With business booming across the heavyweight division, it's certainly not a bad time to be an unbeaten contender on the verge of your first title shot.
For Polish brawler Adam Kownacki (20-0, 15 KOs), it's simply a matter of waiting for your moment. And waiting and waiting some more.
Kownacki, 30, will once again headline a card this Saturday in his adopted home of Brooklyn, New York, when he faces Robert Helenius (29-3, 18 KOs) in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card (Fox, 8 p.m. ET).
This certainly wasn't the fight Kownacki has hoped or wished for after piling up victories over the likes of Artur Szpilka, former champion Charles Martin, Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola. But his constant callouts of Deontay Wilder went unrequited as the now former WBC champion stays embroiled in a feud with.
"I'm just staying focused," Kownacki told CBS Sports on Thursday's "State of Combat" podcast. "Other fights were made and [other fighters] were busy so I just have to take care who is in front of me. Then, hopefully, I'll get one of the champions."
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Kownacki will fight at the Barclays Center for the 10th time in his last 12 bouts. A big reason for that is the diehard Polish crowd he regularly attracts who remain among the sport's most passionate and loyal fans.
"The Polish fans are the greatest," Kownacki said. "They have been supporting me since Day 1 in my amateur fights. The army of Adam Kownacki is just getting bigger and stronger. For this fight, the tickets were selling like hot bread right out of the oven. It's a very exciting time."
Will that one day mean a statue outside of the Barclays Center if he keeps headlining and remaining unbeaten?
"Let me win the title first. I'm close, I just have to make sure. We are almost there," Kownacki said. "I just have to win the title and then they can put a statue there like 'Rocky' has."
Kownacki pulled no punches when asked about whether he respects the way Wilder dealt with his first pro defeat -- blaming everything from his trainer for throwing in the towel to a 45-pound walkout costume -- which came two weeks ago when he was stopped by Fury.
"I knew Fury could box that well but I didn't think he would actually demolish Wilder the way he did. He just came forward from the opening bell and didn't give Wilder any room to let off his right hand and just stopped him," Kownacki said.
"Take your loss like a man. It's part of the game. Obviously everyone wants to stay undefeated but sometimes it doesn't go your way. In boxing, losing is very unforgiving but I think he came about it the wrong way and needs to come out in the [trilogy] and show what he is made of."
Kownacki expects a tough fight against the 36-year-old Helenius, a former top prospect who stands nearly 6-foot-7 but has been stopped in recent years by the likes of Washington and Johann Duhaupas.
"I'm not looking past anybody," Kownacki said. "[Helenius] is a former European champion and he knows he can take my ranking. I've had a long camp and the right sparring partners. Mariusz Wach came through and really helped me and so did Jarrell Miller. I'll be ready on Saturday night."
In the co-main event, another highly touted heavyweight prospect is back in action as Efe Ajagba takes on Razvan Cojanu. Ajagba, the 25 year old from Nigeria, rallied from the first knockdown of his career in his last bout against Iago Kiladze to score a fifth-round TKO and remain undefeated.
Frank Sanchez takes on Joey Dawejko in the opening bout on Fox. The Cuban heavyweight is 14-0 with 11 knockouts in his burgeoning pro career and looking to add another on Saturday night in Dawejko, who enters 20-7 in his career but just 1-3 in his last four bouts.
- Adam Kownacki vs. Robert Helenius, heavyweights
- Efe Ajagba vs. Razvan Cojanu, heavyweights
- Frank Sánchez vs. Joey Dawejko, heavyweights
As long as Kownacki can move his head and avoid being the kind of sitting duck that allowed the veteran Arreola to stay in their fight last October, this should be one the "Babyface" fighter can win with volume.
Kownacki will need to stay on the inside to do so and must get inside of Helenius' jab to get his shots off. Expect Kownacki's relentless pressure to be too much against a fighter who is well past his best days.
Pick: Kownacki via UD12