by Thomas Cathey
On Saturday night, no. 4 IBF contender Adam Kownacki will take on former world title challenger Chris Arreola on Fox Sports at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
For Kownacki (19-0 15 KOs), this fight is most likely an audition for a potential Deontay Wilder title opportunity, or even a shot at Andy Ruiz Jr (if he gets past Joshua in the Fall). The Polish-American pugilist is no stranger to fighting at the Barclays Center, as this will be his 10th bout at that particular venue.
Kownacki is a big draw on the New York scene, given that it is he is from Brooklyn and therefore is able to attract the East Coast Polish contingent to the seats. Kownacki’s last bout, a 2nd-round TKO of former world title challenger Gerald Washington, also took place at the Barclays Center.
In maybe his most notable win to date, Kownacki outpointed former IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin in a crowd-pleasing affair in September of 2018. Kownacki also has a KO win over Artur Szpilka, who challenged Deontay Wilder for his WBC strap back in 2016.
The 38-year-old Arreola (38-5-1 33 KO’s), who is also a former world title challenger, has fought some of the best heavyweights in recent years, including Vitali Klitschko and Deontay Deontay Wilder. Unfortunately for Arreola, he has come up short in his biggest opportunities and was never able to earn a heavyweight title. The upcoming fight with Kownacki may be his last opportunity to earn yet another crack at a championship.
Also on the card as the co-main event, is WBA interim light heavyweight champion Marcus Browne against former world titleholder Jean Pascal.
Browne (23-0 16 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision victory over former two-division champion Badou Jack, and is well on his way to challenging for his first major world title. In Pascal, he faces his most experienced opponent yet.
A former member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, the 28-year-old Browne has racked up an impressive resume at light heavyweight. In addition to outpointing Jack, Browne also knockout wins over Gabriel Campillo, Sean Mohonagan, and former title challenger Thomas Williams Jr.
A win over Pascal could make Browne the mandatory for Dmitry Bivol’s WBA world title, as he possesses the WBA interim belt.
Pascal (33-6-1 20 KOs) has faced a litany of recognizable boxing figures, including Bernard Hopkins, Carl Froch, Sergey Kovalev (twice), Chad Dawson, Dmitry Bivol, and Lucian Bute among others. Like Arreola, Pascal is in the twilight of his career, and Browne could be his last shot at the top of the light heavyweight division.
Former two-time welterweight champion Andre Berto was supposed to make an appearance as the opener on this card, against Miguel Cruz in a 10-round non-title fight. However, he suffered a torn left biceps during sparring, forcing him to pull out of the bout. The fight would have ended a one-year hiatus for Berto.
As a result of the cancellation of Berto-Cruz, the card opener will now feature former middleweight title challenger Curtis Stevens (30-6 22 KOs) against Wale Omotoso (27-4 21 KOs).