104 fights for this Hungarian national has seen him in amongst some decent heavyweights including names in our own domestic scene that resonate. His touring the world in search of foes and fees has taken in a large number of venues in cities across Europe but he has also put a belt around his waist; a national belt. It does mark him out as being slightly unusual and you can imagine that some of our journeymen who are exceptionally able, would love to hang more than a memory above the fireplace. Their sacrifice is of course to their credit, their bank balance and the health of the sport s they teach and school the new in the ways of the old.
Ferenc Zsalek, 21-76-7, 7KO’s, a man who has fought and lost 76 times is also a man who has fought and won the Hungarian national title at heavyweight at one point ending up in the final two of a four way competition in Hungary .
In 2003 he had nearly won that “super 4” tournament. He got past a semi final on a split decision against Istvan Ruzsinszky. The fight was scheduled for 4 rounds but was scored a draw after the end of the 4th. Quite uniquely this meant that they fought a 5th and final round to decide the winner! Zsalek won it!
He then lost in the final on points over 4 rounds against Tamas Baizath.
The Hungarian title became his in 2017 when he beat the unbeaten Krisztian Laska in Budapest, stopping his opponent in the 3rd round which was quite an impressive feat!
In and around about it’s a career that has seen him travel the world as gloves for hire. We have seen him no fewer than 33 times in the UK including in against Tom Little in 2014, Nick Webb in 2016, Ian Milarvie up in Glasgow in 2017 and in 2018 facing Jay McFarlane and Fabio Wardley. Not a bad set of people to face in the UK it has to be said. In 2014 he also went in against Congolese heavyweight resident in Airdrie, Martin Bakole and Otto Wallin.
If he was ever to end up being the answer in a Trivial Pursuit question, there are a few interesting facts around his career which would help frame a question including the fact that all his wins, apart from 2 have been exclusively in his home country of Hungary! He has also got a no contest on his record from 2016 when both he and Irish fighter Sean Turner refused to stop fighting after the referee tried to intervene, so we know he cares deeply about his fighting, outside of Hungary too!
The two he won outside of Hungary were in one country; Serbia.
Though he has never fought outside of Europe the passport stamps he could have been collecting cover Ukraine, Switzerland, Finland and many other European countries that make him, clearly a go to guy in the heavyweight division.
His career is therefore a curious mixture of having a presence at home and a style for hire outside of it. The Hungarians do have some interesting heavyweight characters, take Zoltan Petranyi who fought at age 52 for the IBO world heavyweight title. If Zsalek thinks he can out do his countryman, he has only a few years to go – 17 to be precise!