ZAGREB, Croatia—After World Boxing Council light heavyweight champion Tomasz Adamek successfully defended his title for the first time against mandatory challenger Thomas Ulrich by sixth-round knockout on Saturday in Düsseldorf, Germany, his promoter Don King departed on Sunday for a state visit to Croatia.
King represents undefeated prospect Mario Preskar (7-0-1, 4 KOs), who accompanied the promoter during King’s first visit to the heavyweight’s hometown of Zagreb.
King, his son Carl and Preskar met with Croatian President Stepjan Mesic on Monday morning at the presidential compound, a wooded park-like area not far from the center of Zagreb.
During their breakfast meeting, King hailed Mesic as a visionary for standing up for his beliefs of true freedom and democracy for his people. Mesic was impressed with King’s knowledge.
“If Don King ever moves to Croatia, I want him to be a part of my team,” Mesic said.
Mesic was jailed for a year in 1975 for promoting Croatian independence within what was then Yugoslavia while Josip Broz Tito was in power. He will always be remembered for being the last president of the former Yugoslavia.
Mesic was elected president of Croatia in 1999 and was reelected earlier this year for a second term, which will conclude in 2010.
King, Carl King and Preskar then met with Zagreb’s Mayor Milan Bandic at a meeting attended by members of his staff and the press. The charismatic mayor and the ebullient promoter became fast friends.
King’s visits with these political leaders were given considerable coverage on all major Croatian television and radio stations as well as in newspapers and magazines.
One newspaper headline said, “Don King or Pope Benedict XVI?” alluding that King’s comments regarding love and humanity sounded more like the Pope than a promoter of pugilism.
Another headline stated that the Croatian president said of King: “He Understands Me.”