By Przemek Garczarczyk
Photos: Mike Gladysz/Team Adamek
“For me, watching my first fight with Steve Cunningham was like looking on some guy with my name and haircut, but a totally different fighter. My defensive stance, movement, and way I was standing in front of him, just begging to be hit – I won this fight, putting him on the floor three times, but you’ll see a different fighter in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I know that Cunningham will be ready to do everything to beat me. I’m assuming he’ll be in the best shape of his life,” said former two division world champion Tomasz Adamek in a Fightnews.com interview. Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs) will fight Cunningham (25-4, 12 KOs) on December 22 in Sands Casino-Resort.
Adamek, who we caught after his training session in Jersey City, also offers his thoughts on the recent Johnathon Banks-Seth Mitchell bout and talks about his “emergency plan” when he fought Travis Walker.
Let’s start with boxing, but not your upcoming fight with Steve Cunningham. The bout with Seth Mitchell, regarded as a new hope in American boxing, against Johnathon Banks, a man who has lost only once in his career, against you. Banks’ KO win against Seth was not a surprise for you.
Not at all. Seth has a great heart, he’s driven and strong, but to compete at the highest level that was just not enough. You have to have experience and learn boxing technique. And it never takes just a couple of years. There’s also a question of how many punches you can take without going down. Johnathon was my favorite in this fight from the start. He learned a lot from late great Emanuel Steward and it was clearly visible during fight with Mitchell. How long it will take until Seth can fight with the top fighters, skilled fighters? I doubt it will take just a year, although I wish him all the best. Could I play in the NFL because I’m strong and fast? No.
Banks was very open saying that you are one of the fighters he wants to see across from him in the ring the most. You knocked him out in 2009 and that’s his only professional defeat – there could be considerable interest in an Adamek-Banks rematch, but it looks like you could be very busy in 2013.
For now, the most important part of my schedule happens on December 22, when on NBC I will fight Steve Cunningham for the #2 spot in the IBF rankings. The winner – me – will face Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev for the number one place in the rankings and right to be mandatory IBF contender for Wladimir Klitschko’s championship belt. Buy you can never say never in this business and if I can keep my schedule, why would I NOT fight Banks? I’m better than I was in 2009. But I don’t want to talk about Banks or Pulev – Steve Cunningham is my only concern right now.
Roger Bloodworth, your trainer, is the man responsible for watching the Cunningham tapes – is there one you watch together?
Recently we watched my fight against Steve from 2008. But not to learn anything – the opposite. To see how many errors I made in this fight, how much different I fight in 2012. For me, watching my first fight with Steve Cunningham was like looking on some guy with my name and haircut, but a totally different fighter. My defensive stance, movement, and way I was standing in front of him, just begging to be hit – I won this fight, putting him on the floor three times, but you’ll see a different fighter in Bethlehem. I know that Cunningham will be ready to do everything to beat me. I’m assuming he’ll be in the best shape of his life. This is how I approach this fight but also comfortably knowing that this is my fourth fight this year and fourth training camp lasting at least 9 weeks. Do the math how much I learned during this time.
Fans are asking which Tomasz Adamek we will see on December 22 – the one before Travis Walker scored a knockdown, or the one after you got the knockdown back and won by KO?
Travis made me mad with this one punch. Really mad. In boxing the most important part is the mental one. You just have to forget what happens, completely delete it from your memory in just seconds and do one thing: payback. This is what I did when I was fighting Travis. I don’t know how to answer your question. Before every fight there is a tactical plan what I’ll do in the ring, a strategy. Fighting Travis after he knocked me down, I had to use my emergency plan. I always have it, but only for special cases.
You are a deeply religious person and this year, only 48 hours before a very important Catholic holiday, Christmas Eve, you will be in the ring. And it will happen in Bethlehem – the American version of the holy city, but still…
Yeah, it just happens this way… Strange, but I prefer to fight before Christmas Eve rather than in between holidays, which I always spend with family and friends in the church. It would not be a comfortable situation, but this is a life of professional fighter. December 22, Bethlehem, NBC national broadcast, just 70 miles from my home – sounds like great ending for 2012.