In a Saturday night showdown that trended globally, Joe Cusumano (22-4, 20 KOs) proved dreams do come true, leaving Adam “Babyface” Kownacki (20-4, 15 KOs) and his devoted fanbase speechless with an 8th round knockout.
Watch the knockout moment:
This was more than just a co-headliner for Edgar Berlanga’s victory over Jason Quigley on DAZN – it was a battle of redemption and willpower.
In a victory-fueled post-fight interview, Cusumano credited his win to hard work and divine intervention.
Rewind two years, Cusumano was contemplating retirement after a disappointing first-round loss to top contender Daniel Dubois. But instead of exiting the ring for good, the Italian heavyweight embarked on a transformative journey that took him from Champ’s Boxing Gym in Connecticut to a conditioning camp in Costa Rica’s jungles.
The comeback wasn’t easy though. He had to face off with Kownacki, a Polish powerhouse also looking to bounce back after a series of defeats. Armed with a new contract with Matchroom Boxing and a new head trainer, ‘Sugar Hill’ Steward, Kownacki was not one to be underestimated.
There were doubts aplenty. Could Cusumano match up to Kownacki’s relentless pace? Would Kownacki’s experience against the likes of Charles Martin, Chris Arreola, and Robert Helenius be too much for the Sicilian Nightmare?
Cusumano didn’t just silence the doubters; he obliterated their predictions. He floored Kownacki mid-way through the first round with a powerhouse right hand, leaving the crowd in shock and awe.
What unfolded from there was a full-blown war. Each round saw the fighters trading blows, with neither willing to give in. Cusumano, resilient and strategic, absorbed Kownacki’s attacks and retaliated with powerful jabs and hooks.
By the sixth round, it was clear that Cusumano had brought his A-game. His unexpected left uppercuts left Kownacki visibly shaken. His onslaught continued into the seventh round, and by the eighth, Kownacki was tottering, a significant cut over his eye signaling the beginning of the end.
When the towel was thrown in by Kownacki’s corner, it was a sure sign – The Sicilian Nightmare’s dream had come true. A boxing miracle, a display of true grit, and a reminder that it ain’t over till it’s over.