Boxing


Tomasz Adamek: "I Couldn't Breathe During That Fight—I Was Choking On My Blood."

buddy mcgirt30.09.06 - By Jacqui Snow: Fans in the United States will finally get the opportunity to see Poland's Tomasz "Goral [Highlander]" Adamek (30-0, 21 KO's) on television when he rematches Australia's Paul Briggs (25-2, 18 KOs) for the WBC Light Heavyweight belt on October 7th. The bout's being shown on HBO as the undercard of the WBA Heavyweight title fight between Nikolay Valuev (44-0, 32 KOs) and Monte Barrett (31-4, 17 KOs.)

Adamek's speedy footwork, granite chin, devastating punching power and—perhaps most of all—his heart have made him a favorite of internet boxing forums, but he's known to only the most hardcore American boxing fans because none of his fights have been televised in the United States.

"I want to show the best of me in the United States and I hope Americans will become my fans after the fight," Adamek told me in an exclusive interview. Adamek's first battle with Briggs for the vacant WBC Light Heavyweight title took place last May at Chicago's United Centre. The largely Polish crowd had come to watch Andrew Golota try to wrest the WBO Heavyweight title from Lamon Brewster. While that result failed to materialize, the 20,000+ fans were treated to an undercard that was easily a candidate for fight of the year. Briggs and Adamek fought a Gatti/Ward-type slugfest, with both boxers throwing and landing at an incredible rate. Adamek won the first few rounds, in part due to an accidental headbutt which caused a huge cut above Briggs' left eye. But in the third, Briggs came to life and started to throw massive power shots. Adamek countered with rapid combination punches and left hooks to the head and body. Briggs staggered Adamek during the later rounds, but was never able to knock him down. After the brawl was over, the judges awarded the title to Adamek by way of majority decision.

"I broke my nose three weeks before that fight and I hadn't recovered completely from that injury," Adamek said. "Paul's punch renewed that injury and I was fighting Paul with only my will and with God's help. I couldn't breathe during that fight—I was choking on my blood. Now that I'm completely healed and fully recovered, I will show the world how I can fight!"

Following the war with Briggs, Adamek traveled to Germany in October to fight hometown favorite Thomas Ulrich. The match was exciting, entertaining and—once again—not televised in the United States. Ulrich, a bronze medalist at the 1996 Olympics, was a game opponent, but he was dismantled by Adamek's long jab and crafty combinations. Ulrich did manage to land some power punches, but they seemed to have no effect on Adamek. Finally, in the 6th round, Adamek landed a huge straight right that dropped Ulrich to the canvas, where he was counted out.

Adamek has been away from the ring since that date, but he's kept himself very active and has been training hard all year. He recently settled a lawsuit he'd filed for breach of contract against Don King, claiming that the promoter failed to deliver on a promise of four fights a year.

"The conflict has finally been solved," Adamek says. "I always believed it could be solved and I prayed for that."

For the rematch with Briggs, Adamek's been training with Buddy McGirt, who will be in his corner during the fight. When I asked Adamek whether McGirt's training would result in a more defensive fight and less of a slugfest, he replied, "Buddy prefers a more technical style, so that's what I'm going to focus on."

Although Adamek certainly isn't looking past the rematch with Briggs, he does have a few potential opponents on his wish-list.

"My dream is to fight Glen Johnson, Roy Jones Jr., Antonio Tarver or Bernard Hopkins, but I'm ready to fight anyone!"

I asked Adamek whether he'd move up in weight class for the right fight. He replied, "I haven't considered it at this point. I feel like I still have a lot to do at light-heavyweight,"

Regardless of the outcome, fight fans are in for a treat on October 7th. Both Adamek and Briggs are sensational, crowd-pleasing fighters who put 100% on the line each time they step into the ring and this bout will probably steal the show from the headline event.

Special thanks to Michal Koper (www.bokser.org)

Article posted on 01.10.2006



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