By Keith Idec
Tomasz Adamek acknowledges there were times Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov got the better of him during their sparring sessions.
The Polish heavyweight contender also is 100-percent certain that won’t matter when they square off Saturday night at Sands Events Center in Bethlehem, Pa. (9 p.m. ET; NBC Sports Network).
“In my opinion, sparring is sparring,” Adamek said on a conference call to promote their 12-round fight. “A fight is a different story. You have small gloves and no headgear [in an official fight] and you have many people around the world watching you. … The fight is more important. I want to show my class, show my experience and win this fight.”
Ukraine’s Glazkov, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, concurred with Adamek’s assessment. He won’t be overconfident just because he buzzed Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs) a few times in sparring.
“I have to agree with [Adamek],” Glazkov said. “Sparring is sparring and a bout is a bout. It’s a completely different story.”
If Glazkov (16-0-1, 11 KOs) is to be taken seriously as a potential threat to fellow Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko, he’ll have to perform much better against Adamek than he did during his last televised fight. He was fortunate to walk away with a draw after struggling against veteran Malik Scott (36-1-1, 13 KOs) during their 10-rounder a year ago in Huntington, N.Y.
“After the bout with Malik Scott, me and my trainer went over it and found some mistakes we made in our preparation for the fight and during the fight,” Glazkov said. “We had no plan. I was too tight. I didn’t throw my punches the right way. I got some experience. It’s very good that bout happened to me. We’ve made corrections in training camp and it was a good experience.”
The 6-foot-2, 219-pound Adamek and the 6-3, 218-pound Glazkov initially were set to box Nov. 16 in Verona, N.Y., but Adamek pulled out two days before the fight due to the flu. Glazkov soundly defeated late replacement Garrett Wilson (13-7-1, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 10-round fight.
Main Events, which promotes Adamek and Glazkov, rescheduled their IBF elimination match as soon as possible, but moved the fight from an afternoon NBC broadcast to its “Fight Night” series on NBC Sports Network. The winner will become the IBF’s No. 2 contender to champion Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KOs), who would first have to make a mandatory defense against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (19-0, 10 KOs), the IBF’s No. 1 contender.
A Klitschko-Pulev fight is contingent on Klitschko defeating Australia’s Alex Leapai (30-4-2, 24 KOs), who’s a huge underdog, on April 26 in Oberhausen, Germany.
Even if it doesn’t lead to challenging Wladimir Klitschko, the 30-year-old Glazkov recognizes the importance of looking good in a win against Adamek, a former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion who lost to Vitali Klitschko in his bid to become a heavyweight champion.
“In this bout, I will try to look explosive,” Glazkov said, “and get more American fans.”
The NBC Sports Network broadcast will start Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET with a 10-round light heavyweight bout between South Africa’s Isaac Chilemba (13-2-1, 8 KOs) and Russia’s Denis Grachev (21-2-2, 9 KOs).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.