Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Tomasz Adamek to fight Kevin McBride
By Dan Rafael
Heavyweight contender Tomasz Adamek, who has a signed contract to challenge for a heavyweight title in September against either Wladimir Klitschko or his older brother, Vitali Klitschko, will face Kevin McBride in his final tune-up before the title shot.
Main Events promoter Kathy Duva told ESPN.com that the contracts for the Adamek-McBride fight have been signed, although the date and location is not definite yet.
The bout will take place in April. It will likely take place in Katowice, Poland, Adamek's home country, on April 16.
However, Duva said it could also take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., where Adamek, who lives in Jersey City, regularly draws large crowds.
April 16 may not work for the Prudential Center, Duva said, meaning if the fight takes place there, it could be on another date in April.
"We have confirmed Kevin McBride as Adamek's April opponent, but we were holding off on a formal announcement until after I had the chance to meet with [Adamek co-promoter] Ziggy [Rozalski] to go over the two site alternatives with him and make a decision."
Duva was on her way home Tuesday from Germany after meeting with Klitschko manager Bernd Boente to go over details for the September fight, which will be the first-ever pay-per-view event in Poland.
McBride (35-8-1, 29 KOs), of Ireland, is famous for sending Mike Tyson into retirement after knocking him out in the sixth round in June 2005.
The 37-year-old McBride never was able to capitalize on that big victory. He returned to the ring 10 months later for a low-profile win and then lost his next four fights while also battling an alcohol problem.
McBride ended the losing streak with a three-round split decision win against Franklin Egobi in October in a "Prizefighter" tournament in England.
What makes McBride an attractive opponent for Adamek, besides the fact that Adamek will be heavily favored, is that he is 6-foot-6, which is similar to the Klitschko brothers.
Adamek and his team have wanted him to gain experience against tall opponents before he fights one of the brothers for the title, which is one of the reasons he was matched with former title challenger Michael Grant in August and now with McBride.
Adamek and the Klitschkos made a deal Jan. 24 under which Adamek would get a shot at one of the brothers, both of whom hold world titles, at a new soccer stadium being built in either Warsaw or Wroclaw, Poland to be used for the 2012 European Soccer Championships.
However, all three have interim bouts scheduled. Adamek (43-1, 28 KOs), a former cruiserweight and light heavyweight champion who is 5-0 since moving up to heavyweight, faces McBride and must win to preserve his title shot.
Vitali Klitschko (41-2, 38 KOs) makes a mandatory defense against Odlanier Solis on March 19 in Cologne, Germany. Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) defends his belts against England's Dereck Chisora on April 30 in Mannheim, Germany.
If one of the Klitschkos lose, Adamek, 34, would face the other one. If they both lose, the deal is off.
If they both win, the Klitschkos can select which brother will face Adamek, although they have said it would be Wladimir -- unless titleholder David Haye comes back to the bargaining table for a much-discussed fight that Haye has so far refused to sign for even after a drawn out negotiation in which they came to terms.
However, Haye refused to accept the fight when Wladimir scheduled his interim bout with Chisora.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.