MateusZ Ziolkowski has sealed an amazing rise to glory after becoming a CYP national champion.
The Heart of Portsmouth hero stormed to the crown in Harlow in dramatic style with victory over West Leeds’ rising-star Dexter Thomas.
Ziolkowski’s success is made all the more incredible, coming in just his ninth amateur contest – and only two years after taking up the sport.
It was a stunning victory for the Charter Academy student, who also overcame a Welsh champion, along with a multi-national champion and European silver medallist, on his way to success.
The win was a nailbiter, with the contest ending 12-12 after three exciting rounds of action.
A countback couldn’t split the pair, either, meaning the final verdict went to the ringside judges – who voted four to one in favour of the new champ.
HOP head coach Q Shillingford believes Ziolkowski has stunned the boxing world, with his title coming so early in his amateur career.
Shillingford feels it’s rich reward for a talent who arrived in the country just three years ago without being able to speak English.
Now he believes the Olympic dream is on for the brave and dedicated talent.
He said: ‘It’s an unbelievable story.
‘No-one can believe a kid can come in and do what Mateusz has done.
‘To win a national title after nine bouts is unheard of, and to do it the hard way by beating national champions and European medallists makes it even more incredible.
‘Now Mateusz is on course for the 2016 Olympics.
‘He has to keep working and hopefully get some international experience to build towards becoming a senior.
‘He’s been in the country for three years and boxing for two. He’s a phenomenon.
‘Mateusz is the most dedicated boxer I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I’ve had 15 national champions and 12 international boxers.
‘Portsmouth definitely has a real prospect on its hands.’
Ziolkowski’s proved a beacon for the Boxing Awards programme piloted at HOP and Charter Academy, with the noble art helping him to grow in all aspects of his life.
Shillingford said: ‘Mateusz didn’t want to go to school when he first came to the country. But getting involved in boxing has made him more confident and he has found new friends.
‘His character has come out and his education has rose as a result.
‘He is now a head boy at his school and speaks English fluently.
‘Mateus is a success story for all the coaches who prepared him – his teachers, his club, school and Portsmouth.’