Home Boxing News Joe Cusumano shocks Adam Kownacki, likely ends his career

Joe Cusumano shocks Adam Kownacki, likely ends his career

Joe Cusumano vs Adam Kownacki. Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

Unheralded heavyweight Joe ‘The Sicilian Nightmare’ Cusumano 22-4 (20) may well have driven the final stake through the heart of the career of Adam ‘Babyface’ Kownacki 20-4 (15).

Cusumano, 35, from Danville, Virginia, is largely unknown even in the most hardcore of boxing ciricles. But with his eighth-round knockout victory over Kownacki in the main support bout to Edgar Berlanga Jr vs Jason Quigley tonight, all that changed.

Kownacki has now lost four fights in a row – three by knockout – dating back more than three years.

The 34-year-old Miami-based Pole was at one time he was considered top 10 material by some of the sanctioning bodies after notable victories over former IBF champion Charles Martin and former world title challenger Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola.

Things were looking on the up for the popular brawler; that is, until he ran into a ‘Nordic Nightmare’ in March 2020.

The hype around Kownacki suggested Robert Helenius would be another easy mark for him to run down. But this time his willingness to trade and negligible defence conspired to work against him. The towering Finn knocked out Kownacki in four.

The immediate rematch 19 months later was more of the same. Although Kownacki lasted to the sixth frame this time before being stopped, he failed to win a single round.

Germany-based Turk Ali Eren Demirezen defeated Kownacki on points over 10 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last July in a fight the local favourite never looked likely of winning.

And then came his final chance at redemption, this time at Madison Square Garden Theater in New York on Saturday night.

Things got off to a bad start when Kownacki was dropped in the opening round. He survived the count and the bout quickly became a toe-to-toe slugfest where defence was strictly optional. The only question was whose chin would hold up the longest. It didn’t take long to determine the answer.

Kownacki was repeatedly wobbled in the middle rounds as it became frighteningly obvious that the sturdy chin that he had relied on so heavily in his earlier career had abandoned him.

Cusumano had him frequently reeling around the ring but was unable to finish him off with one big shot. That didn’t matter though as his corner final showed some mercy by throwing in the towel at the 2:00 mark of the eighth.

“I feel good,” said Cusumano in the lead up to the fight. “I trained very hard. Everything’s done, now it’s just time to put my training into practice.

“Kownacki’s had a lot of great fights. He’s had his ups and downs, but his time has passed. I haven’t had my moment yet, so I feel like it’s my turn.

“The difference between me and Kownacki on Saturday night is that I’m going to be quicker and I hit harder. My fight will steal the show. It’s my time.”