Adam Kownacki moved one step closer towards a shot at a heavyweight championship with one of the most exciting heavyweight fights of the year.
After moving from Poland as a child and growing up in Brooklyn, New York and fighting on countless boxing cards at the Barclays Center, Kownacki got headline his own event at the venue for the first time against Chris Arreola. The end result was a slugfest that saw both fighters throw punches at a rate practically unheard of for heavyweights. But it was Kownacki who emerged victorious, defeating Arreola by unanimous decision (118-110, 117-111, 117-111) in the main event of a PBC on FOX telecast
Both men ended up throwing more than 1,000 punches each throughout the 12 rounds and landing hundreds of them on each other's face. According to Compubox, the fight broke the record for most punches thrown (2,172) and landed (667). Starting off, Kownacki used the jab to set up a flurry of punches while Arreola simply countered by throwing his own sets of combination punches. Kownacki managed to stagger Arreola in the second round but Arreola was able to recover. Kownacki would also find success in landing the overhand right as the fight progressed.
The 12th round saw both men leave everything on the line, throwing big punches left and right and forcing each other to engage in the middle of the ring at times. The crowd at the Barclays Center was on its feet when the fight ended, giving a standing ovation to the two heavyweight sluggers.
Prior to the fight, Arreola had told Fightful that he would retire with a loss to Kownacki. Once the dust settled and Kownacki's hand was raised, Arreola did talk about retirement, but didn't fully commit to hanging up his gloves right that second.
"Retirement is something I need to talk to my family and team about. I gave it my all this fight. I let it all hang out. After breaking my hand, I kept fighting because I believed I could win," Arreola said.
Kownacki will start preparing for a potential title challenge in 2020, perhaps against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who was on the broadcast team for Kownacki's fight. Wilder is likely facing Luis Ortiz next and should Wilder emerge victorious, will look to secure a rematch against Tyson Fury for early 2020 though that is yet to be set in stone.
Jean Pascal Upsets Marcus Browne To Win Interim WBA Title
In the co-main event of the telecast, Jean Pascal scored a major upset win over Marcus Browne to become the new interim WBA light heavyweight champion. After three knockdowns scored by Pascal, it was actually an accidental clash of heads that would stop the fight in the eighth round.
With the reason for the fight's stoppage being an accidental foul, the fight went to a technical decision where all three judges scored the fight 75-74 in favor of Pascal. Browne had dominated the fight in nearly all but the two rounds where Pascal dropped Browne.
The first knockdown came in the fourth round when Pascal landed a perfect right-hand counter to Browne, immediately knocking him down. Browne recovered and proceeded to outbox Pascal for most of the remainder of the fight until Browne was knocked down twice more in the seventh round. The 36-year-old Pascal, once the WBC world champion, is now the interim WBA titleholder while Dmitry Bivol, the last man to beat Pascal when they faced off in August 2018, is the full champion.
Wale Omotoso Stops Curtis Stevens In Three Rounds
The telecast opened up with another upset, this time in the junior middleweight division.
Wale Omotoso scored three knockdowns on former world title challenger Curtis Stevens, ruining Stevens' debut at 154 pounds. Omotoso dropped Stevens in the first, second and third round before the referee waved off the fight. Stevens had one last chance at turning the fight around early in round three when he staggered Omotoso and had him on the ropes until Omotoso landed a counter right hand and end the fight at that point.
The fight was added to the broadcast after Andre Berto's fight against Miguel Cruz was scrapped due to Berto suffering a torn bicep tendon. The fight between Browne and Pascal was elevated to the co-main event while Stevens vs. Omotoso was bumped up to the main card.