UNBEATEN Polish heavyweight Adam Kownacki elevated himself from prospect to contender with his July 15 TKO win over experienced countryman Artur Szpilka. The 28 year old who is based in Brooklyn, New York and is signed up by the powerful Al Haymon, advanced to 16-0 (13) and he says he is “chasing after” a shot at Britain’s WBA/IBF heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua.
The calmly-confident puncher known as “Baby Face” is realistic enough to know that he needs work and improvement, but he also feels the current heavyweight division is “pretty much wide open.”
Here Kownacki speaks exclusively with B/N:
Adam Kownacki: “Yeah, I gave myself a three-and-a-half (out of five) rating for the performance. I made some mistakes, I missed too many punches, but all this will be worked on in the gym. I’ll take a week, and then I’ll get right back to work. I can’t wait for my next fight. I had predicted I would stop Szpilka in six rounds. He overlooked me and when he started dropping his hands, I knew he was beaten. It was better that the referee stopped it, or he could have been badly hurt. I feel I have punching power, but in the heavyweight division, punching power is different with each fighter. [Deontay] Wilder, he has ‘game over’ power with one punch. I have power with my combinations and I do have heavy hands, no doubt, but my main thing is pressure. I always go looking for the KO but I would class myself as a pressure fighter.”
Q: How do you look at today’s heavyweight landscape?
A.K: “It’s exciting! Anthony Joshua is doing a great job, and he showed a lot in the win over Klitschko; getting up [from a knockdown] and holding his power into the late rounds. No doubt, he proved a lot in that fight. He is someone I look up to and I know I have to do the same thing as Joshua has done, and become a world champion. I want to make my people, my country, proud, like he has done for his people. But Wilder, okay, he may still have things to prove, but he has crazy power! Crazy power that can take out anyone and say goodnight. With the heavyweight division, punching power is just a different animal [compared to lower weight divisions] because of the way just one punch can end any fight. Even if you are losing badly, a heavyweight can turn any fight around. Myself, I look forward to these type of fights. I have a great team around me and we will all progress together. I am in great hands.”
Q: Arguably the most famous Polish heavyweight, Andrew Golota, did some crazy things. Is he someone who influenced you to reach the top?
A.K: “Of course. Golota, he started the trend as far as Polish fighters are concerned. Me and my family, we used to watch his fights, and I said how I wanted to become somebody, like he was. We were all so shocked, dismayed, by what he did in the Riddick Bowe fight. We just couldn’t believe it, he was winning but be just went crazy and could not stop hitting him with wild low blows. None of us could believe it! He could not handle the pressure it seemed. I aim to be different and become the first Polish heavyweight champion of the world.”
Q: What was your amateur background/record?
A.K: “I was 23-7 at amateur level. I won the New York Golden Gloves twice. I was massively inspired by Golota and by [Mike] Tyson, and Miguel Cotto, who always, always fought the very best. I know I can achieve big things. My next fight will be big, no doubt! Ideally, I will be back fighting in September or October. I am chasing [Anthony] Joshua. Of course I look forward to fighting outside of America, in the UK as well as in Poland.”
Q: You have sparred a number of prominent heavyweights?
A.K: “Yes. Wladimir Klitschko, Dillian [Whyte], lots of good fighters. But Klitschko, he impressed me the most by far. I sparred him, and it wasn’t his power that impressed me, but his incredible footwork. He was so light on his feet. I was very surprised that Joshua defeated him. In a rematch, I think it might be different. But myself, I will be in these big, big fights soon.”