Kiladze: Kownacki will punch the air

By Przemek Garczarczyk

“Opponents just don’t know how fast I am, how good I move inside the ring, until they actually face me. I always like to fight heavier guys. I’m too quick and technically skilled to catch with a meaningful punch.” So says once-beaten heavyweight Iago Kiladze in a Fightnews.com interview.

Photo: Team Kiladze

On January 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Kiladze (26-1, 18 KO) faces undefeated Adam Kownacki (16-0, 13 KO) live on Showtime Sports digital platforms.

Headlining the card is Errol Spence Jr.’s first world title defense against former two-division world champion Lamont Peterson – live on SHOWTIME and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

What do you know about Kownacki?

I did watch his last two fights. Undefeated. Ranked high. I’m ready for absolutely everything he can show on January 20 in Barclays Center. Kownacki cannot surprise me with anything. Not really paying attention what he thinks about me, my skills.

You believe that you are a true heavyweight – with all the benefits of spending most of your career in the cruiserweight division?

No doubt. Opponents just don’t know how fast I am, how well I move inside the ring, until they actually face me. I always like to fight heavier guys. I’m too quick and technically skilled to catch with a meaningful punch. Kownacki’s style, going forward throwing a lot of punches, doesn’t impress me at all. He never fought a man with my skills and mental toughness. Kownacki will throw a lot of punches, but he will punch the air.

How important – in your opinion – is having Freddie Roach in your corner, getting help in camp from IBF cruiserweight champ Murat Gassiev or in the past being part of Wladimir Klitschko’s training crew?

Very important. For me, Freddie is still the best trainer in the world. Great knowledge. I’m learning so much in this training camp working with him. Same with Murat. Other fighters are happy just to be conservative, less risky when winning rounds. Gassiev never stops going forward, always throw heavy punches. It should help me a lot when fighting Kownacki. But let’s make one thing clear – the Kownacki fight is not a very important one. When I fight for world championship belt against Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua, then you can call it an important fight.

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