Ryan “The Bruiser” Rozicki is as Dangerous in the Boxing Ring as He Seems
The World Boxing Council ranks Ryan “The Bruiser” Rozicki as #1 cruiserweight in the world
As time has always proven, history tends to repeat itself. The last time the boxing world was upended like this was in 1919, the year Jack Dempsey started his 10-year reign as the world heavyweight champion.
Almost 100 years later, a farm boy from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, gave 3 Lions Promotions no choice but to offer a contract after they saw punching power that could kill.
On the left is Mauricio Suliman, Chairman of the World Boxing Council (WBC), standing beside Daniel Otter, Chairman of Three Lions Promotions in Uzbekistan, where it was announced that Ryan is now ranked #1 in the world with the WBC
Currently ranked #1 in the world, Ryan “The Bruiser” Rozicki seemingly came out of nowhere. His amateur career looked bleak at best, but he went against the odds to go pro and is now sitting with a 19-1, (18KOs) record and now one fight away from becoming the mandatory challenger for the WBC cruiserweight title. On December 2, 2023, at the Ermera Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Ryan will face Nigeria’s Olanrewaju “God’s Power” Durodola 43-9 (39 KOs).
What can viewers expect on the night of December 2, 2023?
Ryan: “It’s going to be a violent one, with both of our reputations being knock-out punchers, it’ll probably be over within 3 to 4 rounds.”
Coach Stevie Bailey: “This is the biggest fight of his career. We win this, and he’s guaranteed a WBC world title fight. This means EVERYTHING.”
Typically, an athlete in Ryan’s position would be reflecting on the magnitude of what this fight would mean for his career, but Ryan is not your typical athlete. To him, “It’s just a fight, just another guy that I gotta try to kill and not get killed. Sure, there’s a lot of pressure because this puts me in the best position as mandatory challenger for the world title, but I’m blocking it out. I’ve been in over 300 fights, between boxing and the streets, at this point, I’m just waiting for the bell to ring.”
Ryan Rozicki From the Farm to the Boxing Ring
Born on a small island off of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton has a population of less than 100,000 people; Ryan grew up working on the farm that his grandparents owned. His parents lived in a trailer court about 2km from the farm, “if I wasn’t at the trailer, I was on the farm.” Good, hard labour every day. His grandparents had chickens, pigs, and some other animals, but Ryan spent his days grading the potato fields and loading the trailer full of wood that his grandfather had chopped to sell, “I did that for 6 years, non-stop. Sure, I tried sports, but every time I just ended up fighting, so I did that instead. At 7 years old, my dad would match me up against other kids in the trailer court, it didn’t really matter the age, I would fight kids 5 years older than me. I was the toughest kid around.”
Ryan Rozicki always knew he would follow in the footsteps of Jack Dempsey
Fighting was Ryan’s way of life. “I had a couple of uncles who were good street fighters. My early memories of them coming home all busted up or stitched up. I remember their excitement retelling what happened, and it made me excited too. They were all tatted up and talked about fighting all the time, they were my heroes, and I wanted to be like them.”
As Ryan’s size began to catch up with his punching power, he started to do some real damage. He was breaking people’s faces, and really hurting his opponents, which started getting him in trouble with the law. Criminal charges were pressed against him, but he would just go out and do it again….and again….and again. Finally, a judge in the restorative justice system for youth decided it was time to channel his energy somewhere before it got Ryan into some serious trouble.
Seeing double, Jack Dempsey and Ryan Rozicki bring violence to boxing that will leave a mark for generations
Boxing Was a Way to Fight Without Ending Up in Jail, or Worse
Ryan’s dad knew of a boxing Coach at the Sydney Boxing Club, the only sport he thought would work for Ryan. The Head Coach, Brad Ross, was a correctional officer, so he knew Ryan before he even went to the gym. He also knew that the only way to get through to Ryan was to put him through hell. “He beat the s%!*t out of me in sparring. I left there never wanting to box again; saying it wasn’t for me because there were too many rules, it was too controlled. I wanted to hit him with a rock.”
After that experience though, Ryan started watching boxing on the internet. He saw the fight between Jack Dempsey and Jess Willard, he saw what Dempsey did; giving Willard the worst beating in boxing history. “I saw how violent boxing could really be and figured if I can be like that, then I can be a boxer.”
