Boxing champ Tomasz Adamek wins hearts of countrymen

By Mark DiIonno

February 05, 2010, 5:11AM

Polish-born Adamek prepares for heavyweight bout in Newark Tomasz Adamek doesn’t walk through a crowd. He stops through it. Person by person. Autograph by autograph. Handshake or kiss by handshake or kiss.
At each stop, he smiles and puts his arm around the pretty girls, lip gloss aglow, or the neatly dressed ladies old enough to be his mother. He shakes hands with the balding, paunched middle-aged men or the skinny, awestruck boys, who both dream of being like him.
At each stop, there is a camera flash. From a fancy digital. A drugstore disposable. A cellphone. And there it is, forever. "The day I met Tomasz Adamek," someone will say.
Tomasz Adamek takes this all with humility. What else would you expect from a man whose idol is Karol Józef Wojtyła, the late Pope John Paul II?
Noah K. Murray/The Star LedgerPolish fighter Tomasz Adamek talks to boxing fan during press conference for his upcoming fight Saturday with Jason Estrada at Prudential Center in Newark.

He moves through the crowd with grace. "Dzienkuje," he says over and over. "Thank you," in Polish. He smiles, he nods, and every now and then, he puts a fist on somebody’s chin, if just for the camera. Because Adamek is fighter, a boxing legend in his home country.
Adamek now lives in relative anonymity in Jersey City, moving to America for better fight opportunities. While he may be unknown to most New Jersey sports fans, in the Polish neighborhoods of Garfield and Wallington and Passaic and Clifton and Bayonne and Jersey City, it is hard to find a deli or grocery or garage or hair salon that does not have a picture of the proprietor with Tomasz Adamek, or at least a signed poster of the champ.
"He never says no to anybody," said Andrew Cholewa of North Arlington. "This is why we love him. He is not embarrassed by his heritage. He embraces his people. He goes to all the Polish festivals and things like that. That’s why he is idolized by us."
"I love him. He is a very good man," said Ewa Plucinska of Carteret. "He is a good family man, this I know. And his celebrity, it brings our community together."
Adamek is a very good fighter, too. He’s won two world championships and has 39-1 record with 27 knockouts. Saturday night he moves up against Jason Estrada at Newark’s Prudential Center, where 10,000 people are expected. It will be his fourth fight here in two years, and the crowds have grown exponentially.
"I feel now, this is my home arena," Adamek said. "There are so many people who come and support me."
On fight night, most will be waving the red and white Flaga Polski, or wearing red shirts emblazoned with the Orzel Bialy (the White Eagle crest). Many will have come to New Jersey or the Greenpoint section in Brooklyn by way of Krakow, the anchor city of southern Poland, not far from the mountain village of Gilowice, where Adamek grew up. His nickname is "Goral" which means mountain man. And he is. He wears a size 14 shoe, and has hands to match. His angular face is not friendly. It says "prison guard." That is, until he smiles.
"He is one of us," said Leszek Czolpik, who like his neighbor Cholewa, brought his teenage son to meet Adamek at his final public appearance before the fight. It was called a press conference, but most of the pressing was done against Adamek by his fans at the Hudson Bread cafe in North Bergen.
"In Poland, Adamek’s fights draws the same attention as a European Cup soccer match," said to Joanna Brzychcy Maloney, a reporter for Nowy Dziennik (daily news.) "Here, he has brought the American Polish and new immigrants together."
Larry Hazzard, the former head of the New Jersey athletic commission who has spent 50 years in the sport and is going into its hall of fame, was in Poland in October when Adamek fought Andrew Golota, the former Polish heavyweight contender.
"It was crazy," Hazzard said. "It was as big as any fight anywhere; 20,000 people in the arena, 10 million watching on TV. He has the potential to be as big in Poland as Muhammad Ali was in the United States. That’s how people react to him. Especially if he wins the heavyweight championship."
If not, he will still be champion to many people, and his picture will stay up in all those places where he was not only big, but revered.
Noah K. Murray -The Star LedgerBoxers Jason Estrada and Tomasz Adamek, during press conference for their upcoming fight on Saturday at Prudential Center.
Previous coverage:

This is going to be one hell of a fight ,Who's going to win ?
-Adamek by TKO 7-8 round .


