By Keith Idec
Heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek has turned down an opportunity to fight Kubrat Pulev in an IBF elimination match that could’ve earned him a shot at Wladimir Klitschko.
“I have been offered an opportunity to fight in Poland for far more money than I would get for fighting Kubrat Pulev,” Adamek said in a statement released Wednesday by his co-promoter, Main Events. “Meaning no disrespect to Pulev, he has never held a major title and never headlined a televised card. Any money generated by the promotion would, for the most part, be generated by my popularity. I owe it to my family to engage in the most financially rewarding bouts, and engaging in a bout with Kubrat Pulev at this time simply does not make financial sense.”
Adamek has informed IBF president Darryl Peoples of his decision. The Kearny, N.J., resident did not specify an opponent for the lucrative fight he mentioned in Poland, where the immensely popular Pole was stopped in the 10th round of a WBC title fight against Vitali Klitschko in September 2011.
The 36-year-old Adamek (48-2, 29 KOs) won a controversial split decision over Steve Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs) in the first part of the IBF elimination tournament to determine Klitschko’s new mandatory challenger. Cunningham seemed to out-box Adamek in that bout, but Adamek defeated his fellow former cruiserweight champion by split decision for the second time in four years Dec. 22 in Bethlehem, Pa.
The 31-year-old Pulev (17-0, 9 KOs), a native of Bulgaria, knocked out Russia’s Alexander Ustinov (27-1, 21 KOs) in the 11th round Sept. 29 in Hamburg, Germany, to advance to the IBF’s elimination match against Adamek. Pulev is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, but the IBF hasn’t announced if he’ll automatically become Klitschko’s mandatory challenger now that Adamek has pulled out of their fight.
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.