By Keith Idec
Promoter Kathy Duva expects a sellout crowd in excess of 42,000 to attend the Vitali Klitschko-Tomasz Adamek heavyweight title fight Sept. 10 in Wroclaw, Poland.
More than 33,000 tickets already have been sold to what will be one of the biggest sporting events in Poland’s history. An additional 9,000 tickets are expected to go on sale next week, once it is determined which seats will have obstructed views of the ring.
Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw, built primarily to host part of the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer tournament, is near completion. The bout between Poland’s Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) and Ukraine’s Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs), the WBC heavyweight champion, will be the first event held at the new stadium.
Wroclaw is close to the German border, but it appears as though the crowd will be decidedly pro-Adamek, much like the crowds for Adamek’s seven fights at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., over the past 2½ years.
“It’s going to be insane,” said Duva, chief executive officer for Main Events, which co-promotes Adamek. “It’s going to be a party. There are going to be more than 40,000 people there. Also, they’re telling me, and they can tell from the credit card receipts where the tickets are being sold, it’s almost all Polish [fans buying tickets]. We’re on the border of Germany, so I really expected the Germans would come to follow Klitschko. We’re finding that’s not happening. So the crowd could be like the Prudential Center times four.”
Adamek, a former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion, is a big underdog, but Duva thinks his loud, loyal followers will work to Adamek’s advantage.
“It doesn’t help every fighter,” Duva said. “I know guys who fought horribly in their hometowns. Holyfield fought horribly in his hometown. It was the last place we’d ever bring him after he had that fight with Bert Cooper [in November 1991 in Atlanta].
“There are other fighters that do fight well in front of their crowd, and Tomasz is an example of a guy who does. If anything, his only weakness in front of his own crowd was that they tended to egg him on and get him to be a little reckless. But that’s something that [trainer] Roger [Bloodworth] has been working on really hard over the last couple years. That’s been part of the preparation and what’s been so wonderful about having him in front of that big crowd over and over again [at Prudential Center], to get him to learn that you have to win the fight, not show off, not respond to the crowd wanting you to brawl. He knows and he has said, ‘I know I’m not going to beat [Klitschko] if I go in and try to brawl with him. Obviously, that’s not what I’m going to do.’ But every time he lands a punch, boy, that place is going to go insane.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.