Ryan started watching match after match and became obsessed. He loved the violence, for the first time he saw a way of life that aligned with his natural instinct to fight without limits, he could pursue a violent life without being charged or getting in trouble with the law.
Coach Stevie supports Ryan Rozicki through this war, and he came out as a WBC International Champion
From Amateur to Professional Boxer
As an Amateur boxer, Ryan lost all the time. “I was beatable because I fought with a street fighter mentality. If I didn’t knock my opponent out in the first round, guys would just out-box me. I couldn’t adapt to the point system so I lost all the time. Amateur boxing is about fighting clean, you have to move and jab, I just wanted to go in and fight to the death.”
In 2015, Ryan went to fight at the Canadian Nationals as an Amateur. “I would put ankle weights on so I could qualify to fight the bigger guys.” He was matched up with former Olympian Simon Geen, it was a complete mismatch. “I was a kid no one had heard of, he broke my jaw, I was concussed, he beat me up. Back then, I knew nothing of health or diet, so after losing when I was headed up to my hotel room at the venue, I pulled out a bottle of vodka and started drinking. Then I felt a hand on my back.”
“This guy said to me, ‘You shouldn’t be drinking after taking hits like that, it’s not good for your brain.’ He introduced himself as Stevie Bailey and said to me, ‘All you need is someone to teach you something, anything. You have more heart and determination than I have ever seen.’ I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I didn’t drink any more of that vodka. Stevie didn’t know it, but he had just changed my whole world.”
“I tried to make a run for the Rio Olympics as an Amateur, but I couldn’t hang with those guys, they cut me open, and I would lose the decision. Later, I went up against one of Coach Stevie’s fighters, and he beat me. That’s when I knew I wanted Stevie as my Coach. It was time to get rid of the Amateur gloves and gear and get back to using my punching power.”
Ryan’s pro debut was on the undercard of Brandon Brewer’s ticket; he knocked out Donald Willis at the Aitken Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
With no Coach or sparring partners and only a heavy bag at the local boxing gym, Rozicki would watch old fighters and film and took whatever fight he could get. “My dad would be on the phone with promoters trying to get me on their cards.” A guy they knew from Cape Breton had moved to Kingston, Ontario, and told 3 Lions Promotions about Rozicki, letting them know they should sign him before someone else did. They agreed to put Rozicki on their card but since it was already full he would have to pay for his spot.
Ryan’s dad would sing and play his guitar at the local bar, and at the end of every set, he would ask the patrons for money to pay for Ryan to get on the ticket. He raised $3500, enough to pay for Ryan’s spot on the card.
Before the fight, Rozicki told Dan Otter of Three Lions Promotions that “after you see me fight, you’re going to offer me a contract.” Rozicki faced Mate Kristof of Hungary and knocked him out in the first round. Three Lions Promotions offered him a contract.
Rozicki moved to Ontario in 2018 and fought Abokan Bokpe at the Hamilton Convention Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. He knocked him out in the first round and Three Lions decided it was time to find Ryan a full-time Coach. “I told them I wanted Stevie Bailey.”
Coach Stevie Bailey of West End Athletic Club on Ryan ‘The Bruiser’ Rozicki
First day of training camp with Coach Stevie Bailey, Ryan was ready to show a whole new level of boxing to the world
“When I first met Ryan in 2015, I thought he was a great guy who simply needed some guidance and care. Eight years later, he’s still that same great guy. A man’s man who has a big heart and would do anything for those he considers friends. He’s loyal beyond measure, and I consider him a colleague and a friend, even though I Coach him and lead him to battle. He is someone I can admire and look up to.”
Having Stevie as a Coach has made Rozicki feel that he always has someone in his corner. “When we go into a fight, we are going into war. I trust Stevie with my life. I am not a normal boxer, I’m going to the death. I have full trust in Stevie because we both know that either I could be inflicting permanent damage on my opponent or they could permanently damage me. The biggest thing is that I respect Stevie, and I will listen to everything he says.”
