By Keith Idec
Steve Cunningham figured he’d have to wait a little longer for his rematch with Tomasz Adamek after Adamek came back to stop Travis Walker on Sept. 8 in Newark, N.J.
Turns out the wait is over for the former cruiserweight champion from Philadelphia.
Cunningham (25-4, 12 KOs) and Adamek (47-1, 29 KOs) signed contracts Tuesday to fight again Dec. 22 in Bethlehem, Pa., in a 12-round heavyweight bout that’ll be televised live by NBC from the Sands Casino Resort’s Events Center. Negotiations began for Adamek-Cunningham II once Odlanier Solis failed to sign a contract for his fight against Adamek by a deadline last last week.
Solis (18-1, 12 KOs), a Miami resident raised in Cuba, was supposed to encounter Norway’s Leif Larsen (16-0, 13 KOs) in a 10-round fight last Friday in Madrid. Solis withdrew from that anticipated tune-up for the Adamek fight on about a week’s notice, but his co-promoter, Ahmet Oner, assured co-promoter Kathy Duva that the 2004 Olympic gold medalist still would meet Adamek in an important heavyweight fight in two months.
Solis remains under contract with Duva’s Main Events and Oner’s Arena Box. He could face the Adamek-Cunningham winner early in 2013 if issues he apparently has with Oner can be resolved.
Cunningham, meanwhile, will get an opportunity to avenge his close loss to the Polish-born Adamek in a rematch four years in the making.
Adamek overcame Cunningham by split decision in a highly entertaining, 12-round brawl for Cunningham’s IBF cruiserweight championship on Dec. 11, 2008, at Prudential Center in Newark. Cunningham made that bout extremely close despite that Adamek floored him three times in an event that marked the beginning of Adamek’s development as a box-office attraction at Prudential Center.
The 35-year-old Adamek moved up to heavyweight the following summer and has gone 9-1 at that weight, including a wild win over Atlanta’s Walker (39-8-1, 31 KOs) last month at Prudential Center. Adamek, a resident of nearby Kearny, N.J., survived a second-round knockdown and stopped the significantly bigger Walker in the fifth round.
The 36-year-old Cunningham, who signed with Main Events over the summer, made his heavyweight debut on the Adamek-Walker undercard. He easily out-pointed Jason Gavern (21-12-4), of Orlando, Fla., in a 10-rounder.
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.