Kownacki: Demirezen fight is biggest of my career, have to win to stay relevant


Adam Kownacki was a rising star for the PBC brand just two years ago, coming off of an exciting win over Chris Arreola in a heavyweight slugfest, and rumored to be right on track for a shot at the WBC heavyweight title.

But two straight stoppage losses to Robert Helenius have derailed the Kownacki (20-2, 15 KO) hype train, and now the 33-year-old Polish-born Brooklynite is set to return on July 30, facing a tough Ali Eren Demirzen on Showtime.

“This is the biggest fight of my career. I have to win to stay relevant in the heavyweight division. I’m training hard and I’m ready to win,” he said at a virtual press conference on Thursday.

“I never thought I was done after fighting Robert Helenius. My goal is just to always go out there and do my best. My first boxing goal was to win the New York Golden Gloves, and I did that in my first year. My goal, now, is to win the world title, and that’s what I’m working toward.

“I had a good 20 fights, I hit a bump in the road, but on July 30 I’m coming to get a win and then I’m back on the right track. I want to get a world title shot in the next year or two, and with my team, I know that I can get that done.”

Demirezen (16-1, 12 KO) is no easy bounce-back opponent. The 32-year-old Turkish fighter was an Olympian in 2016, and has won five straight fights following a 2019 decision loss to Efe Ajagba.

He’s also been active, fighting twice this year, stopping Gerald Washington in eight on PBC’s New Year’s Day pay-per-view, and then returning on May 28 in Germany to defeat veteran gatekeeper Kevin Johnson in a stay-busy bout.

Kownacki says that he’s worked on changing things up in camp, zeroing in on one thing in particular.

“The footwork is really what we’re focused on. I remember being in camp with Wladimir Klitschko and being amazed by his footwork. I worked on it a lot back then but I got a little bit away from it,” he said.

And while he says there will be “fireworks” and that he’s excited to fight in front of what is always a great, pro-Kownacki crowd in Brooklyn, he’s not looking to repeat his mistakes.

“For a while, I could go blow-for-blow and come out on top,” he stated. “The past couple fights didn’t end that way, so we went back to some of our basics. That’s what I have to do to take the next steps.”

Trainer Keith Trimble echoed some of those ideas, saying, “We just have to get back to working behind the jab and working on the head movement. We can’t get lackadaisical. You’re going to see better footwork, better movement, and Adam working behind that jab.”

“In this sport, you’re only as good as your last fight,” Trimble added. “Everyone wants to dump on you when you take a loss, but we’re just focused on what is in front of us.”

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