boxing

Polish Heavyweight From Brooklyn Has Implications Saturday on Division

Adam Kownacki will feel at home Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  The undefeated heavyweight, 20-0-15 KO’s) from Poland and residing in Brooklyn is in the title mix. Brooklyn is his home and awaiting is a 12-round WBA title eliminator that headlines a FOX PBC fight night card.

credit Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

He knows the implications. A win and there are possibilities of being in that mix with Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, or Deontay Wilder.   All three are in that mix.

Fury, the WBC champion took the title from Wilder two week ago, their second fight, and a trilogy is set in Las Vegas come July 18th.  Joshua, the other half of this equation will defend the unified WBA/IBF/WBO titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, at the new 70,000 seat Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 20.

After the two Fury-Wilder fights, one that resulted in a draw and the other that received a lot of hype, this heavyweight division has created a buzz and new faces.

Though, Kownacki, Polish born and residing in Brooklyn, is no stranger to  the Barclays Center. This will be Kownacki’s 10th fight at the venue. He has not only become a fan-favorite, but established as a contender in the red-hot heavyweight division.

Also March 7,  Kownacki, has another opportunity to showcase what it takes to end up on top of the heavyweight ladder and eventual quest to become the first Polish heavyweight champion in boxing history.

 Though, this heavyweight has that share of convincing wins in Brooklyn, that road to reach Fury, or Joshua, may have to wait.  Basically, the heavyweight division has become more interesting and any potential title fight with one of the champions won’t come soon.

Doesn’t matter to Kowancki. He will await for the opportunity because the road to get here was not easy.

“The division is wide open,” said Kownacki. “Right now, Tyson Fury is considered number one. But his previous two fights before the Deontay Wilder rematch weren’t that great. So how good is Fury really?” he said.  

 Kowancki,  among the top-ten heavyweights, did make a good point. He is the only one with a clean record, no losses or draws.

“ On Saturday, March 7, I have to prove that I belong in a title fight,” he said this week. 

The 30–year old,  in August on FOX, was the headliner at Barclays. He won an exciting action fight against former title challenger Chris Arreola. Now he will face a new challenge in the veteran Helenius, who has faced top competition throughout the world. 

He stands over six-feet six-inches tall, making him one of Kownacki’s most imposing opponents to date.

Once, the boxing world did not look at Fury as a serious contender in the division. The British star, who overcame battles with depression and substance abuse, is now the sensation of boxing and the heavyweight division.

Kownacki. also has that potential, though he is not a Tyson Fury story.  He does not give that presence of throwing a power right, a punch that placed Deontay Wilder in the talk of an all-time heavyweight great.

But, Kowancki is a draw and has a good story.  Brooklyn has welcomed him with fans and billboards.  Quickly, though, Kownacki, has become a part of that mix in a heavyweight division that has that cast of characters.

“This will be my second time headlining at Barclays Center and having the whole New York community, especially the Polish fans, coming out to support me really feels amazing,” he said. 

He has to push, shove, box, and of course punch. This fight will not be a walkover, more so, the implications for an upcoming title fight are on the line. This is the heavyweight division, and Kownacki, is making it that more interesting.

 He says about his opponent, Helenius (29-3-0) of Finland, “He’s much taller, which poses a new set of challenges. Against Arreola, it was easy to get on the inside. With Helenius’ height, I’m going to have to work behind my double-jab and then let my punches go.”

Yes, that’s the height advantage, 6ft-6 inch. Helenius also brings a 56.25 percent knockout ratio to the ring in 32 bouts.

“He’s very experienced and he’s been in there with a lot of talented fighters,” Kowancki said.  

His opponent, a former European champion, has fought and gone the distance  with Derek Chisora and Dillian Whyte. Both are big time heavyweights.  

“His experience is something I have to be careful with. I’m not looking past him at all,” Kowancki said.   The motivation, again at Barclays Center, will be those fans from his nearby Polish community that will become a third man in the ring. 

Anything is possible. 

But in this new and revived heavyweight division the unexpected  has become normal. 

FOX PBC Fight Night begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features undefeated heavyweight sensation Efe Ajagba facing former title challenger Razvan Cojanu in the 10-round co-main event and rising heavyweight Frank Sánchez stepping in to face Philadelphia’s Joey Dawejko in the 10-round televised opener.

Viewers can live stream the PBC shows on the FOX Sports and FOX NOW apps or at FOXSports.com. In addition, all programs are available on FOX Sports on SiriusXM channel 83 on satellite radios and on the SiriusXM app.

Tickets are still available at the Barclays Center Box office and ticket outlets.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

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