- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The first time contender Tomasz Adamek fought for a heavyweight world title, Vitali Klitschko battered him into a 10th-round knockout in 2010. Adamek has five consecutive wins since and closing in on another title shot.
Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov, a 2008 Ukrainian Olympic bronze medalist, is still a heavyweight on the rise and looking for his first shot and first victory against a big-name opponent.
So it’s veteran contender against up-and-comer with a lot on the line when Adamek, 36, and Glazkov, 29, meet in a scheduled 12-round elimination bout as boxing returns to network television on Saturday (NBC, 2:30 p.m.) at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY.
The winner will climb to No. 2 in one of the sanctioning body ratings and be in an ideal position for a title opportunity against champion Wladimir Klitschko.
When Poland’s Adamek (49-2, 29 KOs), who lives in Jersey City, N.J., and Glazkov square off it will not, however, be the first time they have been in the ring with each other.
When Adamek was training for an Aug. 3 fight against Tony Grano -- who got injured, dropped out and was replaced by Dominick Guinn -- Glazkov served as Adamek’s main sparring partner. Glazkov (15-0-1, 11 KOs) was training for his own fight on the undercard, which was ultimately a second-round knockout of Byron Polley. Adamek easily outpointed Guinn in the main event.
Adamek and Glazkov sparred regularly for six weeks leading up to their fights, according to Main Events matchmaker Jolene Mizzone.
When Grano dropped out, Mizzone said that Glazkov lobbied her to let him replace him against Adamek.
“When Grano pulled out Glazkov really wanted to fight Adamek,” Mizzone said. “It just didn’t work out and I got Guinn. But that kind of caught my eye -- that Glazkov wanted to fight Adamek. It’s not that Adamek turned him down, it’s just that it didn’t make sense at that time. Glazkov was coming off the draw with Malik Scott and Adamek had been off since December.
“But when Glazkov said he would fight Adamek, that always stuck in my head. They saw something in Adamek (in the sparring sessions) that they won’t reveal. For him to want to step in on two weeks’ notice that was something.”
The other reason Glazkov didn’t get the fight in August was because the card was on NBC Sports Net, whereas Saturday’s show is a lot higher profile as it will be in front of much larger audience on NBC.
Adamek brushed off their sparring sessionsm saying they will have no impact on Saturday’s fight.
“We became friends with Glazkov but it stopped when we were in the ring during my training camp before Guinn fight,” Adamek said. “He's very aggressive and strong, likes to pressure when he fights. I don't think he learned enough from me. He did not see me fighting for real.
“Glazkov knows that sparring with me is totally different than fighting me. I know he wants to replace me, but I worked too hard. It will not happen.”
Glazkov, who also gained experience in a recent training camp with Wladimir Klitschko, is happy to have gotten the fight with Adamek, even though he would have preferred it in August after Grano’s injury.
“I had a very good camp boxing with Klitschko, as I helped him prepare for his (Oct. 5) fight with (Alexander) Povetkin,” Glazkov said. “Adamek is a very good fighter with a big name. He is big and strong and comes forward during the fight. This is good for me. I think I can win this fight. It will help put my name on the list of the best heavyweight fighters.
“It won't be easy because Adamek is a very skillful and tough veteran. As an up and coming prospect I will do whatever it takes and fight until the end to win this fight. I understand this win would open a gate for me into deep waters of the heavyweight division. This is important and I don't intend to waste this opportunity.”