Adamek-Dawson: a look at their careers


Adamek-Dawson: a look at their careers

Press Release: In Showtime's February 3, 2007 main event, two of the brightest young stars at light heavyweight will clash when WBC champion Tomasz Adamek (31-0, 21 KOs) faces hard-hitting southpaw challenger Chad Dawson (22-0, 1 NC, 15 KOs).  The Adamek-Dawson match-up has the makings of a “Fight of the Year” candidate. “The light heavyweight division has some excellent match-ups, and most of them include Adamek,” said Showtime analyst Al Bernstein. “Tomasz is an exciting fighter. He is showing his warrior mentality by taking on Dawson, who is talented and powerful.”

A quiet, humble man outside of the ring who turns into a raging tiger inside, Adamek appears to be reaching the prime of his career. Dawson, meantime, produced a convincing victory in his last start. The Feb. 3 bout will be his first since hooking up with new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Adamek, of Jersey City, N.J., by way of Zywiec, Poland, has been all smiles since he burst upon the world scene with a 12-round majority decision over Paul “Hurricane” Briggs in a blood-spattered war for the vacant WBC light heavyweight title on May 21, 2005 in Chicago. Known for all-out brawls, the six-foot-two-and-one-half-inch Adamek successfully defended his WBC title with a sixth-round TKO over Thomas Ulrich on Oct. 15, 2005, in Germany. In his last start, Adamek won another majority decision over Briggs in another excellent fight on Oct. 7, 2006.

“Winning the world title against Briggs was the biggest thing that ever happened to me,’’ said Adamek, who will be making his third U.S. start and second on television. At 12, Adamek went to a gym for the first time. Coached by Poland’s preeminent trainer, Andrzei Gimitruk, he went 108-12 in the amateurs and won the bronze medal in the 1998 European Championships. Rather than wait for 2000 Olympics Games, however, Adamek turned pro as a light heavyweight with a first-round TKO on March 13, 1999. He won his initial 10 starts inside of the distance.

Although unseen on U.S. TV, the first Adamek-Briggs brawl became a “Fight of the Year” candidate. Each showed great heart and will in a give and take slugfest. Adamek was wobbled by the quick-handed Briggs and seemed ready to fall several times. He bled heavily from the nose and his right eye was swollen and nearly closed while Briggs suffered a cut over the left eye. But the tall and rangy Pole's recuperative capacity and tenacity kept him standing.

In his debut for Don King Productions, Adamek eked out a victory despite admitting he had suffered a broken nose in sparring three weeks prior to the bout. The nose was broken again during the first fight’s furious fistic fireworks. “Briggs’ punches renewed the injury,’’ said Adamek. “I did not spar for three weeks,’’ said Adamek, a 117-113, 115-113 and 114-114 winner over Briggs on the scorecards. “I was fighting him with only my will and God's help. Faith can make miracles. I could not breathe well and I was choking on my own blood.’’

In his first defense, Adamek triumphed convincingly over the previously once-beaten Ulrich in Dusseldorf. By the time the bout was stopped at 1:57 of the sixth, Adamek had bloodied the face of the European Boxing Union champion and bronze medalist at the 1996 Olympics and dropped him with a jab followed by a thunderbolt straight right that landed flush. Ulrich was counted out before he could regain his feet.

Sequels are not supposed to be as good as the original, but Adamek-Briggs II was as tough, intense and exciting as the pair’s first bout. Adamek swept the 11th and 12th rounds on two scorecards to retain his belt by the scores 115-111, 114-112 and 113 apiece.

Adamek got dropped in the opening round, once again suffering a bashed and bloody nose; his right eye was swollen and closing. Late in the bout, Adamek suffered a cut over the left eye. At the finish, Briggs’ right cheek swelled severely. Adamek looked worse.

If there was a category for “Most Unexpected, Dominant Performance Of The Year,” Dawson’s name would be near the top of a list for the way he manhandled Eric Harding en route to winning a career-best 12-round unanimous decision in his last start June 2, 2006, on “ShoBox: The New Generation” from Santa Ynez, Calif. Dawson not only soundly outpointed the world-ranked, counter-punching former world title challenger but almost stopped Harding en route to winning the toughest fight of his career by the scores 117-110 twice and 116-111.

“Bad” Chad did not look good at the outset. Less than one minute into the battle of southpaws, Harding caught Dawson with a left hook to the head and sent the unbeaten fighter to the seat of his pants for only the second time in his pro career.  However, the taste of leather and mat only increased Dawson’s motivation. “It was a flash knockdown,” Dawson said.  “Harding caught me with a good shot, but it was the only mistake I made all night.  Getting knocked down just makes me meaner.”

Dawson punished Harding with a dominant right hand, and caused his opponent to bleed from the lower lip and left nostril.  Dawson landed the hardest punch of the evening when a brutal right uppercut snapped Harding’s head back in the ninth round.  “We had a great game plan,” Dawson said.  “I did not get the stoppage I wanted, but I did work hard for this victory.  It feels great to defeat a fighter that I looked up to when I was growing up.”

Dawson started boxing at age 11. As a Junior Olympian, he was a three-time State champion, a two-time regional titlist and a national runner up. In addition, he earned top honors at the 2000 Golden Gloves, captured the U.S. National title at the Under 19 Championships, won a bronze medal at the World Under 19-Championships and was named U.S.A. Boxing Athlete of the Month in November 2000.

Since his debut at age 19 on Aug. 18, 2001, Dawson has campaigned at middleweight, super middle and light heavy. Like one of his boxing idols, Thomas Hearns, the six-foot-three-inch Dawson always was tall for his weight class. So, it was only a matter of time before he settled in for good as a light heavyweight. “I knew I eventually would move up to 175,” said Dawson.

In one of his best early victories, Dawson registered one knockdown en route to a seventh-round TKO over former world champion Carl Daniels on Dec. 10, 2004.  In his "ShoBox" debut and New Haven homecoming, Dawson won with an 11th-round TKO over Ian Gardner on Nov. 18, 2005. Dawson scored four knockdowns.

Dawson is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and managed by Mike Criscio of New Haven. Criscio was the one who suggested Mayweather Sr. to Dawson. In a prearranged agreement with Team Dawson, however, Mayweather will not be in the corner on Feb. 3 because he made a prior commitment to be in a South African ring with Laila Ali.

Mature beyond his years, the soft-spoken boxer is on the verge of fulfilling his ultimate goal. “This is a great opportunity,” Dawson said. “It would be great to win and go to the Super Bowl the next day.”