The undefeated contender takes a huge step toward a world title shot, winning a thrilling back and forth on PBC Fight Night on FOX.
It promised to be an old-fashioned brawl in Brooklyn and it delivered.
It was a soccer-like atmosphere at Barclays Center as undefeated Adam Kownacki continued his ascent up the heavyweight division, winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Chris Arreola in a classic phone-booth battle.
Final scores were 118-110 and 117-111 (twice) in this main event on PBC Fight Night on FOX. But the cards don’t tell the tale of this battle. The two warriors engaged in a slugfest from the opening bell, combining to set heavyweight records in punches landed (667) and thrown (2172).
Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs) had plenty of crowd support from his fellow Polish fans, many of whom, like him, migrated from the country and settled in Brooklyn. Arreola (38-6-1, 33 KOs) earned their respect, giving as good as got throughout and finishing strong.
Kownacki simply did more, working behind his jab and consistently throwing punches in bunches. Ringsiders were on their feet for most of the two rounds as Kownacki and Arreola tore into each other at a furious pace. A hard right in the third jarred Arreola’s head back but the Mexican-American simply smiled and fired back.
The two-way action continued in the middle rounds. Arreola appeared to hurt his left hand in the fifth, holding it at round’s end and grimacing. It never stopped him from throwing. Kownacki didn’t either, hurting him in the eighth with a series of rights.
Arreola wouldn't let up. With the fight slipping away, he dug deep, backing Kownacki up with his own right hand. But it wasn’t enough to close the gap.
Jean Pascal Upsets Marcus Browne, wins technical decision
There was bad blood before the first bell and a different kind of bad blood at the end. In a huge upset, former world champion Jean Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs) won an eight-round technical decision over Marcus Browne (23-1, 16 KOs) when a leaky cut over Browne’s left eye forced the fight to the cards in the eighth.
The cut, the result of a terrible accidental headbutt, halted what was an entertaining back and forth. Pascal had the momentum when the ringside doctor inspected the cut over Browne’s eye and halted the bout. A winging counter right in the seventh had dropped Browne for the second time in the bout.
Browne rose on wobbly legs and was promptly re-acquainted with the canvas a third time, courtesy of a Pascal combination. He was saved by a bell moments after he got up.
Pascal rushed Browne throughout the eighth in search of the finish. One rush occurred as Browne dipped to land a body shot. The two heads crashed together and Browne emerged with blood hiding his left eye. The fight was stopped moments later. All three judges had Pascal ahead, 75-74.
It’s a disappointing first loss for Staten Island’s Browne, who entered the bout as the interim WBA world light heavyweight champion and hoped to springboard his way to a world title fight. He controlled the action behind his long southpaw jab and left cross until midway through the third, when they traded hooks. Pascal’s shot landed with greater force, sending Browne crashing to the mat.
Browne got up and quickly composed himself, keeping Pascal at bay with his jab and by clinching to make it out of the round.
Browne dominated the fourth, again working behind with a jab. With a minute left, he began unloading combinations that got Pascal’s attention. He was starting to pull away when Pascal dropped him twice in the seventh. A round later, it was all over.
Browne was immediately taken to the hospital to have his cut treated. Once it heels, a rematch likely awaits.
Wale Omotoso stuns Curtis Stevens, stops him in three
Nigeria’s Omotoso (28-4, 22 KOs), who trains out of Oxnard, California, dropped Stevens three times in total, the finale courtesy of a right cross midway through the third. Stevens landed halfway under the ropes. He struggled to one knee before rising, but a quick inspection of Stevens’ faculties convinced referee Johnny Callas to stop the fight at 1:28 of the frame.
After losing two of his last three (to undefeated fighters –July 2016 to Jamal James and last Omotoso is now firmly in the mix at 154-pounds. Stevens (30-7, 22 KOs), must now assess what’s next in a career that’s lasted nearly 16 years. The 34-year-old veteran from Brooklyn spent much of that time campaigning at middleweight and above, once fighting for the world title at 160.
The move down was meant to rejuvenate Stevens. That was not the case. The onslaught began in the first, when a cuffing right hand dropped Stevens for the first time. Omotoso scored another knockdown in the second, flooring Stevens with a straight left. Another knockdown in the third induced the stoppage.
For a closer look at Kownacki vs Arreola, check out our fight night page.