Sun, Mar 01, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Adamek knocks out Banks to retain cruiserweight title

AP , NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

Poland’s Tomasz Adamek knocked out Johnathon Banks with a flurry of shots midway through the eighth round on Friday to retain his IBF cruiserweight title.

Adamek, making his first defense after defeating Steve Cunningham for the title in December, sent American Banks to the canvas with a right early in the eighth round. Banks staggered to his feet and referee Eddie Cotton allowed the fight to continue, even though Banks appeared in no shape to go on.

The Polish champion closed in and let loose another flurry that dropped Banks in a heap in the corner and Cotton finally waived the fight to an end after 1 minute, 30 seconds of the round to give Adamek a technical knock-out victory.

“The body punches were crucial because no matter who you are, after a while you start fighting slower,” Adamek said. “We knew as the fight wore on he would wear down.”

The 26-year-old Banks, in his first shot at a major title, started strongly and appeared ahead on the scorecards after four rounds. A right hand stunned Adamek in the opening round and the champ went stumbling back toward his corner in the fourth after a right-left combination.

But 32-year-old Adamek gained momentum in the sixth round with left and right combinations. He then took control of the fight in the seventh round, landing one body shot after another that appeared to leave Banks tired as the bell sounded.

“As the fight went on, I changed my strategy and started to connect with more body shots. I knew from the beginning that I needed to be patient,” Adamek said. “I knew it was only a matter of time before my plan prevailed.”

Cunningham was on hand for the bout and could be in line for a rematch of their thrilling fight last December, which Adamek won by a split decision in the same arena.

Adamek is a former WBC light heavyweight champion, who stepped up to cruiserweight after losing that title to Chad Dawson in February 2007.

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