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Cunningham: We have a score to settle

USS Cunningham on fighting Tomasz Adamek on December 22

By Przemek Garczarczyk
Photo: Wojtek Kubik

“There’s no one recipe how to beat him; you have to mix it up, do a lot of things in the ring, and even the best advice from friends will not win this fight for me. It’s very simple, really: I have a score to settle with Adamek. It’ll be just me and him in the ring, lots of emotion. I will everything to win this fight. We both know that,” – said Steve Cunningham (25-4, 12 KO) in a Fightnews.com interview in advance of his second encounter with Tomasz Adamek (47-2, 29 KO). Their first fight, in December of 2008, was a boxing classic when Adamek won IBF cruiserweight title. On December 22 at the Sands Casino-Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the #2 spot in the IBF heavyweight rankings and a possible fight with champion Wladimir Klitschko will be the main prize. The fight will be broadcast on NBC network TV beginning 4PM ET. The card is presented by Main Events and Ziggy Promotions in association with Peltz Boxing.

What do you remember the most from the first Adamek fight, four years ago?

Being surprised with the outcome. Before this fight in 2008, our plan was clear – knock him out. When I’m saying that I was surprised; I meant that I was not disappointed with my performance, I did what I was supposed to do dominating the fight, but these three knockdowns just changed the whole picture.

Would you agree that in couple of rounds, your fighting character, going forward, wanting to finish Adamek right here, right now, was your worst enemy?

Yes and no. No, because my character and heart is who I am as a person and fighter. Yes, because maybe I needed to be a little smarter, little more calculated a couple of times. Anyway, for me in 2008 it should be – in the worst case scenario – a draw, because I was down three times, but I also was up every time.

In the first fight you were a betting favorite to beat Adamek. It will not happen on December 22 in Bethlehem, because of Adamek’s success in the heavyweight division and your lack of experience. Polish bookies have you as 3-1 underdog.

I’m not worrying about it at all. I’m almost never a favorite, like I was not a favorite when I fought Marco Huck in Germany or Krzysztof Włodarczyk in Poland. It did not stop me from beating them.

When I spoke with Tomasz Adamek about battling you again, Tomek said that you won’t be able to use virtually anything from your previous encounter because he’s a totally different fighter now. Beginning with his defensive stance, ending with his offensive approach. Would you agree?

It could very well be the truth. He had to change a lot moving to the heavyweight division, and it obviously worked very well for him. But this will not matter on December 22. It was easy decision to take this fight and me having just one fight with a tough cookie like Jason Gavern in the heavyweight division changes nothing. He will be about 225, I will be lighter of course, but I spend my whole life sparring and being in training camps with not only heavier but bigger fighters than Adamek. It was so many of them, starting with Vitali Klitschko, then Thompson, Witherspoon. McCall…

You mentioned that the decision to take the Adamek fight was an easy one – is there something you see in his fighting you want to explore, take advantage off?

I’m not sure there’s a single thing Tomasz Adamek does badly, something you can say: “let’s go after this!” Adamek is the number four heavyweight in the world for a reason. He’s a very good fighter and I just want to take his spotlight, I want people to see how good I am, prove my skills and dedication to the sport. I just want to take his place.

Is there a Philly versus Adamek war going on? First Eddie Chambers, now you, in the same year? Will you talk to Eddie about his experiences of fighting Tomek?

Eddie and I, we are close friends, talking to each other almost every day, but I doubt it I will ask him about Adamek. There’s no one recipe how to beat him; you have to mix it up, do a lot of things in the ring, and even the best advice from friends will not win this fight for me. It’s very simple, really: I have score to settle with Adamek, it will be just me and him in the ring, lots of emotion. I will everything to win this fight. We both know that.




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