Kownacki aiming to stop Kiladze

By Przemek Garczarczyk

“This is the way I box – constant pressure, in your face boxing. Making the other man quit mentally is a very important for me and for all the fighters. Boxing is a clash of characters,” said undefeated heavyweight Adam Kownacki in a Fightnews.com® interview.

Photo: Sylwek Wosko

On January 20, Kownacki (16-0, 13 KO) will be challenged by Iago Kiladze (26-1, 18 KO) in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as a part of Showtime Championship Boxing card headlined by the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson welterweight championship clash. Kownacki-Kiladze will be streamed live on Showtime Sports digital platforms Facebook and YouTube.

Just watching tapes, will Iago Kiladze be a bigger challenge than Artur Szpilka?

About the same. Kiladze is right-handed, Szpilka was a southpaw, but they have the same fighting style, same approach. January 20, in the ring, I’ll know more. It could be a more important fight for me than the last one with Szpilka. Not only because I also want to fight in Poland.

In one of the interviews you said ‘Kiladze is not a guy I will try to finish with just one punch.’ Is this business as usual for Adam Kownacki – first breaking your opponent mentally, then breaking down his body?

This is the way I box – constant pressure, in your face boxing. Making the other guy quit mentally is very important for me and for all fighters. Boxing is a clash of characters.

Kiladze has experience as an amateur; spending most of his career fighting as a cruiserweight, losing only to once, four years ago against very good Youri Kalenga. Does it change your fight preparations?

Not at all. The last couple of camps I spend sparing with former cruiserweight great, world champion Tomasz Adamek, so I’m accustomed to a slightly different way of ring movement and the punch output of cruiserweights. In November and December, I spent three weeks in Moscow, helping Alexander Povetkin before his fight with Christian Hammer, so the heavyweight portion of my preparation is also done. For me, Kiladze is a heavyweight now – he fought heavyweights in his last couple of fights – not the heavyweights of my level, but this is a different story.

Why Kiladze?

Because he was a better fighter than the other choice – Joe Nofire. Kiladze is ranked in the Top 15 by IBF, and when you want to be a world champion, like me, you want to test yourself. I have plans for 2018 and beyond, but for now it’s only January 20, Kiladze, and Barclays Center. I have full confidence in my manager Al Haymon. Our cooperation works great – I doubt a year ago anyone could have predicted that I would be in this position. It’s simple, really – I have to be better in every fight, have to give fights fans like to watch. I did that fighting Szpilka, now it’s time for Kiladze.

Iago has behind him people that clearly believe he can beat you – trained by famous Freddie Roach, spent time training with Wladimir Klitschko, recently had sparring sessions in LA with really hard-hitting IBF cruiserweight champ Murat Gassiev.

Happy about it – I will be fighting a real opponent. Two points – Freddie Roach doesn’t have same success now he had years back and Gassiev is not a heavyweight. I am.

Not many fans know this fact – you still don’t have a promoter, being just one of the handful world class fighters going solo in this very tough business.

Yeah, I know – people can’t fathom it’s even possible in today’s day and age. This is my choice. It’s sometimes hard, but I know this business very well and you can do it. You have to give your best every time and you can even be a world champion. I believe that.

You will be part of Showtime Championship Boxing, with the Errol Spence Jr vs. Lamont Peterson welterweight title bout being a TV main event. The fight with Kiladze will be televised live on Showtime Sports digital platforms – YouTube and Facebook. Opinion?

I believe that Showtime, with all their experience, knows what they’re doing. How can I not be happy knowing that potentially millions in the U.S. could watch me beat Kiladze – for free? That I can get new fans?

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