Polish fight fans should be plenty familiar with Steve Cunningham at this point.
The two-time 200-pound world champion has experienced four of his toughest battles against former titleholders from the Eastern European nation, having dropped a pair of close decisions to Tomasz Adamek while splitting two fights with Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.
Steve “USS” Cunningham will get well acquainted with yet another Polish native Saturday night when he challenges 200-pound world champion Krzysztof Glowacki at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT).
Although the arena is less than two hours from his native Philadelphia, Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs) expects Barclays Center to feel like hostile territory with a large Polish contingent anticipated to cheer on Glowacki (25-0, 16 KOs).
“We’re going to have our fans, but they’re going to get drowned out by the Polish fans,” Cunningham said. “Glowacki’s fan base is going to show up and support this kid.”
Glowacki will be making the first defense of the world title he won by knocking out longtime champion Marco Huck in Newark, New Jersey, in August. That bout preceded Cunningham’s split draw with former 175-pound champion Antonio Tarver on the same card at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
“I approach every fight as if it’s a must-win situation—no games. Of course I want to win, but I know that not everybody can be a Floyd Mayweather Jr. and win them all,” Cunningham said.
“But I can push myself to the limit, do my best and give it my all like I’ve always done. If I lose and look good, or if I get jobbed like I have in other fights, then maybe there still is life in my career. I’m looking forward to becoming a [200-pound] champion again.”
Fighting a Polish opponent for a world title is familiar territory for Cunningham at this point in his career. The 39-year-old U.S. Navy veteran traveled to Warsaw, Poland, to challenge Wlodarczyk for a vacant 200-pound title in November 2006, but lost a debatable split decision. In the rematch in Katowice, Poland, six months later, Cunningham scored a fourth-round knockdown en route to winning a majority decision.
It was another Pole who dethroned Cunningham as champ in December 2008 when Adamek won a split decision in Newark. The two fighters then met again in a heavyweight bout in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in December 2012, when Adamek won a controversial 12-round split decision.
“I have more of a fan base now, but when I fought Adamek [in Newark] the first time, I felt like I was back in Poland where I fought Wlodarczyk,” Cunningham said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned about Polish fighters is their countrymen support them like there ain’t no tomorrow. The Polish fans in America are a rowdy group, so when I’m at Barclays [on Saturday night], I’m gonna feel like I’m back in Poland again.”
For a complete look at Glowacki vs Cunningham, visit our fight page.