By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – When Adam Kownacki and Gerald Washington weigh in Friday afternoon, their bodies will look completely different.
The 6-feet-6 Washington will be chiseled, sculpted like a prototypical professional athlete. The 6-feet-3 Kownacki will be a little bit chubby, probably about 20 pounds heavier than the former USC football player.
Kownacki knows that won’t matter one bit once the opening bell rings Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Their different body types won’t prevent the Polish heavyweight contender from pressing the action and throwing more punches than most heavyweights.
“It’s not a Mr. Olympia contest or a bodybuilding contest,” Kownacki told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Thursday at Barclays Center. “I mean, I know that probably helps and people probably look at you a little different. But I know I’m prepared to go, in my fights, all 10, 12 rounds. I know I’m always in great shape, even though I might not look like I am.”
The 29-year-old Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs) overcame Charles Martin in his last fight thanks in large part to his activity. Brooklyn’s Kownacki won their thoroughly entertaining 10-rounder by unanimous decision September 8 at Barclays Center.
Kownacki still made a conscious effort to enter this fight lighter than he was when he weighed in at 263¼ pounds the day before defeating Martin (25-2-1, 23 KOs), a former IBF champion. He expects to weigh between 255 and 260 pounds for his 10-rounder with Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs), of Vallejo, California.
“I don’t think the way you look is key,” Kownacki said. “It’s a sport. It’s boxing. Don’t get me wrong, it helps. Everybody that sees me now is like, ‘Yo, you look great.’ So I’ve been working harder on that stuff and I’ve been working hard to change my physique up a little bit. But that’s not the main key for me. I’d rather do two hours of boxing than do two hours at the gym, lifting weights and stuff. The key for me is boxing, not to look like Zeus or something.”
A more disciplined Kownacki avoided adding too much weight after he beat Martin 4½ months ago. He made that mistake following his sixth-round knockout of Iago Kiladze (26-4, 18 KOs) last January 20, and he was determined to make this training camp easier in terms of losing weight.
“Last camp I was real heavy, which was a huge mistake, from time off,” Kownacki said. “So, this fight, I said, ‘Yo, I just beat a former world champion.’ That was do or die for me. Now I’ve been real focused. I got back in the gym, worked hard and the weight didn’t blow back up. I stayed around 270, 275. And right now I’m just cutting back down, just to make sure the writers see that I’m actually putting in work.”
Kownacki-Washington will air as part of a “PBC on FOX” tripleheader Saturday night from Barclays Center.
The action is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, when Mongolia’s Tugstsogt Nyambayar (10-0, 9 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Claudio Marrero (23-2, 17 KOs) will square off in a 12-round fight for the vacant IBO world featherweight title.
In the 12-round main event, WBA “super” world welterweight champion Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, will defend his title against Josesito Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs, 1 NC), of Riverside, California. Thurman will fight for the first time in 22 months because surgery on his right elbow and a subsequent injury to his left hand have sidelined him since he defeated Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KOs) by split decision in their welterweight title unification fight in March 2017 at Barclays Center.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.