With loud chants of “A-D-A-M-E-K, A-D-A-M-E-K,” still reverberating through the Prudential Center and into the Jersey night air, the members of “Polska Nation” who didn’t make it to the arena Saturday afternoon, received the signal that their “Mountain Boy” was back.
Tomasz Adamek (47-2, 29 KO) won a thrilling heavyweight bout against Travis Walker (39-8-1, 31 KO) that featured a wild second round and finished with a rousing fifth round TKO in Newark.
That second round may be viewed as a round of the year candidate, and it gave Adamek a much needed wakeup call from his post Klitschko slumber.
The contest began with the fighters feeling each other out. The taller, heavier Walker looked to establish a presence with his height and reach advantage. Adamek used movement and his jab to test and probe.
The wild second round got into gear when Walker dropped Adamek with a well timed one two combination. Adamek rose quickly but looked like he could be in serious trouble when another Walker combination buckled him along the ropes. Adamek continued to move in an effort to gather himself, but it appeared as if there was enough time left in the round for Walker to finish.
Near the end of the round Adamek stormed back and dropped Walker with a right hand. Walker beat the count and Adamek jumped on him and drove the action into the corner. The crowd was cheering so loudly that referee Eddie Cotton didn’t hear the bell sound and the fighters continued for another ten to fifteen seconds.
In the third a focused Adamek used his speed and movement to continue his offensive push. Walker looked as if he had lost some physical and emotional steam, perhaps sensing he had let his best opportunity slip away. He was still active though and answered Adamek with some punches of his own.
The fourth continued in the same fashion with Adamek seeming to know his speed, strength, and heart would bring him a victory.
In the fifth round Adamek hurt Walker early with an overhand right. Walker was backed into the ropes and had no answer for Adamek’s barrage of punches. Referee Eddie Cotton called a halt to the action at 1:08 of the fifth round.
This is the type of performance Adamek’s fans have to come expect from their hero, and one he needed to deliver after looking out of sync in his previous bouts.
In the co-feature, Philadelphia’s Steve “USS” Cunningham (25-4, 12 KO) made his heavyweight debut by earning a unanimous decision over gatekeeper Jason Gavern (21-11-4, 10 KO).
The former two time cruiserweight champion entered the ring at 207 lbs. While there is no doubt about Cunningham’s superior boxing skills and heart, the question lingered as to how he might fare against a heavier opponent. Gavern tipped the scales at 239 lbs.
Working behind a beautiful jab that he often doubled and tripled, and once quadrupled, Cunningham answered that question as he boxed to a clear unanimous decision.
The durable and sturdy Gavern connected with some punches, but never hurt Cunningham or had him in any kind of trouble.
Fighting back on his home turf after a series of cruiserweight bouts in Germany, Cunningham utilized his supreme conditioning and boxing skills to remain fresh while throwing combinations.
With this win in the books and the goal of adding an additional five to eight pounds to his fighting frame, Cunningham has a host of opportunities before him in the heavyweight division. One of them is certainly an anticipated rematch with Adamek.
Heavyweight sensation Bryant Jennings continued his sensational rise through the ranks, saying “Bye Bye” to Chris Koval in just thirty five seconds of the first round.
The Philadelphia native put Ohio’s Koval down twice in the thirty five second time span to remain undefeated while earning his 15th victory.
In an eight round junior lightweight attraction, Jerry Belmontes of Corpus Christi, Texas, improved to 17-0, with 5 KO’s by earning a unanimous decision over Queens, NY’s Joselito Collado (13-2, 3KO).
Preferring to take the role of boxing stylist during the bout, Belmontes experienced some tough moments when the gritty Collado was able to get inside and press the action.
With Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone urging him “not to wait,” and “to fight your fight, not the other guy’s,” Belmontes used all eight rounds to win the fight with scores of 78-74 (twice), and 77-75.
Local favorite Jose Peralta of Jersey City, NJ, pleased his followers with a third round TKO of Philadelphia’s Christian Steele.
The energetic junior welterweight controlled the first and second rounds of the bout with his focused combination punching.
Steele started the third round with purpose, but “Mangu” responded with a punch to the head that put Steele down. Steele survived the count, but the referee waved off the bout.
The afternoon’s opener provided an interesting story line by featuring lightweight prospects trained by legends of the fight game.
Philadelphia’s Karl Dargan (11-0, 6 KO) had the celebrated Naazim Richardson in his corner. Cincinnati’s Jesse Caradine (8-2-1, 4 KO) entered the squared circle with the venerable Don Turner.
Brother Naaz won the battle of the legends as Dargan won by fourth round TKO after knocking Caradine down for the second time in the bout.