Posted on 03/08/2020
By: Hans Themistode
Boxing contenders seem to arrive on the scene every other day. They often flash a bit of speed, power and defensive acumen. But more than anything, they seem to have that “it” factor.
In the case of Heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki, he never really checked all of the boxes. He was never considered a fighter with fast hands. Nor was he thought of as a huge puncher. Sure he does have 15 knockouts in his 20 career victories, but Kownacki is known much more for his volume punching. Case in point would be Kownacki and his last opponent, Chris Arreola breaking the Heavyweight record for the most punches thrown and landed in a contest.
So let’s go over everything so far. Does Kownacki have fast hands? No. Power punching? No again.
So how about his defensive acumen? Well, Kownacki has become known as a fighter who will jump in the line of fire in order to get his own offense off. So once again, Kownacki doesn’t check off that box either.
That leaves us to our final box. The “it” factor.
The “it” factor is always something that is difficult to explain. It essentially means a fighter who gives you the belief that he can beat anyone. That no matter what is thrown his way, he will walk right through it and come out on the other side unscathed. Most importantly, the “it” factor is a fan favorite fighter.
Kownacki may not have checked any of the previously mentioned boxes, but when in terms of the “it” factor, no one seemed to exhibit it more than the Polish born, Brooklyn raised star.
Unlike past years where getting a shot at the Heavyweight title was considered a cakewalk, making your way up the ladder takes a lot more work.
For the past 11 years, Kownacki was doing just that. Working his way up the Heavyweight ladder and making real headlines along the way.
In a boxing world that mostly rewards the loud and overbearing type, Kownacki was the exact opposite. His fans, on the other hand, had his back.
They screamed from the top of their lungs every time their man stepped into the ring. And for the past 11 years, it worked. But on March 7th, 2020, at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York, the screams of Kownacki’s fans that were usually met with their man pushing himself past his limits, fell on deaf ears.
Kownacki made his way to the ring on the night with the biggest fight of his life waiting in front of him. No, his opponent, Robert Helenius, was not the best person he’s ever faced. He wasn’t the most dangerous either. But the prize waiting for Kownacki at the end of night was exactly what he was hoping for. A shot at the WBA Heavyweight title.
At this point, the only thing that mattered was when, not if, Kownacki was going to take on current champion Anthony Joshua.
No one gave Helenius a chance to win that fight. His 30-1 odds represented just that.
As Helenius sauntered his way to the ring, he smiled as if to say he had everything under control.
The moment the opening bell rang however, that smile went away quick, fast and in a hurry. Kownacki poured the pressure on his man, and seemed well on his way to an early night.
Fans did in fact get a chance to go home early, but not because of the reasons they were hoping for.
Helenius beat down the crowd favorite to the tune of a fourth round stoppage. The cheers from Kownacki’s fans turned into dead silence as their man picked up the first loss of his career.
Everything changes now. Kownacki was viewed as a legitimate title contender. Now however, not so much.
“It wasn’t my night,” said Kownacki during the post fight presser. “It’s boxing. It’s a tough sport and things just didn’t go my way tonight. It was a learning experience and I’m going to go back to the drawing board and get back to work.”
The road to a championship hasn’t come to an end, but the hype train that is Adam Kownacki officially fell off the rails.