Sept. 8 battle with Walker an afternoon production
By Jim Hague
Tomasz Adamek knows that he’s not getting any younger. The Kearny resident and top heavyweight boxing contender will turn 36 in December. He understands that he cannot be a boxer forever; that the window of opportunity to fight again for the heavyweight championship he lost last September is closing rapidly.
That’s why Adamek doesn’t want to waste time away from the ring. After defeating Eddie Chambers June 16 at the Prudential Center in Newark, Adamek has already booked his next fight, a Sept. 8 showdown with monstrous Travis Walker of Houston.
However, the Adamek-Walker heavyweight showdown and undercard will feature something different. It will be held in the afternoon in order so that the fight can be televised live via pay-per-view back to Adamek’s native Poland.
The card will begin at 2 p.m. with the Adamek- Walker fight slated to begin around 5 p.m.
“It’s 5 p.m. here, but it’s 11 p.m. in Poland,” Adamek explained at a pre-fight press conference last Wednesday at the Prudential Center. “Usually, the people in Poland have to get up at 4:30-5 o’clock in the morning to see me fight here. This is good for us.”
Adamek’s immense popularity in his native land has caused the promoters to push the card in the afternoon.
“They play football in the afternoon and basketball,” said Kathy Duva, the president of Main Events, the primary promoter for the card, along with Ziggy Promotions, headed by Kearny resident Ziggy Rozalski. “They play hockey in the afternoon. Back in the day, there were all televised boxing shows were in the afternoon. Pay-per-view is the way Tomasz makes his money. By bringing the fight to prime time in Poland, we can get more viewers. It’s ideal for them.”
In fact, plans are already in place to have Adamek’s next fight take place in December, also in the afternoon. It may cut down on attendance in the Prudential Center, Adamek’s home away from home, but it will lead to more revenue in Poland.
“We just have to make sure to get the message out that it’s in the afternoon,” Duva said. “That’s the challenge.”
Adamek, now 46-2 with 28 knockouts in his professional career, has won his last two fights after losing to Vitali Klitschko in Poland for the WBC heavyweight title last September, defeating Nagy Aguilera in March and Chambers in June.
He was asked if he needed more time off after his last fight.
“No, I move quickly,” Adamek said. “I can’t stay home. I have nothing to do there. I want to be in the ring.”
Adamek has no qualms facing a much larger opponent. The 33-year-old Walker, who has a 39-7-1 career mark with 31 knockouts, stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 245 pounds.
“I’m getting a chance to fight Travis,” Adamek said. “He’s a tough fighter and he wants to fight. It’s a good challenge for me. I’m ready for a good fight.”
Adamek has already been training for the Walker fight, doing daily work at his training location in Jersey City.
“We’re in our third week of training,” Adamek said. “I feel good and healthy.”
Adamek said that he’s still on course for another possible heavyweight title fight in 2013.
“That’s the goal,” Adamek said. “I’ll be ready for another title fight then. By next year in the summer, I’ll be ready for that chance. This is the kind of fi ght people want to see. Travis is a warrior. It will be a good fight.”
Walker, who won his last fight in March against Kali Meehan in Australia, knows that this fi ght represents his last chance at eventually fighting for a heavyweight title.
“It’s definitely a good chance, as well as my last chance,” said the Tallahassee, Florida native. “It’s taken me four years to get back up in the rankings (currently No. 12 among heavyweights) and I don’t have four years to get back again.”
Walker knows fighting Adamek is a big challenge.
“He’s more like a light heavyweight with the way he moves,” Walker said. “I have to respect that. He also throws a lot of punches and moves well, so I have to be ready for that. I’m already working on his style, but I’m going to have things for him.”
Walker said that he watched tapes of Adamek’s last fight against Chambers.
“He (Chambers) was hitting Adamek any time he wanted with his right hand,” Walker said. “That gives me encouragement. I thought Chambers won that fight. I have to put the decision in my own hands. I can’t leave it to the judges.”
The two fighters have two mutual opponents in Chris Arreola and Jason Estrada. Adamek defeated the much larger Arreola in April of 2010, while Walker was knocked out by Arreola in the third round of a fight in November of 2008. Both fi ghters defeated Estrada in their respective careers.
The fight will mark the ninth time that Adamek has fought in the nearby Prudential Center. Adamek has an unblemished 8-0 record at “The Rock.”
Adamek believes that he deserves to get another shot at the heavyweight crown.
“Yeah, I feel I deserve it,” Adamek said. “Every time I fight, I learn something. The fight in Poland (against Klitschko), I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t the true Tomasz Adamek. I trained in Poland for only nine days. I made a mistake. I messed up. Everyone makes mistakes. When I have the next chance, I’ll be ready.”
This next fight is a step in that direction.