With Poland falling to the Czech Republic in their Euro 20012 soccer match earlier Saturday, the hopes of “Polska” sports fans shifted to heavyweight boxer Tomasz “Goral” Adamek as afternoon turned to evening.
Adamek was set to face “Fast” Eddie Chambers in a twelve round contest for the IBF North American heavyweight title. The fight, to be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, was the main event for the fourth installment of NBC Sports Network’s popular Fight Night series.
After roughly fourteen months of inactivity Chambers, of Philadelphia, decamped to the famed Kronk gym in Detroit. Six weeks of hard sparring and training were scheduled to help him get his “fast” back.
The Kronk experiment appeared to be a success as Chambers (36-2, 18 KO’s, 202 lbs) put on a masterful display of boxing skill. Fighting with virtually one hand after a biceps injury in the first round rendered his left hand useless, Chambers used speed, movement, and craftiness throughout the twelve rounds.
Masterful or not, Adamek(45-2, 28 KO’s, 225 lbs) was able to win a unanimous decision, and the IBF belt, with scores of 116-112 (twice) and 119-109.
The action began with each fighter feeling the other out in the opening moments. Chambers was immediately able to establish his superior quickness. He jabbed, moved, and slipped punches. Near the end of the round he motioned toward his left arm and from that point forward was a one armed fighter.
In the second round a pattern was established as Chambers threw only right hands and relied on slick defensive skills to avoid Adamek’s punches. Adamek appeared frustrated and unable to deal with Chambers’ quickness and movement. The Philadelphian’s right hand punches landed with frequency in the second and third rounds.
Adamek began the fourth coming forward and throwing combinations, two staples of his attack. His punches found the mark and he began scoring. He found success with this approach in the fifth round as well.
A warning from the referee for pushing off with his shoulder briefly stalled Adamek’s momentum in the sixth .
Consistent jabs and body shots were added to the mix and “Goral” continued to score. Chambers also had success in the round with quick right hands. His damaged left served only as a decoy.
Adamek continued to score as the seventh round began. However, it was clear he was still having trouble contending with Chambers’ speed and elusiveness. Oddly, neither Adamek nor trainer Roger Bloodworth seemed to adjust their strategy to take advantage of Chambers’ injury.
Chambers chose to clown a little in the eighth as he made Adamek miss on several occasions.
The ninth and tenth were good rounds for Adamek as a renewed focus and determination allowed him to continue to find a home for his punches. The boisterous and encouraging cheers from his loyal fans added to his energy and resolve.
The final two frames gave the audience more of Chambers’ quick right hands and slick moves, along with Adamek pressing attack and volume punching.
The judges scored it 116-112 (twice) and 119-109, all in favor of Adamek.
Chambers took the decision with clear disappointment and it was obvious his thoughts were on what might have been.
Adamek captured the IBF title and will plan the next step in his climb back up the heavyweight hill.
In the co-feature rising heavyweight sensation Bryant “By-By” Jennings won a USBA Heavyweight title, but lost some of the buzz surrounding his career.
Jennings (13-0, 6 KO’s, 225 lbs), out of the ABC Rec Center in Philadelphia, took on Steve “Freight Train” Collins (25-1, 18 KO’s, 244 lbs), of Houston, in the ten round bout.
The mild mannered Texan proved to be a very tough opponent for Jennings as the fight went the distance and “By-By” failed to make a resounding impression.
Collins was tough, but was also content to defend himself and put forth a limited offensive front.
It wasn’t until the fourth round that Jennings was able to open up his attack. A right uppercut followed by a left, right combination knocked Collins into the ropes, resulting in a technical knockdown ruling. Collins survived the eight count and Jennings continued to unload with punches until the bell ended the round.
In the fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds Jennings got busier, continuing to throw combinations to the head and body while controlling all three rounds.
Jennings began to add the uppercut to his repertoire in the eighth. Collins, with his left eye swelling, offered little resistance. The Texan was content to last and survive.
The ninth round began with Jennings connecting with multiple right hands mixed in with strong jabs. He closed the frame with a series of multi-punch combinations.
