NEWARK, NJ – Former two-time cruiserweight champion Steve “USS” Cunningham, 24-4, 12 KOs, will make his debut in the heavyweight division on September 8th against Jason Gavern, 21-10-4, 10 KOs. The 10-round fight is part of a big afternoon heavyweight triple header promoted by Main Events, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Former two-time world champion, Tomasz “Goral” Adamek, 46-2, 28 KOs, and Travis Walker, 39-7-1, 31 KOs, fight in the main event, a 12-rounder for Adamek’s International Boxing Federation (IBF) North American Heavyweight Title, and emerging heavyweight star Bryant Jennings, 14-0, 6 KOs, and Chris Koval, 25-9, 18 KOs, faceoff in the third featured heavyweight contest.
It will be a night of firsts for Cunningham who recently signed a promotional contract with Main Events. Cunningham makes his first start under his new agreement with the promoter, and will fight for the very first time at the new weight.
After losing a bid to regain his IBF cruiserweight belt in February, Cunningham made the decision to move up in weight and try his luck in boxing’s most prestigious division. At six-feet, three-inches tall, Steve brings a heavyweight frame to the division, but will have to carefully add the extra pounds to become a true heavyweight.
“I’m probably looking to do my first fight at 208 (pounds),” Cunningham said recently. “And probably max out at 215 (for future fights). I’m not interested in getting up to 225.”
For his first heavyweight test, Cunningham will contend with Virginia-born Gavern, who now fights out of Orlando, FL. Gavern is an inch shorter than Cunningham, but will likely have at least a 20-pound weight advantage in the fight.
Where a move up to heavyweight was once thought to be a hopeless endeavor for smaller fighters, it is now considered more of a calculated risk with some real potential upside. After boxers like Michael Spinks and Evander Holyfield set the standard for the move, and cruiserweights like David Haye and Tomasz Adamek having more recent success as heavyweights, more and more fighters seem willing to take the challenge. On September 8th, Gavern will do his best to keep Cunningham from joining the others who have defied the odds.
In an interesting note, both fighters have history with the participants of the main event. Cunningham lost a war of a cruiserweight title fight with Adamek back in 2008, at the very same arena, and Gavern fought to an 8-round draw with a then-undefeated Travis Walker in 2005.