It’s been seven months since Tomasz Adamek last climbed into the ring.
Since defeating Steve Cunningham in a highly disputed split decision last Dec. 22, the Kearny resident and heavyweight boxing contender has had to endure a driving while intoxicated arrest in Lake Placid, N.Y., in January.
After the arrest, which Adamek deemed as “nothing,” the 36-year-old native of Poland, who has lived in Kearny for the last three years, said that he needed some time away from fighting. There was somewhat of a rift between Main Events president Kathy Duva and the Adamek team, but Adamek’s absence was mainly caused by his need of rest.
“Last year, I did too much and I regressed,” Adamek said at a press conference last week, promoting his next fight Aug. 3 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., against up-and-coming fighter Joey Grano. “I needed some time for rest. I’m not 20 anymore. I’m older. I was tired. Now I feel good. I feel like a young boy again. I’m ready to come back.”
The Adamek-Grano fight will be televised live on NBC’s Sports Network as part of its popular Friday Night Fights package. Adamek has been featured on the network four times already. The two fighters are anticipated to take the ring around 10:30 p.m. that night.
Adamek said that his arrest had nothing to do with his time away from the ring.
“It was a long time ago,” Adamek said. “Everything is settled. I’m not worried about it. I’ve forgotten about it already. I’m thinking more about training for this fight.”
Adamek, now 48-2 lifetime, is working his way back toward getting another world championship title fight, ever since he lost to Vitali Klitschko in Sept. 2011 via a 12th round technical knockout. He has won four straight bouts since that loss, including the win over Cunningham, which many experts felt he lost.
With that win, Adamek earned the right to fight top challenger and undefeated Kubrat Pulev, but Adamek has declined the chance to battle the undefeated Bulgarian.
Adamek, ranked as the No. 4 heavyweight in the world, and his promoter, Ziggy Rozalski, also of Kearny, of Ziggy Promotions, tried to secure a bout outside of the Main Events banner, but those attempts fell awry.
“We have had a long and beautiful relationship with Ziggy, Roger (Bloodworth, Adamek’s trainer) and Tomasz,” Duva said. “There was a period there where we were estranged. His contract ran out and he wanted to test the waters. But he made the decision to come back to us. We want to be able to work together throughout his career.”
“We had a couple offers, but Kathy gave us the best deal,” Adamek said. “We want to stay with Kathy.”
It’s the 12th card that Main Events is doing with the NBC Sports Network, but it will mark the first time Adamek has had to move to the opponent’s home turf.
The 32-year-old Grano (20-3-1), who lost his last fight to Eric Molina April 27, is a Hartford, Conn., native. He has fought seven times at Mohegan Sun, posting a 6-1 record in those fights. He was training in Florida and unable to attend the press conference.
Adamek isn’t worried that he’s facing Grano in his familiar surroundings.
“It’s going to be an interesting fight,” Adamek said. “I’ve had fights in Germany, England, California, where I wasn’t the favorite of the crowd. I think the Polish crowd will be bigger than Grano’s crowd. I’m a warrior with a big heart. I’m a top heavyweight. Everyone wants to fight me.”
Bloodworth knows that there’s work to be done with his boxer.
“Tomasz has been off for a while,” Bloodworth said. “But he hasn’t been idle. We’ve been working on his technique. We know that Tony Grano comes to fight. We’ve had a pretty good camp so far.”
“Roger is the one who looks at the opponent,” Adamek said. “We’ve been training for about eight-to-10 weeks now about what the opponent does. I’m 36 now and have been fighting a long time. But I’m still learning and I’m never satisfied. Roger is my teacher and he’s never stopped teaching me. I have to be ready for anything. I want to be quick. That’s why I’m training so hard.”
Duva said that she tried to get the Prudential Center, Adamek’s boxing home, to host the event, but Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus is occupying “The Rock” on Aug. 3.
“We couldn’t line up anything in advance at the Prudential Center,” Diva said. “Tomasz has an established, well-known name who brings fans to his fights. We would have loved to have the Prudential Center, but with NBC’s calendar, it just didn’t work.”
Adamek is confident that he could get another shot at the heavyweight championship.
“I’m looking for a title fight next year,” Adamek said. “But I can’t look ahead. I have to win Aug. 3. I needed the rest and I’ve come back now.”
Adamek doesn’t want to consider what happens if he loses.
“If God lets me win this next fight, I’ll go on,” Adamek said. “If not, then I stop. This is my destiny. I’ll get a signal when my time is over. I feel comfortable right now and feel good. If I have a feeling I can’t do it anymore, then it’s my time to quit. But not now.”
Also on the Aug. 3 card will be Eddie Chambers, a boxer who lost to Adamek last year, but is now trying the cruiserweight division. Chambers will fight Thabiso Mchunu on the undercard. Middleweight Curtis Stevens will also fight Saul Roman in another of the seven bouts that evening.
But all eyes will be on the Kearny resident, making somewhat of a comeback.
“I’m strong mentally now,” Adamek said. “It’s good that I came back.”
Adamek believes he’s ready for another challenge in the ring.
“I feel fresh and ready to come back,” Adamek said. “It’s time for me to come back.”