Adam Kownacki outslugs, outpoints Charles Martin in Brooklyn crowd-pleaser
A thousand seats had been sold to people wearing red and white, proud Poles, at Barclays Center to root on their babyfaced brawler, Adam Kownacki, who took on ex-IBF heavyweight champ Charles Martin Saturday evening in Brooklyn, and on Showtime.
It sounded like more when the XXL hitter (262.3 pounds), who often has been overlooked on his upward climb from the NY Golden Gloves to the top-10 tier he now enjoys, had his hand raised against the lefty Martin, a St. Louis resident who’s been a social media favorite for some of his colorful and bizarre pronouncements.
Kownacki went to 18-0, and almost snagged a stoppage in a hellacious and marvelous round ten. Martin had him hurt, and then the Pole roared back and had Martin almost out on his feet. But Martin hung in, and showed cajones galore to stay aloft. Somehow, neither man fell.
This was more function than form on display, but but men deserve props for their grit. After ten, the cards were read: 96-94, times three. “And STILL undefeated!”
In chatting with fellow fightwriters, more folks told me they were amped to see this heavyweight crossroads fight play out than they were any other fight on the card, including the main event between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. Such is the regard afforded to the heavyweight class; there is heavyweight boxing, and then there is everything else. Still, one can hold that adage in mind, but then be bitterly disappointed by a soggy affair, a dreary dance, a somnambulant waltz.
This was not that.
Kownacki and me messaged Friday night, and he told me he thought Martin acted scared at the Friday weigh-in, and that he’d stop him in “under six,” for the record.
In the first, AK bulled forward. He lunged and leaped and got caught some coming in from Martin, a lefty. Martin did well backing up, sniping, but at the end of the round, the 5,000-sounding Poles roared when AK flurried.
In round two, AK slugged, and served, and also ate. Martin sought to hit the soft middle, but the Pole wasn’t deterred. AK mixed shots well, throwing rights to the body now and again.
In the third, Martin moved backward and to his right, and wanted to find spaces to counter the busier Pole. His face was lumping up, and he was getting manhandled some. Then he’d land a lil hook, a left hook, while standing his ground. AK’s short hooks worked to good effect. Both looked tired by the end of the third.
In round four, AK pressed forward, more of the same. Martin smartly targeted the gut but AK plugged forward, meanly. Martin held on, mid-round. Again, AK was the busier boxer.
In the fifth, Martin looked to employ a keep-away jab. AK’s pop was losing luster, but Martin was a bit beat. AK, though slow, kept up a volume edge.
In the sixth, Martin’s strategy was the same. Aim low, go for the gut. They traded and the crowd got excited. AK rights, so slow a round before, had some pepper on them. To 7; AK’s arm punches would get an old-school coach irked, but they thudded still. Martin was drawing praise in press row for hanging tough.
In the eighth, Martin fired one-twos. The action was slower and sloppier then. They traded in the last 25 seconds and though the bombs were smaller, they were still exploding some.
In 9; AK had a second wind. Martin wasn’t looking to fade or drop, though. Tight shots from the Pole kept finding a target, and then he’d widen it out and seek to up the power. To 10; AK was the aggressor, coming forward, being busier, winning the round. Then Martin stepped it up, sensinf Ak was beat. And then AK roared back and had Martin almost out. We’d go to the cards, after a STELLAR last round.
Both men had their say after:
“I think the fans liked it. It was a good fight. I worked really hard to look impressive tonight.
“Charles Martin gave it all in the ring tonight. He put up a good fight.
“I have a great team behind me. I think I proved tonight that I’m a top 10 fighter at heavyweight. I need a few more fights before the title shot. But it’s coming.
“I thought I won the decision a little wider than the cards, but Charles came to fight all night. He was in shape and coming forward and I had to dig deep.
“The Polish fans were awesome tonight. It definitely gave me a boost. It’s a blessing, they’re the best in the world.”
”I believed I got the win. I did work on the inside and no one saw that. I did really good work on the inside.
“I will get back in the gym. I’ll keep on going. Looks are very deceiving. I put up a hell of a fight and I came up just short.”
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