak rose from a second-round knockdown to stop Jose Pinzon in the seventh round in December.
Wolak spoke more about his future in this Q&A:
RingTV.com: What is your status in boxing?
That's because I am retired and I would pretty much like to be done with boxing. I would like to be released and go on to MMA. I still love boxing, and I still spar. But my whole goal was, even before I was ever in boxing, was that I was trying to learn how to fight for MMA.
The reason that I started kickboxing and boxing was to learn how to fight under the mixed martial arts. That's the reason why I did it. Then, it kind of just took off. I fought as an amateur and I turned professional, and then I kept getting bigger and better and I stuck with it.
The things that you do in Jiu-Jitsu, a lot of that is a no-no in wrestling. The body positioning, fighting off your back, that's a huge no-no in wrestling. You don't ever want to be on your back in wrestling. It's a difference in how you turn in, how you put pressure on, how you get into certain positions in scrambles.
There are just a lot of differences to be sorted out. There are numerous, numerous moves which, as a wrestler, you would be doing different things as opposed to what you would do in Jiu-Jitsu.
So you have counties, districts and then regions and then super regions and finally states. I've always placed at counties and districts, and I've always placed in regions.
Same thing to go on to super regions. I wrestled 152, 160 and 171. I was way under-sized when I wrestled 171. That wasn't really my weight class.
So if my past background as a boxer will help me out in the UFC, then that's great, you know what I mean?
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Ed Diller, Star Boxing
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org