Undefeated Polish star and Brooklyn native Adam Kownacki and Robert Helenius went face to face Thursday at the final press conference before they meet in a WBA Heavyweight title eliminator headlining FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes this Saturday, March 7 from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.
(Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions)
Also squaring off at the press conference were heavyweight sensation Efe Ajagba and Razvan Cojanu, who battle in the co-main event, plus rising heavyweight Frank Sanchez and Joey Dawejko, who open the night of heavyweight action at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets are also available for purchase now at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from the Tillary Hotel in Brooklyn:
“I love fighting here in Brooklyn at Barclays Center. It’s almost half my career that I’ve fought in that ring, so it’s definitely my second home.
“Fighting for a shot at the title is truly motivating. I know this is a big fight for Robert as well and he’s trained hard, but my title opportunity is right around the corner. I could have waited, but I decided to take on this big test. I’m going to show off why I’m ready to fight for the title soon.
“It’s truly amazing to see the Polish fans on fight night. I was an Andrew Golota fan and Tomasz Adamek after that. Now I’m trying to be the next motivation for young Polish kids. I want to show them that they can make it. I kept making the right decisions and now I’m right there so close to a title shot. Robert is in my way and I have to beat him to get where I want.
“I love hearing the fans yelling on fight night and that definitely gives me extra energy and motivation to fight in the later rounds.
“I’m looking for a spectacular knockout. I want to show why I’m one of the best heavyweights in the world. I have to take care of business.
“It’s truly amazing to have fans all over the world come to share this night with me, and it’s an honor to have this following. It’s breathtaking really. I’d tell them to continue on this journey toward becoming a heavyweight world champion.
“This is a very friendly press conference, there’s a lot of respect between these fighters. I can tell that everyone is ready to put on a great show for the fans on Saturday.”
“I have an opportunity to make a great fight Saturday and that’s what I trained for. I’m ready and I had a great training camp. I can’t wait to get into the ring.
“This fight we came two weeks earlier to the U.S. My body has gotten used to the difference. Plus, the sparring in Alabama at Deontay Wilder’s gym really helped get me ready.
“We’re doing everything right and training has been great. We’ve sparred so many rounds, I feel very sharp and ready to get into the ring against Kownacki.
“I have a lot of fans in Europe and that support is why I can even do this and compete on this level. Everything has been so perfect coming into training camp. It makes me feel more confident than I have in many years.
“I trained for years with a broken hand and have had injuries in the past. But the last two years I’ve been healthy and with the same trainer and I feel physically as good as I ever have.”
“I’m excited to be on this great show full of heavyweights. I’m looking forward to Saturday night. I thank my opponent for taking this challenge. He’s a good fighter and we’re looking forward to giving you a great fight.
“In the Iago Kiladze fight I had him hurt and tried to finish him, but I went too wild and left my guard down. That’s why he landed a shot and knocked me down. I felt okay when I got up and I came back and finished him off.
“It’s up to Cojanu how the fight goes. We’ll find out if he can take my punch or not on Saturday. We’ll see in the ring if he’s got a hard chin.
“Cojanu has a lot of good experience against good fighters. He’s going to try to box me, but if he can’t take my power, then I’ll be able to win the fight by knockout. If he can take it, I will be ready to win a decision.”
“Efe is a fighter I respect a lot. He’s a great prospect. But I’m ready for him. I feel very confident in myself. I had a great six-week training camp. Everyone who supported me, I’m going to make them proud on Saturday.
“For this fight, I got the chance to work with Henry Tillman and it’s made a huge difference in my game. I know the coach can’t fight for me, but I believe in his plan and his judgment. He knows how I can beat Efe Ajagba and Saturday night you’re going to see me shock the world.
“People think Efe has already won the fight, but I feel good. There’s no pressure on my shoulders. I have nothing to lose. I believe in karma and I believe it’s my time for my moment to come this Saturday.
“I’m very happy to be fighting on FOX for the first time. Best of luck to all of the fighters to come through healthy and give the fans a great performance all night.”
“I’m very excited about this great opportunity to fight on this big PBC card. Saturday is going to be a great fight and you can expect a great performance from me.
“I wish Joey luck on Saturday, but not too much luck. I’m going to demonstrate that I’m one of the best heavyweights in the world.
“He’s not knocking out anybody. With my defense and movement, he’s not going to be able to hurt me. I have everything I need to dominate this fight.
“No one he’s ever fought is like me. He’s going to be shocked when I deliver a tremendous knockout on Saturday night. I’ll see you in the ring on Saturday.”
“I want to thank everyone who helped me get this opportunity. And I have an opportunity to be great again. I know a little about Frank Sanchez. And I know they’re moving him fast, but I think they took the wrong fight. They should have waited a couple more fights for me and I’m going to prove it.
“I am in great shape and I had a great camp with my trainer Justin Fortune. I can’t wait to get in there and give everyone a great fight.
“Experience will play a big part in this fight. I had a great amateur career and I’ve fought all around the world. I’ve sparred with every champion right now and it’s all going to help.
“Frank is a good fighter, but he’s not ready for me. He’s going to try to box me, but I’m going to be too much. I’m predicting a knockout. He’s going to be in for a big shock. He doesn’t have anything I haven’t already seen before.”
EVP of Programming & Development for BSE Global
“As we all know, BROOKLYN BOXING is at its best when we have heavyweights in the ring and this card has no shortage of them.
“Adam, you built your career at Barclays Center and we’re thrilled to see you headline for the second time. With nine wins there, it’s safe to say Barclays Center is your second home. We’re excited for you to put on a show for your hometown fans.
“Barclays Center continues to show to the world our steadfast commitment to the sport. This is our second PBC fight this year and the third in the last four months. This further demonstrates our commitment to our boxing program and the sport in general.
“Our partnership with PBC consistently brings great fights to our market and Saturday night is no exception. I’d also like to thank FOX. At Barclays Center, we pride ourselves on being in the big event business, and there’s nothing bigger than a primetime heavyweight fight on FOX.”