By Greg Houghton
With a perfect record of 17-0 coming into this fight, this was clearly a step-up in level for the Polish born Brooklyn fighter, taking on former IBF champion and AJ victim Charles Martin. Less is known about the big-hitting Polish born fighter coming into this fight than Charles Martin, who famously shared the ring with Anthony Joshua in London two years back.
At the weigh in, you’d certainly assume that Charles Martin had the upper hand. Some of his usual pre-fight bravado is displayed before a heated exchange of words at the Barclays Centre in New York, before Martin exits the stage shouting and gesturing at Kownacki. Although it’s evident that Kownacki is a step up in class since Martins previous two tune-up fights, his actions appear as though he really fancies this. With Martin in full flow on stage, my mind is thrown back to the infamous “I walk this earth like a god” statement he made to AJ during ‘The gloves are off’ before they met in the ring. The New York fans had other ideas however, and would later be the catalyst for the atmosphere in a bizarrely half-empty empty Barclays Centre, host to a sea of Kownacki fans riding every punch with their man on the night.
There has been a wash of confusion over just how good Charles Martin is since he won the IBF belt in bizarre fashion, and appeared to barely even turn up to England to get stopped by Anthony Joshua in April 2016.
And it must be said, a pretty decent Charles Martin turned up against Adam Kownacki on Saturday night, a far superior fighter than the one floored twice by AJ in round 2 of their encounter. With Jeff Mayweather in his corner, it’s no surprise to have seen Martin put his punches together at times in the fight, with the southpaw showing good hand-speed and good agility for a man of his size. We must also acknowledge Martins chin after this fight, consistently taking heavy shots throughout the fight and not buckling. However, the continual pressure from Kownacki just didn’t allow Martin to find his range. Martin struggled to close the distance all night against the Polish born fighter who cut the ring off well and refused to stop hounding Martin with that big right hand all night. The consistent bulldog like pressure, coupled with Kownacki gladly gobbling up Martins jab whenever he chose to throw it, resulted in Martin not finding his rhythm at all and being pushed backwards for the majority of the fight.
The 10th round was like something out of Rocky The Directors Cut. Martin sensing Kownacki gassing goes fourth and throws the kitchen sink at the Brooklyn fighter who uses his chin as his main form of defence, and then keeps coming forward before having his arm raised for a unanimous points victory. Kownacki appeared almost Ruslan Provodnikov-esque in the latter stages of the fight, coming at Martin in straight lines taking everything the former IBF champ could throw at him before throwing whatever he had left back at Martin.
As a boxing fan, Kownacki’s come forward, brawling, bordering on Mexican Style is nothing short of entertaining, and fortunately lit up the Barclays Centre on a night where some fairly beige fights took place on the undercard of Danny Garcia vs Shawn Porter.
This win puts Kownacki in a favourable position in this brilliantly unpredictable heavyweight scene right now, with the top dogs being a perfect combination of deadly and utterly vulnerable. Now a top ten contender, it may not be long until we see Kownacki in with the likes of a Dereck Chisora or a Jarrell Miller. With just 18 pro bouts to his name it would be nice to see him take a tune-up fight or two before doing so. Either way, the future is very bright for boxing fans following Kownacki as stylistically we can safely expect nothing other than an outright tear-up where AK is concerned. God bless this current time in boxing that we are living in!