By Keith Idec
Adam Kownacki will fight at some point this summer in what the Polish contender hopes will be his final bout before earning a shot at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder late this year.
Kownacki hasn’t specified who he’d like to box next, but Charles Martin hopes Kownacki will at least consider a rematch. Martin, a former IBF champion, and Kownacki went at it for 10 competitive, compelling rounds September 8 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Kownacki’s hometown.
Martin doesn’t dispute Kownacki’s unanimous-decision victory over him that night. The 6-feet-5 southpaw just wants a chance to avenge his second professional loss.
The 32-year-old Martin (25-2-1, 23 KOs) hasn’t fought since Kownacki beat him. He likely will to return to the ring on an FS1 card at some point in April.
Assuming Martin wins that tune-up fight, he has targeted another shot at Kownacki, who stopped Gerald Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs) in the second round Saturday night at Barclays Center. The St. Louis native realizes, of course, that Kownacki likely will want to face a less imposing opponent next because a probable title shot will hang in the balance.
“I am probably gonna fight on FS1 in April,” Martin told BoxingScene.com. “We are looking at opponents now, but whatever it is I’ll be ready. After that, I would really like a rematch with Kownacki. But I texted him, personally, and I don’t really think he wants to do it again. It was a great fight, so hopefully we can do it again. If not, after this fight I’ll fight Luis Ortiz, Jarrell Miller, Kubrat Pulev, anyone that a win will get me to a title fight quick.”
Cuba’s Ortiz (30-1, 26 KOs, 2 NC) is scheduled to meet Germany’s Christian Hammer (24-5, 14 KOs) on March 2 in a fight Showtime will air from Barclays Center.
Handlers for Brooklyn’s Miller (23-0-1, 20 KOs) are negotiating for him to challenge British superstar Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) for his IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles, perhaps June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Bulgaria’s Pulev (26-1, 13 KOs) is the IBF’s mandatory challenger for Joshua.
Martin credits Kownacki for his performance in their fight four months ago. He just wishes it had been scheduled for 12 rounds, rather than 10.
“If you watch my fight with Adam, he won the first half of the fight and I won the second half,” Martin said. “I needed a 12-round fight. If I had two more rounds, I feel the fight would have been mine.”
The 29-year-old Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) beat Martin by the same score, 96-94, on all three scorecards in a fight Showtime televised as part of the Shawn Porter-Danny Garcia undercard. Even though he lost, Martin at least partially redeemed himself among many boxing fans after suffering a second-round knockout loss to Joshua in April 2016 at O2 Arena in London.
“Adam is a real tough guy,” Martin said. “He is one of the best heavyweights in the world, but he was active and I was coming off over a year layoff. I trained hard for the fight, but it took me four or five rounds to get the rust off. Once I got the rust off, I guess it was too late. The judges had it 6-4 for Adam, so there is nothing I can do. I respect the judges, but next time I’ll do my best to knock my opponent out.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.