Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight titleholder Tomasz Adamek will have a heavyweight rematch with ex-RING cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham on Dec. 22 — nearly four years to the day from Adamek’s split-decision victory over Cunningham — on NBC from the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, in Bethlehem, Pa., Main Events President Kathy Duva, announced on Tuesday.
Adamek (47-2, 29 knockouts) is coming off last month’s fifth-round stoppage over journeyman Travis Walker, whom he faced at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
“This is a chance for Cunningham to have a rematch with me. The first time we fought, there was knockdown, and it was a very exciting fight. The fans loved it. I think this is going to be a very exciting fight for our fans again,” said Adamek, who dethroned Cunningham as IBF cruiserweight titleholder..
“I am ready for a tough fight. I love a tough fight, because after every big fight, I have more fans. I am looking forward to this fight with Cunningham. It has been my dream to be the champion of the world and this is important to me, I will be ready.”
On the Adamek-Walker undercard, Cunningham (25-4, 12 KOs), of Philadelphia, made his heavyweight debut with a unanimous decision over Jason Gavern (21-10-4, 10 KOs).
“This is a fight my team and I have wanted since the first one. Adamek and I have been on two different paths, but in December our paths will collide again,” said Cunningham.
“I have respect for Adamek. He has done great things in his career. But I’m confident I’ll get the victory. I’m looking forward to it. On December 22nd, I’ll be the best Steve Cunningham anyone has seen yet.”
Since falling to WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko by 10th-round knockout in September, Adamek has won three straight, including unanimous decisions over Nagy Aguilera and Eddie Chambers in March and June, respectively.
Prior to Klitschko, Adamek had not lost in four years and seven months, the last man to defeat him being Chad Dawson by a unanimous decision that dethroned Adamek as WBC lightheavyweight beltholder in February 2007.
Adamek claims that he was weakened by extreme weight loss against Dawson, and rebounded with a seventh-round stoppage of cruiserweight Luis Andreas in his very next fight in June 2007.
Prior to facing Gavern, Cunningham was coming off a unanimous decision loss to IBF cruiserweight beltholder Yoan Pablo Hernandez, of Cuba, in a February rematch.
Hernandez-Cunningham II was an IBF-ordered return bout from October which ended with a controversial sixth-round technical decision win for Hernandez in Neubrandenburg, Germany. The loss ended Cunningham’s winning streak at three, having last tasted defeat against Adamek in December of 2008.
Before losing to Adamek, Cunningham had won two straight: a majority decision over Krzysztof Wlodarczyk of Poland in May of 2007, and a 12th-round knockout of Marco Huck, who are the current WBC and WBO titleholders, respectively.
By defeating Wlodarczyk, Cunningham won the IBF belt for the first time and avenged a split-decision loss from November of 2006. Cunningham also already owns a split-decision victory over current WBA titlist Guillermo Jones from April of 2005.
“The first fight was a fight of the year candidate in 2008 when Adamek and Cunningham were cruiserweights,” said Duva, who is working the event in association with Ziggy Promotions and Russell Peltz Boxing. “The heavyweight rematch will be bigger and better so don’t fill out those [Fight of The Year] ballots just yet.”
Photos by Boris Streubel, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com