There is a war brewing in New York City on Saturday, when Juiseppe Cusumano (21-4, 19 KOs) meets Adam Kownacki (20-3, 15 KOs) in a 10-round heavyweight slugfest at Madison Square Garden’s Theater and broadcast live on DAZN.  The bout is the chief support to Edgar Berlanga’s super middleweight fight against Ireland’s Jason Quigley.   

The pair were friendly enough during the final press conference on Thursday, each thanking the another for agreeing to the fight, but there was a tension in the air suggesting that both are aware that the meeting is a make-or-break fight for each man’s career.

“Juiseppe goes to the moon if he wins this fight,” said CES Boxing promoter Jimmy Burchfield, Sr.  “We’d be ready for anyone, and he deserves it after all of the sacrifices he’s made.”      

In addition to a long training camp at Champ’s Boxing Gym in Danbury, CT, the 35-year-old Cusumano also spent 2 grueling weeks doing conditioning work with Farmer strength in the Costa Rican jungle, where he ran up to 12 miles a day in high elevation and extreme heat.  The work is noticeable when looking up at the 6’4” Virginia resident.    

“I feel good,” said Cusumano, who appears to be in tremendous shape for Saturday night.  “I trained very hard. Everything’s done, now it’s just time to put my training into practice”.

The “Sicilian Nightmare” is convinced that this fight will mark the end of the road for Kownacki and the beginning of a championship run for himself.

“Kownacki’s had a lot of great fights,” said a confident Cusumano.  “He’s had his ups and downs, but his time has passed.  I haven’t had my moment yet, so I feel like it’s my turn.”

Indeed, Kownacki has had his share of big fights over his 14-year career, facing the likes of former IBF titlist Charles Martin and contenders such as Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka and Robert Helenius.  The Polish fighter, now residing in Brooklyn, won 20 straight fights before suffering consecutive knockouts against Helenius in 2020 and 2021 and dropping a 10-round decision to Ali Demirezen last July.

While some thought Kownacki would retire after those losses, the 34-year-old is returning almost a year later with a new promoter, Matchroom USA, on a mission to resurrect his career.  

“I think Adam is in the best shape he’s ever been in,” suggested Burchfield Sr.  “His camp is serious because they realize that this is it for him as well. With so much at stake, this fight could steal the show.”  

The problem for Adam is that in Cusumano he’s facing an inspired fighter who views this fight as a huge opportunity to launch his own title campaign.

“This is the new Juiseppe Cusumano,” agreed Burchfield.  “He’s had a tremendous camp and he’s got a great team around him.  He’s never been more serious.  He knows that this is the real deal.  You’re going to see a great fight here.  I never gave up on Juiseppe, and I think he’s going to shock the heavyweight division on Saturday night.”

While Burfield believes that both men are in tip-top condition, the veteran promoter thinks that the Italian’s power will be the difference on Saturday night.

“One of Adam’s strengths is the endurance that he has,” said Burchfield.  “Juiseppe has to break him down one round at a time.  Kownacki’s not a guy that you can knock out with one punch.  His endurance is unbelievable, but Juiseppe has had over 150 rounds of sparring for this fight, and he’s quick for a heavyweight.  All heavyweights can punch, but Juiseppe has unbelievable power, so I think you’re going to see it all come together on Saturday.”  

Cusumano couldn’t agree more: “The difference between me and Kownacki on Saturday night is that I’m going to be quicker and I hit harder.  My fight will steal the show.  It's my time.”