In what will likely be this weekend’s most watchable and competitive main event, heavyweight contenders Tomasz Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs) and Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (16-0-1, 11 KOs) will fight a 12-round heavyweight title eliminator (IBF) at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The fight will air live on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at 9:00 PM ET.
The two were previously scheduled to meet last November in Verona, New York, but the fight was rescheduled after Adamek withdrew just days prior to the event because of a stomach flu. Garret Wilson took Adamek’s place, and Glazkov defeated him by unanimous decision.
The winner of the bout will move a step closer to earning a mandatory title shot at one of the belts held by Wladimir Klitschko, and more importantly, his lineal Transnational Rankings championship.
Adamek and Glazkov met the media earlier this week via telephone. Both men said they were prepared to do their best on fight night. It’s an important bout for each.
Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight titleholder Adamek has been in big fights before, and he’s been a heavyweight contender since he moved up to the division in 2009. In fact, Adamek has been a consistently solid fighter for the bulk of his career.
“Every fight is big,” said Adamek. “…Ten rounds, twelve rounds, every fight is important. To be a challenger to title fights, you have to win every fight. Every fight is very important.”
While he doesn’t have the same professional pedigree as Adamek, Glazkov, an 2008 Olympic bronze medalist for Ukraine, may be emboldened by time earlier in his career spent sparring against Adamek. According to rumors, he even hurt Adamek while the two were training together.
Adamek remains unmoved.
“My opinion is sparring is sparring, [and fighting] is a different story; you have small gloves, no head gear and millions of people in the world watching you. It’s a different game. I’m looking not for what was, but what is in the future. The fight is important, and I want to show my class, my experience and win this fight.”
If Glazkov feels differently about it, he didn’t let on during the call. For him, too, sparring means little to Saturday’s fight.
“I agree that sparring is sparring, and a bout is a different story,” said Glazkov.
Glazkov said he doesn’t hold any ill will over last year’s cancelled fight. He said he believes Adamek was seriously ill and that there wasn’t any kind of shenanigans going on.
“I don’t think Tomasz was playing any kind of game... He’s an experienced fighter. He’s not scared. He knows exactly what he is doing, and he is like everybody else. He can get sick… so personally, I don’t think he was playing some kind of trick.”
Glazkov said he and his team have developed a good game plan for the fight.
“I was watching his bouts…picking out pluses and minuses, picking weak spots and strong spots…making decisions after that and using that in our preparations.”
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva told me last week Glazkov was a much better fighter than people probably knew. She said he was a good defender with a solid amateur background and had a real shot against Adamek. Speaking to the media during the call, Duva said she’s always willing to provide her television partners the best fights she can find, and that means not just pilfering them for uncompetitive showcase bouts for the fighters she promotes.
“My prospective as a promoter is that I’ve promised the television network to give them the best fights I possibly can. I am not the fighter’s manager. They both have very capable management, and so we present opportunities to them and they decide if they want to take them or not. So this opportunity arose and we presented it. Both gentlemen are convinced they are going to win, and that’s how good fights get made, when both sides believe they are going to win.”
Each fighter has good reason to believe he’ll come out on top. Adamek has been in with the best. He’s lost two professional bouts in his career, and only one at heavyweight, against Vitali Klitschko in 2011. Since that TKO 10 loss to Klitschko, Adamek has won five straight.
“I never think about losing,” said Adamek. “Because if you start thinking about that, you better not go into the ring. I am ready for a war. I am thinking good. I have big faith. I’m healthy. God [gave] me health. He [gave] me talent in the ring.”
Meanwhile, Glazkov is undefeated and feels his best years are still ahead of him. While the 29-year-old hasn’t yet faced the same level of opposition as the 37-year-old Adamek, Glazkov is confident he’s ready for the larger stage. He said that his future as a legitimate heavyweight title contender starts with a win over Adamek, and that’s his only focus.
“The ratings speak [for themselves]. I am getting to the top as much as I can. Right now I am concentrating on the bout with Tomasz, and after the bout, we will look where our ratings are going to be.”
It’s a good approach. Both fighters stand much to gain from a win, and with the relationship Main Events is building with both NBC and HBO, the winner could potentially find himself with a nice fight later this year regardless of what any alphabet organization has to say. Moreover, the heavyweight division is in dire need of legitimate competition for world champion Wladimir Klitschko. The winner of this bout moves up that list for sure.
The quote of note, by the way, goes to Adamek, who referred to himself as a “mountain boy.”
“I want to be the best. I prepare very, very hard for every fight. I’m a mountain boy. Every fight I take seriously. I am training very hard, and we are ready for a tough fight. So we will see what happens.”
The co-feature on Saturday is a ten round light heavyweight scrap between Isaac Chilemba (21-2-2, 9 KOs) and Denis Grachev (13-2-1, 8 KOs). Both bouts will air live on NBCSN Fight Night starting at 9:00 PM ET.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV