Two world titles, still one big dream
By Przemek Garczarczyk
Photo: Wojtek Kubik
Five years ago, Tomasz Adamek (41-1, 27 KOs) arrived in US as a virtually unknown fighter from Poland. After his sensational fight and Bout of the Year candidate on May 21, 2005 against another newcomer to US boxing scene, Australian Paul Briggs, he became a cult hero in the Polish community. Fast forward to five years later: On August 21 on Prudential Center, “Goral,” ranked as a top heavyweight challenger, will fight Michael Grant in possibly his last test before competing against heavyweight world titlists, Vitali Klitschko, Wladimir Klitschko or David Haye.
Five years in US – are you a changed man?
I want to believe that those five years did not change me as a person. Family is still the most important for me, my daughters and wife living with me in New Jersey – this is what keeps me going.
When we spoke five years ago, after another bloody rematch with Paul Briggs, you were already talking about the heavyweight division and biggest belt in professional boxing.
Because for me, it is still the biggest. People are saying that there are other divisions, weight classes worth more than today’s heavyweight belts, but for me the words “Tomasz Adamek, heavyweight champion of the world,” still sound great.
Have you changed your opinion about boxing? How different of a fighter are you today, a week before Michael Grant fight in Newark than you were five years ago, fighting Briggs in Chicago?
Boxing in the U.S. makes you realize how much business is involved in this sport. Coming to America I knew about promoters and rankings, of course, but it was hard to imagine then how much power TV has, how a fight could be made – or never happen for reasons that have nothing to do with the sport. Now I’m much wiser, maybe more realistic. As a boxer – I arrived as a pure fighter. Now I believe I’m best of both worlds – quickness, strategy, ring generalship combined with just slugging mentality when there’s a need to just make my fist talking. Obviously I was sculpted as a boxer – first by my Polish trainer Andrzej Gmitruk, then Sam Colonna, Buddy McGirt, Ronnie Shields and now Roger Bloodworth. And I changed with every rival I faced in the ring. For me those are the best lessons you can have – under pressure, in the ring. If you can remember those seconds, decisions, errors and wins – and I believe I can – you have to be better every time you fight.
Seems like every fighter you fought has an excuse after they are defeated. The most common one – I underestimated him, did not work hard enough. The last one who said was Chris Arreola and then Grant saying that you are a “simple boxer”…
Maybe they just must have some excuses? I completely don’t understand how you can say – “I was not working hard before the Adamek fight”. It’s like saying “it’s my fault; I just like to be punished in the ring, being hit in the face. This is why I didn’t work hard in my training camp.” It makes no sense whatsoever. You will never, ever hear this excuse from me. About me being a “simple boxer” – so it should be so easy for Michael Grant to defeat me then? Grant is also saying that I will not be able to go past his jab and will be hit by his right hand. I heard these words before. After the fight, the same people were talking that it was lot easier to say then actually do it in the ring. Just finished my tenth week of training camp with Roger. I’m ready for Michael Grant. I’m ready for 2011 to be my year.
No world championship fight in 2010? Vitali is not calling?
I read what he said recently. Surprisingly, because last time his representatives called us it with an offer, not just asking about weather in New Jersey, it was almost 10 months ago. I did not take it then, because if I would have said yes, I would have to fight in less than three weeks with Vitali. I fight for money of course, I’m a professional fighter, but it will be stupid to take millions, but go completely unprepared for the biggest fight in my life just to have a bigger bank account. I will never do this. Could I fight Vitali, Vladimir or David this year? It could be done.
Your solitary loss in career was against Chad Dawson. Have you followed his career since then? Will you cheer for him this weekend when he fights Jean Pascal?
I don’t like or dislike any boxers. Same with Chad and if I watch his fight, I’ll be just another spectator, boxing fan who wants to see a good fight, good performance. I will most likely know and see one or two things better than the ordinary fan – I fought the guy – but there will not be a special interest on my side to see him win or lose. Maybe if we would be in the same weight class the story would be different, but we are about 50 pounds apart. Don’t get me wrong – I like to watch boxing, pick up new ideas, but I watch more boxing when I’m not training. After ten weeks in a boxing gym, watching tennis sounds better to me.