By Przemek Garczarczyk
“As far as the judging goes, we’ve seen it all. We don’t expect fair judging – and we shouldn’t get it! Might sound funny coming from us, but this is Tomasz Adamek’s house and his fans come to see him win. I should be held to a slightly higher standard to unseat the king in his own kingdom. I have to make a statement to get the W.”
That’s the honest and straight forward opinion of battle-tested heavyweight “Big” Fred Kassi (18-6, 10 KO), who on November 18 in Częstochowa, Poland will attempt to beat one of the best Polish fighters in history, former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion of the world, and heavyweight title challenger Tomasz “Góral” Adamek (51-5, 30 KO).
When the Adamek fight was offered, what did you like about it the most?
First off, it’s an honor to be in the ring with Tomasz Adamek. He’s one of our favorite heavyweights.
Who wasn’t rooting for him back in 2011 against Klitschko? I make my living fighting giants so I know more than most that Adamek is a warrior not only to get in the ring with the Klitschkos of world, but to come forward and press the action and to make the fight. He’s not only a Polish hero, he’s a boxing hero – fighting against all odds. As for me, I’m ready to get back into action. Like Adamek, I’ve fought top-level competition and usually my opponent outweighs me by 40lbs+ and has a 6” reach advantage. This is a great opportunity to get to where I want to be and leave my own legacy.
Does fighting an opponent your own size make you fight better, more competitive? You think you will have an advantage over Tomek?
It makes the fight more dependent on skill instead of size. There are weight classes for a reason. For example, was Eric Molina a better boxer than Tomasz Adamek? Absolutely not. Molina could absorb and take all the points TA scored without spending too much energy because of the size difference and then KO him in the end. Put someone bigger in with Molina and the story changes. Eric Molina got KO’d by Chris Arreola, we scored a majority draw with Arreola, and by all the commentary we won that fight. Molina is going to fight 6’7 Dominic Breazeale next, and my money is on Molina finding his way to the canvas in the fourth or fifth round… and Breazeale was a guy we, the fans, and boxing commentators, also felt we beat. Point being that Adamek is a great boxer but being in the low range of the heavyweight division is a distinct disadvantage and forces you to fight differently — more strategically. The fact we’re both around the same size should make this a great chess match. I’m very excited to showcase my skills.
Adamek started as a light heavyweight, became the best cruiserweight in the world, and then a heavyweight contender. Do you consider him a true heavyweight?
Yes, he grew into a full heavyweight. Been fighting the heavyweights for years now and has been in with the best.
Looking at the fight videos, what are Adamek best skills? What are yours when fighting him on November 18 in Częstochowa?
To survive and thrive at the lower-end of the weight division, you develop a certain set of skills. You have to be quicker, you have to be moving, you have to manage distance, and you have to bring pressure. Tomek Adamek has all those skills in spades. He throws a lot of punches and knows how to box.
To his disadvantage, he’s been fighting a lot of standard heavyweights. Slow, big, and powerful that fight right in front of you. He never had to look for them. It was just a question of what he could hit them with without getting countered. Sometimes he wins that battle, sometimes he loses.
He never met a fighter like me who doesn’t stand in front but will be off the fight line throwing from all angles. That’s what the press calls “awkward” because it’s not always standard looking boxing. It’s my unique “Kassi” style developed to fight giants.
Look at the tape. I’m usually the much shorter boxer yet I fight and score from the outside and make opponents miss. That doesn’t happen by accident. You got to have the legs and athleticism to pull it off. And the fact I’m equally comfortable fighting orthodox or southpaw makes it easier for me to find cracks in his defense.
What will be the decisive skill to fight him and win?
My unique natural fight ability. I can fight wherever the fight goes, inside or outside. Adamek drops his hands a lot to bait slower punchers for the counter. Hughie Fury tried that with me for the first few rounds but by the 4th I dialed in my timing. I caught him and had him in serious trouble by the 5th. The cut was the only thing that saved him. What makes this fight so interesting for both fighters and the fans is that we can both get the KO – which is hard to get against the bigger guys in our class. We know it’s a unique opportunity and we both smell blood for that KO. It’s gonna be exciting!!
Adamek will be fighting in front of his Polish fans – how much really does it help a fighter? Or is the ring the same for everyone?
Of course, it helps. Don’t want to let the hometown crowd down and when the fight gets tough, the crowd can give him the extra edge he needs to fight on. As far as the judging goes, we’ve seen it all. We don’t expect fair judging – and we shouldn’t get it! Might sound funny coming from us, but this is his house and his fans come to see him win. We should be held to a slightly higher standard to unseat the king in his own kingdom. I know we have to make a statement to get the W, and that’s our plan.