NEWARK, N.J. – Many of the Polish crowd that arrived at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. to support former heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek Saturday night in his contest against “Fast” Eddie Chambers came bearing heavy hearts. Earlier in the day, Poland’s soccer team was eliminated from the European Championships following a 1-0 defeat to the Czech Republic.
Yet, when Adamek walked out of the dressing room with his trademark entrance theme “Pamietaj” blaring over the loud speakers, the sea of red and white flags burst with excitement, singing along to the Polish lyrics in support of their country’s best fighter. Just as he had done on so many occasions before, Adamek (46-2, 28 knockouts), of Zywiec, Poland, but now residing in Kearny, N.J. put the crowd on his back, outhustling Philadelphia’s Chambers (36-3, 18 KOs) en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Two judges scored it 116-112 for Adamek, while the third judge Allen Rubenstein turned in a ridiculous tally of 119-109.
Adamek weighed in the day before at a career high of 225 pounds, 50 pounds above the weight he won his first world title at. Chambers on the other hand weighed in at a career low of 202, begging the question if he’d be better suited as a cruiserweight, a division Adamek ruled before stepping up to heavyweight a few years ago.
Things started out disastrously for Chambers as he appeared to injure his left bicep midway through the opening round while throwing a left hook from the outside. Chambers threw few punches in that stanza, dipping at odd angles and switching stances while firing exclusively from the right side. He would not throw another meaningful left-handed punch in the fight.
Adamek took advantage of the cog in Chambers’ plan and outworked “Fast Eddie” in the early and middle rounds, throwing hard right crosses to the head and left hooks to the body of Chambers, who did a good job of avoiding the heaviest artillery with his upper-body movement. Still, with only one hand at his service, Chambers used his right to land from a variety of angles and stances that stole several moments from Adamek.
Against reason, Chambers began to come on strong in the ninth, 10th and 11th rounds, backing up a seemingly winded Adamek with just his right hand, jabbing from a southpaw stance and then following it up with right crosses from an orthodox stance.
With the fight’s result uncertain (to everyone but the judges), Adamek came out strong for the 12th round, landing several combinations in the first minute of the fight, backing Chambers up to the ropes and pounding him to the body. Chambers sensed the urgency of the situation and came back with rights over the top. Adamek closed the round with one final right cross just at the bell.
“I won this fight but this fight was very close,” said Adamek at the post-fight press conference. “I wanted to match punch to punch but Eddie don’t want (to engage). He moved; he was sneaky. I will come back in September, time for rest.”
Two Philadelphia boxing figures who were in the crowd watching the fight – ace trainer Naazim Richardson and former Adamek opponent Steve Cunningham – both felt that a one-handed Chambers had too much of an uphill battle to overcome.
When asked, Adamek said he did not know that Chambers had injured his arm in the fight.
“This is boxing,” he said. “In 2005 I fought with a broken nose and I win this fight. If you’re going to the ring, you have to be ready for everything. I’m ready for everybody.”
Adamek deflected repeated questions at the press conference as to who he would want to face next but said he wouldn’t be ready for another shot at either Klitschko brother until 2013. Kathy Duva, who promotes Adamek through Main Events, said that Adamek is “penciled in” for September 8 at the Prudential Center but didn’t want to verbally commit to an opponent in case another opportunity arose in the mean time.
Chambers, who hadn’t fought in 16 months, didn’t feel inactivity played a part in his injury. Chambers was fighting after having lost his long-time mentor/manager “Big” Rob Murray Sr. just two weeks ago after a long battle with cancer.
“Just to think about how important that guy was in my career and my life for the last 10-12 years, he put me on the road to become one of the best fighters in the world,” said an emotional Chambers at the press conference. “I can’t thank him enough. Rest in peace to him.”
When asked how he felt Adamek would fare against the 6-foot-6″, 245-pound Wladimir Klitschko, holder of THE RING/IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles, Chambers, who was stopped in 12 rounds by Wladimir in 2010, said it would be a repeat of Adamek’s ill-fated bout with older brother Vitali from last September, where Adamek was stopped in the tenth.
“You see what happened with Vitali?” asked Chambers? “It would happen again with Wladimir.”
The Adamek-Chambers bout headlined an installment of Fight Night on NBC Sports Net.
Video by Bill Emes