A no-nonsense, non-stop action fighter who makes for “Fight of the Year” candidates more often than most, Tomasz Adamek returns to SHOWTIME to defend his IBF cruiserweight title against undefeated Johnathon Banks in the main event Friday, Feb. 27, on ShoBox: The New Generation (live at 11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). How exciting is the aggressive-minded Adamek? Three of his last nine fights have been legitimate candidates for “Fight of the Year”. So will Adamek-Banks turn out to be another “Fight of the Year” nominee? “You never know, you’ll just have to watch and see,” said Adamek, a quiet, humble man outside the ring who turns into a raging tiger inside. “I come to fight and give my best and put on a show for the fans. It’s all about winning and I will do whatever it takes to win.”
Adamek (36-1, 24 KOs), of Jersey City, N.J., by way of Poland, will be making the first defense of his IBF title against Detroit’s Banks (20-0, 14 KOs), the IBF’s No. 8-ranked contender who is managed and trained by Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
In the 12-round ShoBox co-feature, Giovanni Lorenzo (26-1, 18 KOs), of New York City via the Dominican Republic, will be opposed by Dionisio Miranda (19-3-2, 17 KO’s) of Barranquilla, Colombia, in an IBF middleweight elimination bout. The winner could be next in line to challenge champion Arthur Abraham.
The event is promoted by Main Events and Ziggy Promotions, in association with K2 Promotions. Tickets, priced from $38, can be purchased at The Prudential Center box office, by visiting its website (www.prucenter.com) or by calling Ticketmaster (201) 507-8900. Non-televised undercard bouts begin at 8:30 p.m. ET.
“Adamek is so all-action and relentless, it’s inconceivable he could be in a boring fight, but it’s his vulnerabilities — he’s hard to miss — that make him so appealing and fun to watch,” ShoBox play-by-play announcer Nick Charles said. “Because of that give-and-take style, you don’t want to get caught looking away during an Adamek fight.”
Two notable Adamek slugfests came in victories over Paul Briggs in May 2005 and again in October 2007 (on SHOWTIME). The third came in his last start when he upset defending champion and previously unbeaten Steve Cunningham to capture the IBF 200-pound title on Dec. 11, 2008.
“Adamek has established himself as clearly the best fighter in his division and not many top fighters can say that,” ShoBox expert analyst Steve Farhood said. “He’s been consistently crowd-pleasing in two divisions. Against a puncher like Banks, there’s every reason to believe that this will be highly entertaining, just like Adamek’s fight with Steve Cunningham.”
A former World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight champion, Adamek registered three knockdowns yet narrowly outpointed Cunningham on Dec. 11, 2008, at the Prudential Center.
Adamek, a 3-1 underdog, was triumphant in a scorching 36-minute argument characterized by numerous give-and-take exchanges and significant swings in momentum by the scores of 116-110, 115-112 and 112-114.
The punishing, epic battle with Cunningham not only was one of the most exhilarating of ’08 but one of the most exciting championship fights in the history of the division. Only the instant classic, historic first fight between Evander Holyfield and Dwight Muhammad Qawi may have been better. (Incidentally, that 1987 bout was promoted by Main Events and aired on SHOWTIME)
By outlasting Cunningham in a remarkable display of courage and guts, the granite-chinned, six-foot-two-and-a-half-inch, 32-year-old Adamek remained undefeated as a cruiserweight and became one of the very few Polish fighters to win world titles in two divisions
“I’m really looking forward to fighting again on SHOWTIME at the Prudential Center,” said Adamek, whose only defeat came on a decision in a hard-fought contest to unbeaten southpaw Chad Dawson in February 2007 on SHOWTIME. “Banks packs a mean punch, but I’ll be ready. This will be a great fight.”
Banks has made the vast majority of his starts in the United States, but he is much more well-known and popular in Germany where he is the main sparring partner for world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. He has appeared on the same cards as Klitschko, who also is trained by Steward.
“If I were in Germany, it’d be a whole bunch of people waiting for me to sign autographs,” said the confident, hard-hitting Banks, who will provide Adamek with a stern challenge. If triumphant, Banks will become the 31st ShoBox alum to attain a world title.
In his last outing, the six-foot-3, 26-year-old Banks scored a 12-round majority decision over Vincenzo Rossitto of Italy in a match for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) cruiserweight crown on July 12, 2008, in Hamburg, Germany.
An accomplished amateur at 178 pounds, Banks also makes for excellent scraps. His most noteworthy victory may have been against Eliseo Castillo when he rallied from two first-round knockdowns to flatten the Cuban in the fourth round of a thriller in July 2006.
“Adamek, we know, is an aggressive, rough, tough fighter,” Steward said. “Banks is a guy that fights up to his competition. Adamek’s got to be the favorite. But when you have a puncher (Banks) in there you’ll be surprised. I think Banks is a better puncher than Cunningham. I think it’s going to be an exciting fight.
“Banks knows he can’t try to box and run for 12 rounds so he’s not going to do it.”
The aforementioned Charles will call the ShoBox action with Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
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