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Adam (Baby Face) Kownacki: The Smash and Bash School of Boxing

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By Dan Fitz-Simons: Thousands of fight fans were stunned last week when Brooklyn-based Adam Kownacki (19-0) 15 KOs, left his opponent, Gerald Washington hanging on the ropes like a rag doll, hammering out a 2-round victory at Barclay’s Center. In the process, Kownacki proved he’s a legitimate warrior, who possesses enough grit and raw power to take out some top ten contenders. He has an extremely aggressive style, moving forward at the bell, throwing thundering over hand rights with great abandon, and overwhelming his opponent with a volume of accurate punches.

The 6’3,” 29-year old Kownacki is a high-pressure banger, who fights out of an orthodox stance and sits down on his punches. He uses his hand speed, momentum and sheer power to take out opponents as quickly as possible with an impressive 79% KO record. Most of his wins have been within 4-6 rounds, although he has gone 8 rounds three times in his career. In spite of injuries that kept him out of the ring for almost two years, Adam is currently rated at # 5 by the IBF, # 8 by the WBC, # 9 by Ring Magazine, and probably more accurately at # 11 by the IBO.

With the exceptions of Gerald Washington, Artur Szpilka, and Charles Martin, his resume consists of C-level bottom feeders. Moreover, if vicious looks mean anything, “Baby Face” fails the test. He also lacks the chiseled physique of Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua and has been described as a compilation of 2-ton Tony Galento, Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch, and Andrew Golota. Adam’s wide girth suggests over doses of kielbasa and beer, for which road work and sit-ups would do wonders. His poor conditioning contributes to a weak defense, which is nothing more than a straight ahead, smothering offense.

Kownacki suffered an ugly gash over his left eye against Washington, and his poor defensive skills will cause him cut problems in the future. He’s also a head hunter, who seldom mixes it up on the inside to work the body of an opponent, thereby failing to take advantage of his shorter size. Yet he can take a punch, and his sheer determination enables him to continue advancing while dishing out punishing counter punches. Nevertheless, at this stage of his career, Wilder and Joshua would probably KO him early on, and Fury’s left jab would slice him up like a slab of bacon.

Yet Adam could continue to improve over time, especially if he steps through the ropes at 243, instead of 258. He’ll always have a baby face and jello-like body, but his power and determination cannot be taken lightly. In the meantime (after his cut heals) he’ll be ready to face a top ten contender like Dominic Breazeale or Joseph Parker. However, the most exciting slugfest would be a bout against Luis Ortiz. A war between those two bangers, with no shortage of sizzling over hand rights, would take the roof off the Garden, especially with Kownacki’s fanatical Polish fans.

Other top ten opponents could include Kubrat Pulev or Alexander Povetkin. A fight in Germany, Bulgaria or Russia might appeal to the Polish-born Kownacki if the purse is right. Although he wants to fight Wilder, the time for that hasn’t arrived, which is probably a good thing. Nevertheless, as his exciting style and growing fan base draws larger gates, he might appear on the undercard of a championship bout. Viewers enjoy his unorthodox demeanor and unpredictability in an era when up to “4 cable analysts” predict what it means every time a fighter blinks or blows his nose.

Kownacki doesn’t fit a predictable mode, and that’s precisely why he’s so popular. He’s an anti-establishment, fan-friendly brawler, whose professional persona reveals no attitude. According to the pundits: his style, physical appearance, and personality are all wrong. But, so what! All it takes is one slip, and that Polish jack-hammer will find its target; the best of opponents could hit the deck. That’s part of boxing too, and that’s why the fans love to watch “Baby Face” Kownacki.

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