By Matt Richardson
Sportsmanship and mutual respect was the theme of a subdued post-fight press conference early Saturday evening just minutes after former two-division title-holder Tomasz Adamek rose from a second round knockdown to stop Travis Walker in a wild heavyweight fight at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Both Adamek and Walker traded knockdowns in a vicious second round before Adamek bounced back to stop Walker on his feet in the fifth.
“Travis is a great fighter,” said Adamek (47-2, 29 KO’s). “I was the better fighter today. I felt he was weaker and weaker with every punch I hit him with. Thank you to Travis because we made a good fight for everybody.”
“I’m kind of known for getting excited after I hurt somebody,” said a visibly saddened Walker, who had a similarly thrilling fight with Chris Arreola in 2009. “I’ve been waiting for that moment my whole career. I forced it instead of just letting it come.”
In the co-feature of the day, former IBF cruiserweight title-holder Steve Cunningham snapped a two-fight losing streak by beating Jason Gavern in his first fight as a heavyweight.
“This has been an experience for me,” said Cunningham (25-4, 12 KO’s). “I felt I was being elbowed out of the cruiserweight division. I want to be the heavyweight champion. I want to be champion. I just look forward to the future.”
Cunningham said he ideally wants to weigh between 210 and 215 pounds in the future (he was 207 for the Gavern fight). “We want to make some moves in the division,” he said. “I believe I can beat (Alexander) Povetkin. I believe I can beat him.”
“Right now, there are a lot of plans,” said promoter Kathy Duva. A potential rematch between Adamek and Cunningham, who engaged in one of the best fights in recent memory in the same building in 2008, would be a natural fit for both fighters. Or they could face an upcoming prospect like Bryant Jennings.
“I came prepared and that’s what happens when you come prepared,” Jennings (15-0, 7 KO’s) said after scoring a 35-second stoppage of Chris Koval in the fight before Cunningham’s.
In fact, Adamek, Walker, Cunningham and Jennings all performed admirably with nothing to be ashamed of. If you mix and match any of the four men, you could wind up seeing similarly exciting contests in the future.