In the final stanza Jennings was looking for the KO. There was a break in the action when a punch by Jennings caught Collins clearly below the belt. Once the action resumed Jennings connected with combinations but could not find the knockout.
The judges awarded Jennings a unanimous decision victory. The scores from all three judges were 100-89.
In an additional televised bout, Doel “The Amish Guy” Carrasquillo met Jamal Davis in an eight round junior middleweight contest.
Carrasquillo (16-19-1, 14 KO’s, 155 ½ lbs) hails from Lancaster, Pa. Davis (13-8-1, 6 KO’s, 154 ½ lbs), and is from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. They engaged in eight rounds of uneventful boxing. Both fighters traded back and forth with little result.
Davis won a unanimous decision with scores of 78-74 (twice) and 79-73.
Newark, NJ Middleweight John Thompson (7-0, 2 KO’s, 155 ½ lbs) let the capital of the nation come to him as he squared off with Washington, D.C.’s John Mackey (13-6-3, 6KO’s, 155 ½ lbs) in a six round tilt.
In a quiet fight without any significant action Thompson got the unanimous decision with a reading of 59-55 (twice) and 58-56.
During the final round a female member of Thompson’s team implored him to “stop playing and get to work!” She should have shouted those words of encouragement at the beginning of the fight.
Jersey City favorite Patrick Farrell brought a loud contingent of his followers with him for his four round heavyweight bout.
Farrell (6-1-1, 3 KO’s, 209 ½ lbs) clashed with Philadelphia’s David Williams (6-5-1, 2 KO’s, 227 ½ lbs).
The Irishman started fast with his vocal fans cheering every punch he let go. Farrell connected with two big right hands that staggered Williams. The Philadelphian fired back and rocked Farrell. Farrell responded with a strong right hand to close the round.
In the second the crowd roared as Farrell dropped Williams with a combination. Williams was up at the count of eight and Farrell continued to unload punches, with Williams gamely firing back.
Williams began the third with a combination that caught Farrell. Farrell landed a big right hand in response that brought his fans back to their feet.
The final frame found Farrell loading up, looking to end it before the final bell. A short left followed by two strong combinations buckled Williams. Williams was able to gather himself and punched back, staggering Farrell as the final bell sounded.
With scores of 39-36 and 40-35 (twice) Farrell took the unanimous decision.
Jose “Mangu” Peralta (8-1, 4 KO’s, 140 lbs) of Passaic, NJ brought energy and enthusiasm with him as he bounded into the ring before the start of his six round welterweight bout. He faced Dontre King (6-10-2, 2 KO’s, 142 lbs) of Cambridge, MD.
The compact and muscular Peralta began shooting his jab immediately and had King on the defensive. “Mangu” followed with heavy punches and landed several shots to the body.
In the second Peralta continued to throw crisp combinations and dig to the body. King returned the body attack, but Peralta finished strongly, landing multiple punches.
Pushing for the KO, Peralta embarked on a head hunting expedition to begin the third round. A right hand followed by a left, right combination downed King, who was up by the count of eight. King moved to avoid further punishment and Peralta was clearly in control.
That control carried over to the fourth frame when Peralta connected with a four punch combination. There was a good exchange between the fighters in the center of the ring. A Peralta right caught King flush and he followed up with two short lefts. Peralta’s consistent body attack had taken its toll on King and a strong combination put him on the canvas.
Referee Eddie Cotton waved off the bout at 2:28 of the fourth round. Peralta was the winner by TKO.
The evening’s first bout pitted Bahamian middleweight Tureano Johnson (8-0, 6 KO’s, 161 ½ lbs) against Roberto Yong (5-4-1, 4 KO’s 162 lbs) of Sacramento, Ca.
Both fighters were up to the task of kicking off the boxing action by going back and forth with several good exchanges at close quarters.
The pace continued throughout the fight with Johnson planting his chin on Yong’s chest and going to work inside.
Despite his average record, Yong gave as good as he got at several points during the fight. He gave Johnson good competition and the Bahamian earned a unanimous decision victory with 58-56 scores across the board.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV