Warming Up With Steve Cunningham And Tomasz Adamek


Because I’m going to be covering the undisputed cruiserweight (200 lbs.) championship fight Thursday between Steve Cunningham and Tomasz Adamek live in Newark, N.J., I’m going to give it more deluxe treatment than I might otherwise. It’s not that the fight’s undeserving; is completely is. That I knew it would be further under the radar than it should be is one of the two reasons I picked it to seek a credential. (The other is that it was on the East Coast and therefore easily accessible for me by ground transport.)

Why does it deserve to be more prominently placed in the radar than it is? 1. It’s coming in the shadow of the biggest fight of the year, the past weekend’s 147-pound bout between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. 2. It’s between Cunningham, the #1-ranked man in the division, and Adamek, the #2-ranked man in the division, which means it’s for the vacant, true lineal championship of the world, the Ring magazine belt. 3. Since it is for that belt, it’s arguably the most meaningful fight yet to be placed on Versus Network, and I’d like to see this kind of thing encouraged. 4. Cunningham and Adamek are both fighters for whom I have a fondness and should make for a competitive match.

That’s enough for now — I’ll elaborate later. In the meantime, enjoy the above banner that a publicist for the Cunningham team offered as a link exchange. Then, when you click on “read more,” enjoy a news release featuring some quotes from Adamek and Cunningham provided by Don King Productions.

NEWARK, N.J.–Boxers preparing for the International Boxing Federation world-championship doubleheader on Thursday at Prudential Center–the first title card in Newark in 60 years (VERSUS 8 p.m. ET/PT)–participated in a media workout today.

IBF cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham (21-1, 11 KOs), from Philadelphia, said his Polish-born opponent Tomasz Adamek shouldn’t place too much emphasis on the fact he was able to defeat former undisputed cruiserweight world champion O’Neil “Supernova” Bell in April.

“Tomasz Adamek didn’t beat O’Neil Bell.  O’Neil Bell quit.  If Adamek has a false sense of hope because of that win, he needs to know there’s no quit in me.  I haven’t put in all this work and become world champion to go out on my stool.  The only way I go out without my belt is if they carry me out.”

“I still live in the hood in Philadelphia as a world champion.  I’m still trying to get out of the hood.  That’s motivation enough for me to win right there.”

Former World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Adamek (35-1, 24 KOs) Adamek, who did not participate in the today’s media workout, was reached by phone.

“I prefer to spend the last few days of training alone,” Adamek said.  “I’ll see Cunningham on Thursday night.  I expect this match to go the same way as the Bell fight where nothing surprised me and I was able to dictate the pace of the fight.”

The co-feature pits IBF bantamweight champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko (25-1, 22 KOs), from Accra, Ghana, against his mandatory challenger, IBF No. 1-ranked William “Chirizo” Gonzalez (21-2, 19 KOs), from Managua, Nicaragua.

“I saw Agbeko defeat Luis Perez to become champion but I didn’t see anything special in him,” Gonzalez, making his first world-title appearance, said.  “I don’t think he’s special.  I am very confident.  This match is very important to me and my future, but I’m trying to not think of that right now, only about Agbeko and his championship.  I will defeat him and win his belt.

When told of the challenger’s boasts, Agbeko was undaunted.

“I’m glad Gonzalez is confident,” Agbeko said.  “He will need his confidence to stay in the ring with me.  I know he’s 21 and 2, but he’s never been in the ring with King Kong.”

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.