Over 30 years later, “Coach Mike” has turned boxers into champions in Moscow, Turkey, Israel and, most recently, Brooklyn.
Kozlowski made his way to DUMBO’s famous Gleason’s Gym at 77 Front Street roughly 15 years ago. Since he began training in Brooklyn, he has sent four of his boxers to the finals of the New York Golden Gloves at Madison Square Garden. Of the four, three walked away champions.
Kozlowski said he came to the states with the goal of entering the International Boxing Hall of Fame and building champions.
“I came here for the American dream,” Kozlowski said. “Not for bread.”
Kozlowski first came to the sport as a young man who was picked on in school for being short. But more important than protection, Kozlowski said, is its important for children to learn lessons that can only be taught in the ring.
“Boxing is not like so many sports now,” he said. “You must have discipline.”
When he first came to the United States. he noticed that many children were trading running shoes for video game controllers.
“I was shocked to see how kids weren’t getting enough physical education,” he said.
Kozlowski criticized many trainers today who are only focused on money and not on their fighters. He prides himself on former boxing students from as far away as Israel tracking him down to thank him for his expertise.
Gleason's Gym owner Bruce Silverglade said Kozlowski brings something different to the table.
“I have 81 trainers and Mike has a unique style,” he said. “Mike came from the USSR, so he provides the Eastern European stand-up type training. It’s good to have variety here, and he is very qualified, very disciplined and brings out the good qualities in his fighters.”
Silverglade said Kozlowski loves the sport, and enjoys training anyone interested in learning more about it.
“He does everything,” said Silverglade. “He does classes for children and women, as well as private one-on-one lessons for both amateurs and professionals.”