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Tomasz Adamek

Fighter Profile: Tomasz “Goral” Adamek

Tomasz Adamek is a former light heavyweight champion who is now contending in the heavyweight division. The Polish standout is known for his punch-resistance, toughness, and smarts in the ring. He is managing to compile quite a nice resume for himself and has lost only once in 42 fights.

Early Career

Adamek began boxing competitively at age 12 and quickly became one of the best amateurs in Poland. He competed internationally, winning a bronze medal in the European championships in 1998. He finished his amateur career at 108-12. He turned pro at 22 in 1999.

His buildup was typical of most hopefuls—a long line of journeymen and an unbeaten streak. Adamek fought mostly in Poland and in the U.K. as he built his credentials. He gradually increased the level of his opposition, beating several quality veterans. After a good win over Ismail Abdoul, Adamek was given a shot at the vacant WBC Light Heavyweight Title against Paul Briggs.

Title Run at Light Heavyweight

Adamek beat Briggs by decision in a war. It was the public’s first opportunity to see what would later make Adamek one of the best fighters in the game. Though still somewhat raw, Adamek showed the grit, high punch output, and love for combat that has made him a crowd favorite. The majority decision he received was testament to how competitive the fight was.

Adamek squeezed in a dominant KO over Thomas Ulrich before taking on a rematch with Briggs. Again, the fight was action-packed and punishing for both men. Down in the first, Adamek was forced to dig deep to work his way back into the fight. Despite the knockdown and a point deduction late in the fight, Adamek was able to gut out another majority decision to conclude his taxing series with Paul Briggs.

Adamek’s run of success would come to an end in his next bout—against rising Chad Dawson. Frankly, it was very surprising to see Dawson outbox Adamek with such ease. In light of Adamek’s prior and subsequent performances, it’s strange how tepid he was in that fight. He was able to drop Dawson heavily late in the fight, but was otherwise outboxed handily.

Getting Back on Top at Cruiserweight

He immediately left the light heavyweight division to campaign at cruiserweight. At this time, there was not a lot of optimism surrounding Adamek. He quickly put some wind in his sails with a series of quick wins, including a stoppage of former champ O’Neil Bell. Adamek was now positioned to take on excellent champion Steve Cunningham. Adamek was the underdog against the slick-boxing Cunningham, but seemed to get some extra motivation from the rabid pro-Adamek crowd in Newark. Adamek was brilliant, dumping Cunningham on the canvas whenever the American appeared to be getting a foothold. He pressured the champion, took the punches well, stay poised, and really fought like a champion.

Two defenses followed, including a surprisingly easy destruction of undefeated Johnathon Banks. A long reign was expected, but Adamek had other ideas.

Moving up to Heavyweight

When Adamek agreed to take on Andrew Golota in Poland, it was seen as a chance for him to make some big money, while fighting a fellow Pole in his home country. When his next fight was signed against heavyweight Jason Estrada, it appeared that Adamek might be a heavyweight for good.

His win over Cristobal Arreola in April was a real display of guts. Against a hard-hitting opponent with a 33-pound weight advantage, Adamek was resourceful, shifty, and durable—standing up to the best Arreola had to offer. The majority decision in favor of Adamek established him as a legit heavyweight. You might have received a raised eyebrow after Adamek lost to Dawson if you told someone that in 3 years Adamek would be a leading heavyweight contender, but that’s just what he is.


At  41-1, Adamek’s options are all lucrative. He could soon land a title shot at heavyweight. A challenge of David Haye, another former cruiserweight champion, seems like a reasonable option. In the meantime, he could take a number of other fights and make good money fighting in Newark—where he a tremendous draw.