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Q&A: Roger Bloodworth

Trainer evaluates Adamek's performance

By Przemek Garczarczyk
Photo: Przemek Garczarczyk

Tomasz Adamek’s trainer Roger Bloodworth talks with Fightnews about some of the hot topics involving his fighter following the former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion’s fourth consecutive win in the heavyweight division. After unanimously defeating former title challenger, Michael Grant on Saturday night, nobody is questioning Adamek’s win, but many of the fans and boxing writers still have lot of questions related to “Goral’s” performance in the Prudential Center.

He attacked Grant from the first minute of the first round. Wasn’t he was risking more than expected. Shouldn’t he wait until after the much bigger and stronger rival just gets tired and then turn up the tempo?

If somebody would guarantee me before fight that this would happen, I would do it. But nobody can, and in the end we were right. Michael had spectacular conditioning; he fought every minute of every round. From the beginning we wanted to establish that Tomek can hit him at will and enforce our way of fighting. Michael won eight straight fights, lost only three in his career, and Adamek not engaging him, just passively waiting for middle rounds, would only reinforce his confidence. And Grant was already very confident before saying that he would knock Adamek out. We were risking a lot, but when you fight at this level, fighting an experienced heavyweight with 40 more pounds and more than ten inches in height, who wants to dominate you with his jab, you have to take initiative or you give the fight away. Adamek wasn’t standing in the middle of the ring, exchanging punches with Michael – it was vintage Adamek, with crisp combinations and controlled aggression.

Adamek controlled majority of the rounds, but at least twice – especially in the sixth and twelfth rounds, he was hit hard. Standing in Adamek’s corner – were you alarmed?

In these rounds Michael got Tomek with his best shots, but Tomek was still standing and punching back. It’s impossible to fight such an experienced, big and well schooled fighter and expect that he will miss every time he tries. You take them; shake your head and fight. If you are Tomasz Adamek, of course…

Round number twelve. Adamek is decisively leading on the scorecards, but instead of just playing safe, he wants to finish Grant. Hard to believe he was listening to your instructions in the corner.

We are talking about very proud, tough man here. Grant hit him with a good right and Tomek decided to hit him harder. Adamek was fighting the last three minutes more with his heart than with his usually very cool head, but this is why everybody wants to watch him, isn’t it? I was not afraid something could happen to Tomek in the last 60 seconds or so. He was keeping his balance; he knew how to make Grant miss. It probably looked worse for the casual observer than was from my view point.

He passed the “Big” test, but some of the observers are suggesting that he needs more of those big tests before he should challenge Klitschko brothers. Some already are saying that he has no chance versus the Ukrainian titleholders.

It’s a very common mistake, even among writers who know what they are writing about. You don’t fight the man’s record; you fight the real man, in the real ring. Every fight is different; nobody knows how it will look. The Klitschkos have a very unorthodox European style of fighting, but who can say that they will be difficult for Tomek? No decisions have been made yet – first I need to sit down and look the tapes. Then we will talk about what’s next.

In the only last six months, Tomek Adamek has fought 36 hard rounds – with Olympian Jason Estrada, big and hard hitting Chris Arreola and now 6-7, 260+ pound Michael Grant. It’s almost unprecedented in the elite of the heavyweight division to fight so often and versus very demanding competition…

Like I said before – we don’t have any definitive plans, but I already know that this Highlander from Gilowice will ask me in a couple of weeks when we will start the next training camp and why we have such a “long” break. Every fighter is different, but the decision if we will have one more fight this year or not, is still not made.

I asked Michael Grant after the fight, if this was a better performance than eleven years ago, when he got his last big win versus Andrew Gołota. He agreed…

He was at least as good then. I know. I was in Andrew’s corner. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad did a tremendous job with Michael, brilliant job. The younger Grant, the one we all remember, would start with all the energy, throw 35 punches per round and be dead tired in the middle of the fight. It would make things a lot easier for us than fighting the man who understood what pacing himself means, who was confident and patiently waited for his chances – even to the 12th round. Adamek, by convincingly beating a very well prepared Michael Grant, proved that he’s one of top three fighters in the world. And for every fighter and trainer in the world there’s nothing more important than winning.




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