TOMMY KARPENCY is used to being the underdog. Last October, he faced former light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson in what was supposed to be a relatively straightforward fight for Dawson. Instead, in upsetting whopping 25-1 odds, Karpency, 29, scored the biggest win of his nine year pro career.
The points win put Karpency, 25-4-1(14) into the WBC top-10 and now, on September 11, he will challenge WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in Toronto, Ontario. Once again, the man from Pennsylvania is confident he can tear up the script.
Here the southpaw speaks exclusively with Boxing News:
Q: As fight fans know, you shocked the odds back in October of last year, when you defeated Chad Dawson – do you feel as though this fight with Adonis Stevenson is your reward for that big win?
Tommy Karpency: “Yes I do. I beat the same guy Stevenson beat to become world champion. I beat him [Dawson] just over a year after Stevenson beat him. After that win, I said that the sky was the limit and that I wanted the best in the world. The win [over Dawson] proved that I belong amongst the elite at light-heavyweight. Now it is my job to win this fight.”
Q: How good is Stevenson and is he better than Sergey Kovalev or is he avoiding Kovalev in your opinion?
T.K: “Adonis Stevenson is a KO artist who is very confident in his power. And he is a world champion of course. I’m focusing on winning this fight. I would have fought any world champion [at light-heavyweight], my resume proves that. Any world champion would have been fine with me and what’s more, I would have fought them anywhere. As for Stevenson against Kovalev; I think it’s just down to boxing politics. Everyone wants to get paid and both sides want an edge, whether it’s which network the fight goes out on, the location of the fight, the purses and things like that. These type of things always happen in boxing when two world champions attempt negotiations.”
Q: You and Stevenson are both southpaws, do you feel he may have issues with facing a fellow lefty?
T.K: “That’s a possibility. His victory over Chad Dawson came so quickly, we weren’t able to really see how he can react to a southpaw style. But I see myself winning the fight in September, it doesn’t matter how I win or with what tactics, as long as I do win.”
Q: And what do you say to those critics who say you are an “easy” opponent for Stevenson?
T.K: “What I say is, I was [supposedly] an easy opponent for Chad Dawson last year and I actually took that fight on just two weeks notice. Now I am a full-time fighter and I am a much better fighter. I’ve improved greatly over the last couple of years or so and I have been focusing solely on boxing [Tommy previously held a day job as a male nurse]. I have learnt from my losses and I actually think I’m still getting better.”
Q: Some people say Stevenson is most dangerous early and that he can fade in the later rounds. Do you agree?
T.K: “Again, it’s possible. But he’s a puncher and he’s very dangerous at any time during a fight. He is a power puncher, so he always has a good shot left in him at any stage in a fight.”
Q: It was a real “Rocky” story when you beat Dawson last year, as a 25-1 underdog. Can you possibly put into words what it will be like if you upset Stevenson next month?
T.K: “No, I can’t! Of course it would be life changing for me. I’m really unable to describe [what it will be like]. It is every fighter’s dream to become world champion. Like I said, it’s my job to win this fight.”