In the biggest all-Polish fight in history, IBF Cruiserweight Champion Tomasz Adamek vacated his title and moved up to heavyweight to pummel perennial contender and fellow Pole Andrew Golota in a five-round drubbing.
The fight was billed as “The Polish Fight of the Century” because it pitted one of the best fighters in boxing – Adamek – against a longtime heavyweight hopeful who came close on several occasions but never captured the title – Golota.
Having their two best fighters of the last two decades square off would have numbed the support of most crowds by dividing it in half. Instead, the Polish fans that packed into Arena Lodz showed great respect and appreciation for both men, giving equally large responses when each fighter came out.
While Referee Bill Clancy gave instructions, a notable stare down occurred between Golota and Adamek, who seemed to be imitating a Rocky movie with their especially cold expressions. But given Golota’s history of being an unstable fighter and Adamek being an all-business competitor, it was a legitimate pose for both.
Unfortunately, that was the most competitive the fight ever was. Despite weighing in 40 pounds heavier than Adamek, Golota was never a threat. Adamek came out popping him with the jab and quickly unleashed an attack to Golota’s body in round one. Combinations to the head followed, and it appeared Adamek was trying to take Golota out in just one round as Lennox Lewis and Lamon Brewster had done.
Golota tried to come back but got hit with a four-punch combination from Adamek, ending with an uppercut that briefly buckled his knees. Later, Adamek scored with a right hand and another uppercut. After that, Golota dropped his hands, and Adamek blasted him with a solid one-two to the face that snapped his head up. Golota doubled over, stunned, and Adamek promptly shoved him to the canvas.
Clancy sent Adamek away and surprisingly began counting, having ruled it a knockdown. Perhaps Golota was going down from the shot anyway, but Adamek had made sure he got there with the shove. Golota rolled to his feet by the count of three and frowned at the call.
Adamek picked up right where he left off when the fight resumed, scoring with a straight right that snapped Golota’s head back. Two big left hooks to the head landed as well. And finally, a jab through the gloves popped Golota’s head back before the ball, ending a tumultuous round for him. He went back to his corner not only down two points but also bleeding from a cut over the left eye.
In the past, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see Golota quit at that point. But this being “The Polish Fight of the Century” and likely his last big fight, Golota marched back out for round two. And, instead of playing defense, he put the pressure on Adamek, making the smaller man move around the ring.
Adamek then planted his feet and ripped a combination to the body, followed by a hard one-two that slammed Golota’s head back. With Golota’s face a bloody mess, Adamek maneuvered around the ring, rotating between scoring points and landing hard shots. He hit Golota with a good left hook before the bell.
Much of the crowd was still behind Golota, chanting his name to end round two and cheering whenever he put together the smallest of attacks in round three. He did get in a nice right hand to the head of Adamek against the ropes in one of his few good moments. He still lost the round, though, as Adamek was fighting a complete fight, scoring often, blocking counter punches and using the ring to his advantage.
In round four, Adamek drilled Golota with a hard one-two that slammed his head back. Golota doubled over, stumbled and covered up to defend himself. Adamek then let his hands fly, pummeling Golota to the body and head, but Golota managed to pin him on the ropes to survive the barrage.
The fight came to an abrupt end in round five. Twenty seconds in, Adamek caught Golota with a big right hand across the jaw that doubled the bigger man over. Golota was wide open for a left hook to the mouth that dropped him hard onto his backside.
Golota showed heart in rolling over and beating the count by standing at five. When the action resumed, however, Adamek blasted Golota with a body shot and another right to the head. More body shots followed and then a jab through the guard that snapped Golota’s head back.
By that point, Golota was in complete survival mode as he covered up and continued to take shot after shot. When he tried firing back, Adamek smacked him with a hard left-right that rattled Golota’s head. Adamek continued landing until Golota staggered into Clancy, who surprisingly let the fight continue.
With Golota unable to defend himself, Adamek scored with another right hand to the head. He staggered sideways into the ropes, clearly hurt, and Adamek came in to finish him off, but Clancy stopped the fight by embracing Golota. With that, Adamek walked away, his glove raised in triumph.
All told, Adamek had landed about 25 power punches in the series following the knockdown, so the stoppage was more than warranted. Golota’s corner men congratulated him on showing a strong effort and helped him to his stool while Adamek mounted the top rope and blew kisses to the adoring Poles.
With the win, Adamek earned his first win as a heavyweight. Fighting at 215 pounds, he showed he can be a fast heavyweight with quality power, which would be more than enough to beat most of the pretenders today. But it has to be pointed out that Golota is known for having sub-par chin, and Adamek needed five rounds to take him out. On the other hand, though, it was Adamek’s first fight at heavyweight, and he appeared to be pacing himself after hurting Golota early. In truth, whenever he made a committed assault, he had Golota in trouble.
IBF and WBO Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko has a comparable chin to Golota, so Adamek might have a good chance at upsetting him. WBC Champion Vitali, on the other hand, has a heavyweight chin even stronger than Adamek’s chin was at cruiserweight – which was just about the best in the division. To win, Adamek would have to be prepared to outwork either Klitschko, which was his game plan against Golota as well.
Whether Adamek stays at heavyweight or moves back down to reclaim the Cruiserweight Championship, he has proven himself as one of the best fighters in boxing – just on the cusp of the pound-for-pound top ten.
Tags: Boxing, Tomasz Adamek