Russian boxing trainer, Michael Kozlowski, helps the English National Boxing team prepare 2008 European Champion, Luke Campbell, and makes a 2012 Champion of Europe out of Egor Plevako for the Ukraine.
The Part I: Luke Campbell.
In the beginning of 2008 as boxing trainer Michael Kozlowski went into Starbucks near the legendary Gleason’s Gym, two boys who looked to be about 15 years old, approached the trainer speaking in pronounced British accents.
- We are from England. My name is Luke Campbell and this is my friend Billy. I am a member of England’s National Boxing Team. We saw www.BoxingCoachMike.com printed on your uniform and figured you are a boxing trainer…we just came from the airport, its our first time in America, and we want to train at Gleason’s.
- OK! Go to the Gym, look around and you will see there are more trainers than boxers. Luke, if you really are a member of the National Team in England, then you will be able to pick out a good coach. I will be there later and if you really want to learn the Olympic Boxing style, it will be better to train with me…
A few hours later Michael Kozlowski returned to the gym. The two young Englishmen were there and told Mike that they would like to try training with him.
After the workout, Luke asked Coach Mike if he could help find them a place to stay. Seeing the strong desire of the boys to study boxing, he told them to stay at his apartment that night and they could look for a place the next day.
Boxers are usually surprised when they see the photo gallery of the Coach Mike’s champions. They quickly learn that Michael Kozlowski was Yuri Foreman’s original trainer. Foreman lived in his apartment and trained with Coach Mike throughout his successful amateur career in the USA, and it is through Coach Mike’s guidance, Foreman began a long professional career…But they are usually even more surprised to find out that the professional fighter, Roman Greenberg (very popular in England), trained with and lived in Coach Mike’s apartment during his amateur career in Israel.
From the first workout with Luke Campbell, the Russian coach noted many mistakes in his technique. Luke, a tall southpaw, kept his front hand too close and hardly used his jab. He didn’t use his reach and leaned back, putting too much weight on his left leg, and he had absolutely no footwork…
Training started early in the morning when Luke, sometimes together with Coach Mike, would go running along the Hudson Bay. And it came to an end late in the evening when the trainer and his British student came home from the gym and would sit together and discuss strategy.
At that point in time, Luke’s personal trainer had some legal problems and had been refused the right to work as a boxing coach in England. While Campbell was in USA, Coach Mike decided to work purely on technique with the English boxer, because they were running out of time before the European Championships.
Luke came to New York City every few months for a one or two week stay at Michael Kozlowski’s apartment. Basically they worked on technique and boxing fundamentals – no sparring! When Luke Campbell asked Coach Mike to get him sparring, the trainer answered:
- Luke, you are on a higher level of boxing than the fighters here, and I do not want you to get overconfident with opponents who are obviously below your boxing level and experience. More importantly, I do not want you to waste precious time which you need to fine tune your technique. The real sparring for you is in England or in Europe! Here, I am helping you to develop your boxing skills, and your job is to use this knowledge to beat everyone at home!
Before Luke returned home to England, the trainer and boxer would always discuss his future workout plan as Coach Mike drove the fighter to the airport. Once Luke Campbell returned home, the training process continued over the Internet!
its been a while since we have talked, hope your well.
Im just on a training camp for 10days. I lost my last fight but i didnt perform but iv learnt from my mistakes and go forward.
I feel better in my self now cause what iv been doing was punching and staying to long but now i feel ready for the counter and moving more making them miss and working my in n out. but theses new coaches on the camp just want me to work up close and not work on my strenghs but i try not to listen to them.
Do u have any advice for me mike, cause i look up to u and beleave what you say.
Coach Mike reminded Campbell of the pain in his elbow as a result of boxing at too close to his opponent. He also advised Campbell to use his reach more. However, over the course of the first year, every email from the trainer to the boxer always ended with the same reminder from Kozlowski, “Luke, do not forget to watch that your stomach is always behind your front shoulder! And constantly work with your front hand!..”
Soon Luke Campbell became the 2008 England Champion and won the right to represent the country in the European Championship in Liverpool!
Before the 2008 European Boxing Championship, Michael Kozlowski told Luke Campbell:
- Judging by the skill of the boxers in your weight category and the fact that the European Championship will be in your home country, you have an excellent chance of becoming the European Champion!”
This vote of confidence from the Russian born international level trainer to whom Campbell great trust in, gave him the extra drive he needed in preparation for the European championships.
March 2008:. «hi mike its luke.just to let you no we got home safe thankyou,
thanks for taken us to the airport, dont no what we would of done with out you.
And the coaching was ace, wish i could have that coaching here in england, then i would be an amazing fighter.
well carnt wait to come back to get even more better. really loved the attitued you had to the sport you want what i want to be champ and fame.
thanks again for all you have done.»
Luke also emailed his fights to Coach Mike for feedback.
May 2008г. «Hi mike ill sent my fights to you in a email my last to fights, and you can tell me what you think
July 2008. «Hi mike its me again, well I think im going to book it but i will be spending all my money doing so but i thinks its worth it….
As the European championship approached, it became increasingly more difficult for Luke to get to New York to train, since the English National team met for training every week in London. Therefore the Russian trainer and English boxer communicated by email more.
On the first day of the European championship, coach Mike worried and waited for news from the European continent about the draw of the boxers.
November, 5th 2008: «hi mike, my weight is ok, the draw is to moro im not much bothered who i draw, it looks like theres a few new kids about from other countries. iv been boxing on form latley so ill just go out and do what i do best.
ill let you no, thanks»
The first good news from Luke Campbell was that he won against the Olympic bronze medalist from Moldova!
good news i won i beat him 7 . 4 i was always up so that was a great win to have, i next fight on Tuesday ill keep you informed.
and id like to say thank you for you helping me out and showing me to use what i have and some new tricks and id like to come back over again soon. thanks…»
In the fight against Bulgaria, the points leveled off at 5-5 once Cambell scored a point in the last two seconds of the fight. With the score even, the judges tallied punches and Campbell was awarded the title making him the first Englishman to win a European amateur title since 1961!
Later, Luke Campbell brought his Gold medal to New York to show it to Coach Mike and to express his gratitude.
Now the Russian trainer and English boxer had a new goal: to win the right to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games, once again in Luke Campbell’s hometown – London!