Adamek defeats Estrada

Photo: Ed Mulholland

By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek (40-1, 27 KOs) continued his excursion in the heavyweight ranks with a hard fought twelve round decision over Olympian Jason Estrada (16-3, 4 KOs) on Saturday night in front of 10,123 predominantly Adamek fans at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Scores were 115-113, 116-112, and an off-base 118-110 as Adamek kept his IBF International belt. “I was prepared for 12 rounds, and pretty early in the fight I realized this is what would happen. So I had to conserve more energy, maybe be less aggressive than in my previous fights,” said Adamek afterward.
Photos: Ed Mulholland

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Post Fight Quotes From Jason Estrada:
“If everyone in this room were completely honest with themselves you would all admit that I got robbed. I mean I got played. I might as well have had a gun pointed to my head. At best I give Adamek three of the twelve rounds. I seriously think the last judge doesn’t need to judge anymore. Yeah I’m angry. I fought my a_ _ off. I trained harder than I ever have. I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in. People talked about me possibly running out of gas, but I never did. All he (Adamek) did was run. If I learned one thing tonight it was that I can’t go into anyone’s hometown to fight. What do I have to do bring a gun?”
Quotes from Tomasz Adamek:
“It was the best Jason Estrada I’ve ever seen in my life. He was 50 percent better today, than he when he fought a top three heavyweight like Alexander Povetkin. Quick, with a good defense and a very hard head. It was extremely difficult to locate precise punches, because of his defense. Maybe, I should have use more than three punches combination, maybe risk a little more? I wanted to do it, but my trainer Andrzej Gmitruk was telling me all the time in the corner to be more boxer than puncher, avoid his punches first, then use different temp to throw him of his strategy. It was another test in heavyweight division, versus very difficult to fight boxer. “
“I was hit couple of times hard, sure – but this is a part of boxing. But none of his punches made me change my tactics or get sacred, not at all. I knew he didn’t have a knockout punch…”
“I weighed 220 pounds for this fight, probably an ideal weight for me, I was prepared for 12 rounds, and pretty early in the fight I realized this is what would happen. So I had to conserve more energy, maybe be less aggressive than in my previous fights.”
“I don’t even want to get into these Jason assumptions that he was robbed. I think I won by four, maybe five points. My trainer Andrzej Gmitruk wanted me to be more boxer than puncher, was screaming at me in the corner. But how can I fight differently when I have a 10,000 of my red and white fans screaming for me to do just that? They pay good money to see entertaining fight, not some boring, slow guys throwing 10 punches a round.”
“I have couple of words for those who are saying that I cannot fight Arreola because he is a much better puncher than Estrada. First of all every fight is different, and anyone who knows about boxing can say ‘Estrada hit him, but Arreola will do the same, and harder.’ We don’t know that. Maybe it will be easier for me to avoid punches from Arreola, and maybe it will be easier for me to hit him! We just don’t know, but won’t it be interesting to see…“
__________________________________________________ ______

Wrong ,no TKO .
10:00 – The crowd is painted red and white and there is a buzz in the air as we prepare for the main event, Tomasz Adamek and Jason Estrada in a heavyweight bout. The place is near capacity (if I had to guess, I would say 9,000+ are here) and the crowd is raucous. A promotional video for Estrada plays and the crowd boos with vigor. Adamek’s video draws a huge response. An indescribably amazing Polish rock song blares as Adamek makes his way to the ring, greeted by his adoring fans. They chant Adamek’s name, they chant in Polish, and they generally make as much joyous noise as possible. This is awesome.
Adamek opens the 1st round by working the body as Estrada loops a right hand. Estrada jabs and Adamek hooks the body, then head. More good body shots from Adamek near the end of the round. In the 2nd, Adamek throws a combination that elicits a roar. Estrada lands a good counter but Adamek mixes his attack well and moves effectively. He lands another nice combination in the third and a big straight right. A good exchange as Estrada gets in some good shots. Estrada lands a straight right but Adamek counters with a combination. Estrada lands a big shot before the bell that might give him the round. Adamek opens the 4rth with determination and does good work to the body. He lands a nice combination and a good left hook to take the round. Adamek continues this pace in the 5th and Estrada struggles to keep pace. Adamek unleashes an offensive surge and the fans respond. Adamek maintains the activity in the 6th and seems to be too fast for Estrada. Estrada begs to differ and raises his hand triumphantly after the round, drawing serious heat.
Adamek continues to work the body in the second half of the fight. I’m impressed by how he has used angles and movement so far. Estrada lands a left hook and Adamek responds in kind. An exchange to end the round, which was closer than the last few. Estrada raises his hand, crowd boos louder. Both fighters land hard punches early in the 8th. Adamek lands a counter left hook and unloads an offensive surge, taking control of the round with a relentless attack. Adamek throws a five-punch combination to start the 9th and proceeds to work the body. Estrada stalks as Adamek stays on his toes. Adamek lands more body shots and a left hook to end the round. Adamek continues to move well in the tenth and lands sharp straight rights at the end of the round. By the 11th round, the crowd is buzzing and Estrada looks frustrated. He is more demonstrative between rounds than during them. Estrada comes out determined in the 12th and lands a combination. The fighters engage in a furious exchange and the crowd erupts. If only they had fought with this urgency for the entire fight. Adamek lands a sharp left hook. Estrada lands a strong straight right. The last round of the fight was the best round of the fight. The scores read 115-113, 116-112, and 118-110 for Adamek, closer than I expected. The crowd is ecstatic. Adamek gives a post-fight interview entirely in Polish that 90% of the crowd understands. I’m just enjoying the spectacle