By Keith Idec
Garrett Wilson will make his heavyweight debut on one of boxing’s biggest stages.
Wilson (13-6-1, 7 KOs), a cruiserweight from Philadelphia, has agreed to replace an ill Tomasz Adamek as Vyacheslav Glazkov’s opponent in a main event that’ll be broadcast by NBC on Saturday afternoon from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The Adamek-Glazkov fight figured to be highly competitive and viewer-friendly, but matchmakers for Main Events, which promotes Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs) and Glazkov (15-0-1, 11 KOs), were left scrambling for Adamek’s replacement after his co-promoter, Ziggy Rozalski, informed Main Events on Wednesday morning that Adamek didn’t feel well.
The 36-year-old Adamek officially withdrew from the fight Thursday morning, hours before the final news conference at Turning Stone. Main Events chief executive officer Kathy Duva was willing to wait until Friday for Adamek’s final decision, but after visiting a doctor Wednesday, the popular Polish contender still felt ill Thursday and decided it wasn’t wise to fight Saturday in a 12-round elimination match that would’ve determined the IBF’s No. 2 contender to champion Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KOs).
Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone told BoxingScene.com that she called numerous heavyweights Wednesday, but they all understandably passed on accepting a difficult fight on such short notice. Malik Scott (35-1-1, 12 KOs), who fought to a draw with Glazkov on Feb. 23, Monte Barrett (35-10-2, 20 KOs), who was one of Adamek’s sparring partners for Glazkov, Derek Bryant (20-7-1, 17 KOs), Steve Cunningham (25-6, 12 KOs), Bryant Jennings (17-0, 9 KOs), Kevin Johnson (29-3-1, 14 KOs), Luis Ortiz (19-0, 16 KOs, 1 NC), Tony Thompson (38-4, 26 KOs) and Mariusz Wach (27-1, 15 KOs) were among the potential replacements that passed on facing Glazkov just two days before having to weigh in for the 12-round heavyweight bout.
With a time slot to fill Saturday afternoon on NBC and no attractive alternative that would’ve worked within their budget, Duva, Mizzone and Russell Peltz picked the 5-foot-9 Wilson because they expect that he’ll press the action and try to win, despite a size disadvantage against the 6-foot-3 Glazkov. The Philadelphia-based Peltz, who works with Main Events as an adviser and matchmaker, is Wilson’s former promoter.
The 31-year-old Wilson was already training for a Dec. 6 cruiserweight fight against Brazil’s Hamilton Ventura (11-0-1, 10 KOs) in Opelousas, La. Wilson last fought Feb. 22, when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Uzbekistan’s Alexander Alekseev (24-2-1, 20 KOs) in Galati, Romania.
Other than one light heavyweight bout, Wilson has fought exclusively as a cruiserweight during his five-year pro career. Wilson weighed in at a career-high 199½ pounds for his fight against Alekseev. The 29-year-old Glazkov, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, weighed 220 pounds for his last fight, a second-round technical knockout win over journeyman Byron Polley (25-16-1, 11 KOs, 3 NC) on Aug. 3 in Uncasville, Conn.
Wilson has been stopped once, in the fourth round of a March 2010 fight against retired four-time super middleweight world championship challenger Omar Sheika (32-12, 21 KOs). Wilson contended that fight was stopped prematurely and avenged that setback by scoring a one-sided, 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Sheika, of Paterson, N.J., in their April 2012 rematch in Atlantic City.
The NBC telecast will begin at 2:30 p.m. ET with an eight-round lightweight bout between Philadelphia’s Karl Dargan (13-0, 7 KOs) and Long Island’s Michael Brooks (10-0-1, 2 KOs).
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.