After leaving the sport of boxing in 2015 following his first professional loss, Miles Zalewski never thought he would step back into the ring to compete.
Fast forward to 2021, and Zalewski will be having his second crack at an Australia title when he takes on Dana Coolwell on Saturday night for the vacant Australian Super Featherweight title at Tasman Fighters’ Super Saturday.
Motivated to return by the success of many other Australian boxers and the changes to the Australian boxing scene, Zalewski felt he left the sport incomplete and with more to give.
“I have so many boxing friends and I have always been part of the community, I watched Jeff Horn, I watched everyone come through and the industry was changing and meaning with it now all back on TV,” Zalewski said.
“If you look at everyone now, George Kambosos, Skye Nicolson, they are all getting opportunities now because the sport is growing in Australia. That really showed me that I have to come back because when I left, I left the sport unfinished.
“I did not think I was going to come back to the sport, but watching everybody’s success really motivated me to tap into it and get what I know I can get out of the sport before it’s too late.”
Since his return to boxing in 2019, Zalewski has looked like a man on a mission. He’s won his past four fights by knockout, defeating Kyle Freiberg in the process for the vacant Queensland Lightweight Title.
“When I had four years off, I had a different team years ago and I was a Lightweight/Super Lightweight which is the division above what I am at now,” Zalewski said.
“So, when I had the time off my body recalibrated, I lost unnecessary muscle, my training regime years ago was not the right training regime. I had all this excess muscle that I didn’t really need, so I was a bit heavier.
“Now I am more natural, and I am punching harder because I have a team that knows what they are doing.
“So, it has been an interesting second life in boxing for me, because I am finally doing things right for the first time. For some reason now as I have got older, I feel these are my golden days, now I feel like I have finally achieved what I want to achieve.”
Saturday night’s fight will be Zalewski’s first since July, while his opponent Coolwell last fought six weeks ago in a decision loss to Jacob Wyllie.
The short training camp meaning Zalewski has had to put in the extra yards in the preparation for this bout.
“It’s been tough because it’s been a five week camp,” Zalewski told The Inner Sanctum
“The interesting thing is Dana Coolwell… asked for us after his last loss. He had a hard eight round battle, and then to have a fight in five weeks showed me that they are rushing in, but that means we had to really push our training.
“It’s been tough, it’s been heavy, it’s been hard.”
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Zalewski has been plying his trade at the All Star Boxing Academy, where he has had an abundance of high-level training partners, many in similar a similar weight class to him.
The 32-year-old has credited the high quality training he has been able to get from the likes of Vegas Larfield and Liam Wilson as helping him to get into the best shape of his life.
Zalewski will be out with a point to prove against Coolwell with the two men having sparred in the past. He feels that Coolwell and his team are going in with false confidence from these sparring sessions.
“I know that they chose to challenge me and our team because of past sparring,” Zalewski said.
“They call us up, so we go in and I am not in camp, so I am just cruising, doing what I do.
“They are judging off old sparring experience, and they are going to be in for a rude awakening because this is a different body that going to be coming on the night.
“He is 22, I’m 32. I’ve had more years in the sport, he’s still developing. This fight is a test for them to see if he’s a prospect coming up or are they rushing him, and we believe that he is being rushed.
“They are going to realise when we fight that we are in two different stages in our career.”
With Zalewski now feeling and looking like a new fighter over his past bouts, he feels that Saturday night will be another memorable night in his career as he looks to capture a piece of Australian boxing gold.
“This is a ten round fight, I do not think it will go 10 rounds but I know he is going to bring it,” he said.
“I just want to see if I really do possess that power that really shakes these boys up mentally because with these 8 ounce gloves anything can happen.”
Miles Zalewski vs Dana Coolwell is part of Tasman Fighters’ Super Saturday card scheduled for December 4, and will air live on Fox Sports/Kayo.
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