CHICAGO - Tomasz Adamek hardly would have known from all the “Polska” chants at the United Center that he was half a world away from his native Poland.
Adamek (29-0, 20 KOs) didn't disappoint the home crowd. His European style, spiced up with numerous stinging counter hooks, helped the No.3 WBC light heavyweight contender earn the vacant title over Australian and top contender Paul Briggs (23-2, 22 KOs) on Saturday.
“This was my best fight ever,” Adamek said. “Briggs was a strong, tough fighter, but I was never going to give up. I know I made my country and family proud.”
Adamek capped off one of the best fights underneath the Lamon Brewster-Andrew Golota main event, which seemed to draw a healthy portion of Chicago's Polish population. Despite the incessant “Adamek, Adamek” chanted by the crowd, Briggs earned a few chants of his own with powerful counters halfway into the fight, two of which staggered Adamek. But the Pole never left his feet.
Briggs was hampered by a cut over his left eye, which was caused by an unintentional headbutt at the start of the second. The cut received an initial examination, but bled heavily throughout the bout. Briggs was permitted to complete all 12 rounds.
Roshii Wells seemed intent on repeating his dominance over Alejandro Garcia to defend the WBA super welterweight belt. But six consecutive hooks from Garcia 2:52 into the ninth gave Garcia the interim title by technical knockout. The call by referee Pete Poogorski didn't sit well with Wells, who had been knocked down twice earlier in the fight.
“He should have let it go,” Wells said. “I want to fight Garcia again.”
Garcia, who lost a unanimous decision to Wells in 2003, didn't have a rematch in mind. He named Cory Spinks and Daniel Santos as prospective opponents.
“I showed my promoter Don King that I am skilled and strong,” Garcia said. “I just need more fights to be in the top of the boxing world.”
Carlos Baldomir's unanimous decision over Miguel Rodriguez in their WBC welterweight elimination bout set him up for a shot at Zab Judah's crown.
Although neither fighter exhibited the same speed of the current champion, Baldomir kept Rodriguez on his heals until the last two rounds.
“It was the hardest fight of my career,” Rodriguez said. “He was uncomfortable to fight. He never let me set my punches and box the way I know. I tried to pull it off, but he was better tonight.”
In the cruiserweight attraction, Guillermo Jones landed a series of hard hooks that wobbled former IBF world champion Kelvin Davis enough in the fourth for a TKO at 42 seconds of the round.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV