A bountiful polish buffet greeted attendees of the Tomasz Adamek/ Steve Cunningham II press conference held at the Wisla Club, in Garfield, NJ on Tuesday.
After the kielbasa and pierogies had been enjoyed, the principal parties got down to the business of announcing the highly anticipated rematch between these two former cruiserweight champions, now campaigning as heavyweights, scheduled for Saturday, December 22nd at the Sands Casino & Resort in Bethlehem, Pa.
The anticipation level runs high because in December of 2008 Cunningham and Adamek waged a fierce cruiserweight battle that is considered an all-time semi-classic. In that slugfest, fought at a brutal pace, Adamek earned a split decision victory while claiming Cunningham’s IBF title.
The rematch will take place almost four years to the day of their first encounter and with both fighters having made the jump to heavyweight. They will be battling for the IBF’s #2 heavyweight ranking and will do so in front of a large national television audience, as the bout will be broadcast by NBC in a prime 4:00pm time slot.
This will mark the first time in almost 20 years that a major network has televised boxing and Adamek/Cunningham II is the type of fight that will please both viewers and network executives alike. Main Events’ Kathy Duva, who promotes both fighters, urged fans to buy their tickets quickly as a sellout is expected.
Both fighters have gone through stylistic changes since their first battle that each thinks will play an important part in securing a victory this time around.
Poland’s Adamek stated, “Since the first fight I have made the transition from the European style to the American style. I won’t be standing straight in front of Steve like the last time. I will use side to side movement and the power that 25 extra pounds has given me.”
Philadelphia’s Cunningham feels he underestimated his foe the first time and vows not to let that happen again. "In the first fight I went for the knockout and did not respect Adamek enough. That won’t happen in this fight. Naazim Richardson is my trainer now and he has helped sharpen both my mental and physical approach to this fight.”
Additionally, Cunningham plans to work with fitness guru Mackie Shilstone during his training camp, he said, to ensure his conditioning is at the highest level and ready to withstand a torrid pace.
Two of boxing’s toughest warriors, a national television audience, a sold out arena, and a boxing ring. Those ingredients could well make Adamek/Cunningham II another classic.
Who wins the WBO Middleweight title fight Dec. 19th?