By Jim Hague
Ever since he left his native Poland for a better life in the United States six years ago, Kearny resident Tomasz Adamek has had just one goal in mind – to become the heavyweight champion of the world.
Now, Adamek is poised to get that chance of a lifetime and has to travel back to his homeland to get the opportunity.
Adamek is en route back to Poland where he will take on mammoth Russian WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on Saturday, Sept. 10, in a fight that will be televised live nationally on HBO Sports, beginning at 4:45 p.m. locally.
Before he boarded the plane last Thursday, Adamek took part in a conference call with members of the media, upon the conclusion of his 10-week training camp in the hills of Pennsylvania, far from his home in Kearny.
“I am sure that this was my destiny,” said Adamek, who will take his 44-1 professional record into the ring against the much-larger Klitschko, whose brother Vladimir holds the other two heavyweight title belts.
“Speed is power,” Adamek said. “I know I’m faster than him. Speed means everything.”
Adamek was asked if he had any apprehension about fighting the 6-foot-7, 285-pound Klitschko, who literally dwarfs Adamek in the pre-fight promotional posters.
“I am never afraid going into the ring with a big guy,” Adamek said. “I’m still quick and if I stay quick, I can beat anyone. I know he’s a strong guy and he’s the champion. But speed is power. I think I feel comfortable coming up to him.”
Adamek’s trainer, Roger Bloodworth, believes that Adamek is ready for the challenge to fight Klitschko. After all, Adamek disposed of much bigger fighters in Chris Arreola, Michael Grant and Kevin McBride in recent years.
“Tomasz is a warrior,” Bloodworth said. “His mind is very strong. I think that attitude will help him.”
Adamek is happy to be fighting in front of 45,000 fans in a specially built stadium for the bout in Wroclaw, Poland.
“The stadium is going to be so loud,” Adamek said. “I have so many fans in Poland. Everyone is going to want to see the new heavyweight champion. I’ve had 10 weeks of training camp and I feel good. My mind is very strong. Camp was very good for me. I am ready to fight.”
Adamek was asked about the size difference, which appears to be a mismatch. Adamek stands 6-foot-2 and weighs almost 220 pounds.
“I feel strong,” Adamek said. “Size is not the problem. It’s all in the heart. The heart is very important. This is what I’ve been waiting for.”
Bloodworth said that they worked on strength and conditioning in training camp.
“It was a very good camp,” said Bloodworth, who used to train with Adamek in Jersey City, in the gym owned by fellow Kearny resident Ziggy Rozalski, who manages Adamek’s career.
“I think it’s always a good idea to go away before a big fight like this,” Bloodworth said. “It allows you to concentrate on what you have to get done.”
Bloodworth also worked on Adamek’s diet in order to get him stronger to face the much larger champion.
“He was able to eat the way he wanted and that has helped him,” Bloodworth said.
“I like to eat,” Adamek laughed. “I’m happy I could eat.”
Main Events President Kathy Duva is already in Poland to prepare for the fight. She understands that her boxer is a big underdog.
“Anyone who fights Klitschko has to be the underdog,” Duva said. “But everyone here in Poland is picking Tomasz to win. They’re all very excited here already.”
Adamek knows that you get only one chance at chasing a dream. At 33, there might not be another opportunity. It is a chance of a lifetime.
“It’s always been my dream and I have to do what I always wanted,” Adamek said.
Just maybe, the next heavyweight boxing champion of the world could be living in our own backyard. It’s something this area has never experienced before – and may never again. How wild would it be if the heavyweight champion of the entire world lived in Kearny? It’s the most prestigious belt in all of boxing – and come next week, it could very well be owned by one of our own.