Warriors’ Boxing Promoter Leon Margules remains "optimistic" regarding the resolution of paperwork issues that caused heavyweight Artur Szpilka to be returned to Poland by The Department of Homeland Security after having arrived at Chicaco's O'Hare International Airport on Sunday.
Szpillka (16-0, 12 knockouts) is scheduled to face Bryant Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs) in the HBO-televised co-feature to a main event between WBO junior lightweight titleholder Mikey Garcia and respected two-time title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos on Jan. 25 at New York’s Madison Square Garden on HBO.
"We're optimistic that he's going to get his visa problem worked out," said Margules,"and that he's going to fight, and we're just waiting for the paperwork."
Szpillka was last in the ring for a fifth-round knockout of Mike Mollo in August. He also stopped Mollo in the sixth round of a wild fight in February. Jennings, who is co-promoted by Gary Shaw and Antonio Leonard, and managed by James Prince, is coming off a sixth-round stoppage victory over Andrey Fedosov in June.
"Team Jennings along with myself and Antonio Leonard are well aware of the visa problems Szpilka is having at the moment. We are monitoring the situation very closely with Warriors Boxing Promoter Leon Margolis, and hope this problem can get resolved very fast," said Shaw in a prepared statement earlier this week.
"This is a great fight between two undefeated ranked heavyweights, and it would be disappointing if they are not able to fight. We are working endlessly to get Artur's proper documents approved so they can meet January 25 on HBO."
In the meantime, Jennings has remained focused and continued with his training regimen.
"I've been in the gym since my last fight back in June, so I'm ready to go. My trainer, Fred Jenkins, and I have been grinding, working on new things, trying to improve on what I do best, which is to box my opponents ears off. I know Szpilka is a big star in him native country, but his '0' has got to go, and his fans must deal with him losing for the first time. I'm healthy and I feel I've improved my ring intelligence since I fought last," said Jennings.
"Now it's time to show the world what Bryant Jennings is all about…HBO needs some fresh heavyweight talent to showcase, and I'm the one to take make it happen. I'm coming to win and win impressively…Everyone knows the Madison Square Garden is a place where many fighters have made their name famous. I plan to follow in the footsteps of the greats that have fought there before and to continue on my path to greatness."
Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs) is coming off an eighth-round knockout of Roman “Rocky” Martinez in November that earned him the belt and represented his 10th stoppage victory over the course of his past 11 fights.
It was the second major title in a second weight class for Garcia, who earned THE RING and WBO featherweight titles in January by beating Orlando Salido, whom he dropped four times en route to an eight-round technical decision.
Garcia followed up the win over Salido with a fourth-round knockout of ex-beltholder Juan Manuel Lopez in June, and in Burgos, meets a man who battled Martinez to a split-draw on the Garcia-Salido card.