The unbeaten Kownacki is in search of a world title shot while Washington wants another crack at a heavyweight strap when they meet tomorrow night in the co-main even of PBC on FOX.
Adam Kownacki is out to prove that he can rumble with the big boys—and it starts at home.
This Saturday, January 26, Kownacki takes on Gerald Washington at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The bout will serve as the chief support to the Keith Thurman-Josesito Lopez main event on FOX (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).
As always, Kownacki, 18-0 (14 KOs), will have a sizable number of fans at Barclays. The all-action heavyweight moved from Poland to Brooklyn at age seven. The Big Apple has a large Polish community, which loves their heavyweights. Case in point: Andrew Golota and Tomasz Adamek both garnered massive support on the east coast after coming over from Poland.
Kownacki, 29, is following in their footsteps. But he wants to take a step neither of those guys ever did – becoming world heavyweight champion.
With Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury likely headed towards a rematch this summer, Kownacki will look to make his case Saturday night versus Washington. This is a great opportunity for Kownacki to steal the show, and his fan-friendly style promises fireworks.
In his previous bout, last September versus former titleholder Charles Martin, Kownacki won a tight, 10-round unanimous decision in an exciting give-and-take. Washington, on the other hand, is coming off a wider 10-round decision over John Wesley Nofire back in June. The Vallejo, Calif. product needed to move back into the win column following back-to-back losses inside the distance to Wilder and Jarrell Miller.
At 36, Washington is in do-or-die mode. He’ll rely on his six-foot-six, chiseled frame to try and bully the three-inch shorter Kownacki. Washington, 19-2-1 (12 KOs), will likely be outweighed by the portly Kownacki, who has come in around 260 pounds in each of his last two fights.
This 10-round bout is a great crossroads fight as we look to learn if Kownacki is the real deal and whether Washington will become a gatekeeper or move back into title contention.
Kownacki became a star among his kinsmen when he beat fellow countryman Artur Szpilka in July 2017 by fourth-round TKO in front of thousands of Poles in New York.
“The Szpilka fight was a big moment for me, but it was really an appetizer to my main course of becoming a threat to everyone at heavyweight,” said Kownacki. “I can’t wait to hear the Polish fans out there on January 26 again in the red and white. I’m expecting another tremendous atmosphere and I’m definitely coming to send them home happy.”
He can't overlook Washington, a dangerous heavyweight with punching power. Washington began boxing late at age 30 after just 14 amateur bouts. He comes from a college football background, like fellow heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale, and is also a U.S. Navy veteran.
“I know that Gerald Washington is going to bring his ‘A-game’,” said Kownacki. “To me it’s similar to the [Iago] Kiladze fight because he’s a runner who can box. I’m looking to do the same with Washington and punish him to the body. The taller they are, the harder they fall. My goal is to become heavyweight champion of the world and in order to do that, I have to get by Washington.”
Kownacki gets criticized for not being body-beautiful. When you look at today's bulky ripped champions like Wilder, it's easy to assume Kownacki doesn't belong with the elite. But watch him fight and that opinion changes quickly. He throws a lot of punches and has incredible hand speed for a guy his size.
Washington is in his second fight with trainer Shadeed Saluki, who trains him out of Reseda in southern California. He looks to his most recent loss against Miller as a great learning experience.
"I’m actually grateful to ‘Big Baby’ Miller for exposing some things that I need to work on," Washington told Boxingscene.com.
“I came home, worked on things, and I’m excited to return against a good opponent in Adam Kownacki, who is from New York. I’m excited. I can't wait to show the boxing world where I’m at today compared to the last time I fought there.”
Can Washington use that experience to his advantage or is he another domino that will fall as Kownacki moves up the rankings? We’ll find out on Saturday night.
For a closer look at Kownacki and Washington, check out our fight page.