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Golota, Adamek in familiar surroundings

21
Oct

POLAND – Andrew Golota and Tomek Adamek, both residents of the U.S., have gone back to their roots.

The two most-accomplished fighters ever from Poland have returned to their native country for what is being billed as “The Polish Fight of the Century” on Saturday, a heavyweight bout between the former contender (Golota) and RING cruiserweight champion (Adamek). The 15,000-seat Arena Lodz has been sold out for some time. Ticket prices on the black market are reportedly reaching astronomical proportions. And all Polish media outlets are providing daily updates of last days of preparation.

Golota spent the first two days of his training at the very Spartan facilities belonging to his last amateur team, Legia Warszawa. You can still see pictures of a skinny 17 year old who won six Polish titles, and many of the same trainers are still at the battered facility. Golota ran five miles one morning and then had a two-hour late-evening session with his trainer, Sam Colonna.

“I was surprised Andrew wanted to have such a long, grueling session” Colonna said through a translator. “He did 12 full rounds of shadow boxing, with more than 30 punches per round. I told him that if we had half of them on Oct. 24, we are in fine shape. He has to be busy because Adamek is one of the toughest fighters I ever saw in my life. I will never forget the smell of blood when Adamek was fighting Paul Briggs for the first time. He fought 12 rounds with a broken nose, an injury he sustained two weeks before fight. We went through four towels just to get blood from his face between the rounds. But Andrew can be the same way. He fought Mike Mollo with one eye, the other one completely closed, begging doctors to not stop the fight. Ask everybody what it means to not see the punches coming.”

From Legia compound, Golota went 250 miles south to Wisla, small mountain town where generations of Polish boxers and national teams prepared for their most important fights. Golota went there a couple of times with the Junior National Team.

“I was first time here exactly 25 years ago,” he said. “Everybody knows me here, and I know everybody.”

Adamek is in his hometown of Gilowice, just 15 miles from Golota’s camp, but there’s no chance they will meet for a friendly dinner anytime soon.

“I feel kind of lonely here, because my wife and two daughters are in New Jersey, but my mom is taking care of me, so everything is fine, I have peace and quiet here,” Adamek said. “I have my own daily schedule: In the morning, there’s a walk, then a run, a good Polish-style lunch (roasted duck and chicken soup), another walk and, at approximately the same time I will fight Golota, I have training with my trainer, Andrzej Gmitruk. We don’t have to go far, just to my basement I made into a small boxing gym. Everything I need is here. I will be back in Lodz the day before the fight.”

Adamek was asked about his decision to relinquish his alphabet cruiserweight title. He was the same as he is the ring: He didn’t pull any punches.

“I know how important this decision was,” he said. “I’m putting everything on one card and my career as a heavyweight has to start with win over Golota. But I always believed that the world belongs to those not afraid of taking a risk. I’m ready to take my chances, I’m prepared mentally and physically to be a great heavyweight.”

Weighty issue: Adamek apparently has not committed to remaining a heavyweight long term.

“Nobody can take away my Ring Belt without beating me in the ring,” he said. “And that will not happen. I'm open to fight the best cruiserweights in the world if this is what television and the fans want me to do. Can you be the best cruiserweight in the world and try to be the best heavyweight? Why not?”

Kathy Duva, Adamek's promoter, agrees.

“Tomasz is the RING … Cruiserweight Champion,” she said. “He holds something very valuable and he is not going to give it away. He doesn’t have to make any decisions right now. Tomasz is very comfortable at both weights; it’s a win-win situation. We want to keep all our options open.”

Michael Rosenthal contributed to this report

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