By Mike Samuels
Heavyweight prospect Jordan Shimmell was unsure and beginning to feel frustrated with being unable to land his next opponent for an April 27th date in Minnesota when he accepted an invitation last week to fly to Going, Austria to spar with heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to help the younger Klitschko brother in preparation for his heavyweight title defense against Francesco Pianeta (28-0, 15 KO’s).
One week into sparring with the younger Klitschko brother and the Hudsonville, Michigan native and seven-time Michigan State Golden Gloves champion can rest a little easier knowing he now has an opponent for his tenth fight as a professional.
Byron “The Bear” Polley (25-14-1, 11 KO’s), a 33-year-old native of Saint Joseph, Missouri, has agreed to face the up and coming Shimmell which is something Jordan respects knowing just how intimidating it may be for someone to take a fight knowing their opponent has been sparring with one of the two best heavyweights of the last decade.
“It is a big advantage for me, but in this sport anything can happen,” Shimmell explained to Cory Olsen of Mlive.com. “It only takes one punch to change a fight. If the tables were turned and my opponent was the one sparring Klitschko before our fight, I’m not sure exactly how I would feel. I suppose I would feel that much better about myself after I won, although I don’t plan on losing my upcoming fight.”
After taking a few big head shots from Dr. Steel Hammer, Shimmell has adjusted well going into the second week of sparring with Klitschko and is sure to walk away from this opportunity a better professional fighter.
“All the sparring partners were able to connect with at least a body shot or two, including myself,” Shimmell said. “I was much more aggressive and came forward with a lot more jabs. I landed a few punches and managed to actually slip out of the way of a few of Wladimir’s punches.”
Bryon Polley is 2-6 with 1-no-contest in his last 8 fights, including a 3rd round TKO loss in his most recent outing against Vinny Maddalone this past December. However, his 25 victories as a professional is the highest win total for any opponent who previously stepped in the squared circle with Shimmell.
Shimmell is up to for the challenge and just thankful to finally be fighting.
“I’m glad I have an opponent lined up for my fight because that takes some of the stress out of the picture,” Shimmell said. “I will continue to train hard and better prepare myself for this upcoming bout.”
Shimmell is sure to cause stress for Polley, having knocked out 8 of his 9 opponents in two rounds or less since turning professional in June of 2012.
Shimmell is coming off a 1st round TKO victory over Brad Johnson this past March.
Prior to joining the pro ranks, Shimmell won seven Michigan State Golden Glove championships including a National Golden Gloves title in 2009.