Former WBC Light Heavyweight titlist Tomasz Adamek showed that a recent win over ex-cruiserweight champion O'Neil Bell was no fluke as the 32 year old Polish boxer took the fight to IBF Cruiser Champ Steve Cunningham on a Don King promotion last night at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ and came away with a split decision verdict.
The action was fast and furious as Cunningham sought to parlay his height and reach advantage into a winning form against the challenger but Adamek used his edge in quickness and handspeed well, knocking down the champion on multiple occasions.
“I knew after the first round that he could not hurt me," said Adamek. "I knew I could go forward always, like I did against Paul Briggs in the two fights I had with him. Even when his punches connected, I was okay. I also knew that every straight right would put him down and they did. I have faster hands and I could always hit him with one more shot than he could hit me with.
"Thanks to my coach Andrew Gimitruk for teaching me ring discipline. This has helped me greatly when I would lose the first half of a round because I knew in the end I would come back and win it. I could imagine going to heavyweight someday. I feel that good at cruiserweight.”
Cunningham showed great sportsmanship in defeat but nearly had Adamek out of the fight during a furious fourth round. A rematch could be in the making as the bout was very competitive.
“My game plan tonight was to box," said Cunningham. "I thought I had him in the fourth, so I went for a knockout and he caught me. It cost me the fight. That’s boxing.
“He didn’t hit that hard. They were all flash knockdowns. Even though I never felt I was hurt, you’ve got to give Adamek credit for the knockdowns. Other than that, I put in some good work. I did my best. The judges favored Tomasz tonight, but I’d love to do it again.
“I feel bad because I lost my IBF belt tonight but I feel good for the cruiserweight division. I think Adamek and I showed how exciting this division can be.”
Also on the bill, Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko, 26-1 (22), retained his IBF Bantamweight crown with a twelve round majority decision over challenger William Gonzalez, 21-3 (19),
“I think I deserved a unanimous decision," said Agbeko. "Gonzalez gave me good competition, but I think I clearly beat him. He was a tough guy but he had never been in the ring with King Kong, the little man with the big punches.”
Gonzalez wasn't in agreement with the champion. “The headbutts I received really knocked me off my game," he said. "I won the second round and was feeling good but the bleeding from my eyebrows were distracting me.”