“I’m a bit of a headcase, I might be laughing one day, and the next, I want to kill everyone. No one on the outside would be able to tell that, but I could walk into West End AC with Stevie on the opposite side of the room, not even make eye contact, and he would walk right over and ask, ‘What’s wrong?’ He calls it the red mist, he can feel my energy. Technique in boxing is important, but 90% is mental, and Stevie knows how to work with my emotions. We’re both young and learning together, he knows about my life and the traumas I’ve experienced. He knows how to deal with me psychologically and always says the right thing at the right time.”
Coach Stevie knows what a force Rozicki is, “he is one of the most determined human beings I’ve ever met in any walk of life, not just boxing. The sacrifices he’s made over the last 10 to 15 years, his dedication to the sport, his obsession over the details, and his willingness to win at any cost once the bell rings make him a lethal opponent to face.”
With the connection they have, Rozicki will follow Coach Stevie wherever he goes. “If he moves back to Ireland, I’m finding a gym there just to stay with him.” As the Head Coach and Boxing Program Director at West End Athletic Club, Coach Stevie trains all of his athletes in a world-class facility. Rozicki said he was “so happy that Stevie is at West End though, it’s the best freaking gym anyone could ask for, it’s a great environment.”
Punching power and mental rage that is focused and targeted, Ryan Rozicki looks to add another knockout to his streak
Ryan Rozicki reflected on how grateful he was to have a gym like West End Athletic Club for his training with Coach Stevie Bailey
Training at West End Athletic Club
The best part about West End AC for Rozicki is that “nobody tries to change what I am, everyone accepts me as who I am. I really don’t consider myself a boxer but more of a contracted killer. When I go inside the gym, that’s who I am, I don’t change it for anyone, and West End accepts that, they appreciate it. There’s a mutual respect there with everyone and it feels like family, even if I’m the black sheep,”
Walking into a gym where he can be himself is important, Rozicki can focus on his training sessions without judgment, and he has the space to push himself physically and mentally. Coach Stevie said that the primary focus during his training sessions is to “continue making Ryan understand his capabilities and not have him ever doubt what’s possible for him. I critique, analyze, improve, and constantly look to evolve his game.”
Ryan Rozicki is ready to go to battle, life or death
Rozicki has been in training camps back-to-back for about a year. Right now he has weaned off but will be easing back in until closer to fight night. A typical week includes 2 training sessions a day, 1 cardio and 1 boxing. Twice a week he will do 3 sessions, the third is strength and conditioning.
Part of being an elite athlete is ensuring you maintain a healthy diet. “In Cape Breton, about 80% of the meat I ate was what I had killed myself. In Ontario, all of my meat is grass-fed, I only buy what would be as close to what I would have killed myself. I maintain a whole food diet, nothing frozen or packaged, if it can go bad in a couple of days then I won’t eat it.”
The truth is, “I just wake up, and I’m ready to fight.” When December 2, 2023, rolls around, Rozicki will be ready. For him, at the end of the day, it’s not about the money or what people think of him. He has a 2-year-old daughter that he wants to set up with a good future and eventually, when he retires, he wants a farm back home where he can shut off his phone and let all of it go.
“I think once my career is over, the killer ‘The Bruiser’ persona will go away. I’m hanging on to my rage right now because I need it to fight the way that I do to accomplish my goals. But once that final bell rings, or Stevie is done, when it’s all over, I’m letting go of it.”
Boxing has taught Rozicki control and respect. “I never thought I would be in this position. With people looking up to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a lot of haters, but people back home, the Cape Bretoners and the Nova Scotians, look up to me. The kids on the streets can see there’s more than a dead-end road for them. It can be hard to maintain the image, I just don’t want to blow it. I want to win the world title and follow in the footsteps of Jack Dempsey, all of that keeps me disciplined and focused.”
Coach Stevie, what sort of growth have you seen in Ryan since you started working with him?
“This would take pages to give a true answer. But briefly, his overall boxing and life skills have improved immensely. He’s getting the credit he deserves as the world-class boxer that he is. He makes me proud to be a part of his team every day.”
When the time comes, Ryan Rozicki will let go of the rage and go back to his farm roots
Don’t miss Ryan ‘The Bruiser’ Rozicki’s fight on December 2, 2023, at The Emera Centre Stadium in Sydney, NS. Purchase tickets HERE.
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