By Keith Idec
Tomasz Adamek’s co-promoter emphasized Wednesday that the popular Polish contender wants to participate in the IBF’s proposed four-man elimination tournament to determine the sanctioning organization’s new mandatory challenger for Wladimir Klitschko.
The IBF intends to match Adamek (46-2, 28 KOs) against Russian Alexander Ustinov (27-0, 21 KOs) and Cuban Odlanier Solis (18-1, 12 KOs) against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev (16-0, 8 KOs). The winners would meet for the right to become the IBF’s No. 1 heavyweight contender for Klitschko (58-3, 51 KOs).
Kathy Duva — whose company, Main Events, co-promotes Adamek and Solis — said both boxers have agreed to partake in the tournament. Duva added that as of Wednesday night, Ustinov and Pulev had not committed to it.
If Ustinov agrees to participate, Duva would like to match him against Adamek on Sept. 8 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., in the main event of an independent pay-per-view telecast.
Adamek was expected to oppose faded former contender James Toney (74-7-3, 45 KOs, 2 NC) on Sept. 8, but Duva and the 43-year-old Toney’s representatives ultimately couldn’t come to contractual terms to make that fight.
“Once the IBF sent us an e-mail on Monday,” Duva said, “telling us that they were ordering Adamek to be in an eliminator, we figured, ‘Well, we haven’t made a deal [with Toney]. Obviously, this isn’t going anywhere and we have to move on.’
“So that’s what we decided. Now we are exploring [the tournament]. I don’t know how that’s going to turn out, but I don’t have any intention of talking about who he’s fighting next until I know for sure. And that’s why I don’t make statements until contracts have been signed.”
Representatives for Ustinov and Pulev have until Thursday to commit to the IBF’s four-fighter tournament.
Duva stressed, however, that reports of Adamek’s opposition to the IBF’s tournament are inaccurate.
“I don’t know where that came from,” Duva said. “I haven’t spoken to [Adamek] myself, but I spoke to [co-promoter] Ziggy [Rozalski] and he said, ‘Don’t pay any attention to that.’ He doesn’t know where that came from. … [Adamek isn’t] one to turn things down.”
The 35-year-old Ustinov, who resides in Minsk, Belarus, has fought just once in the United States. To meet Adamek, he’d have to come to the Kearny, N.J. resident’s proverbial backyard, where Adamek has drawn sizeable crowds for eight of his fights over the past 3½ years.
Adamek, also 35, defeated Philadelphia’s Eddie Chambers by unanimous decision in a 12-round fight in his most recent action, June 16 at Prudential Center. The former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion has won two bouts by decision since WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (44-2, 40 KO) beat him by 10th-round technical knockout Sept. 10 in Wroclaw, Poland.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.