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TOMASZ 'GORAL' ADAMEK

Tomasz grew up in Gilowice, a small village of 5,000 surrounded by mountains in southern Poland.

He began to box at age 12 when unbeknownst to his mother a friend took him to a boxing gym. The young Tomasz, very talented and fast, was soon in the ring with grown men. Tomasz had the same trainer in Poland, Andrzei Gimitruk, who coached heavyweight Andrew Golota to a bronze medal in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

At age 19, Tomasz became one of the three youngest boxers to win the Polish National Championship in 1995. He won the title again in 1996. In 1998, he won the bronze medal in the European Championships. As an amateur, he compiled a 108-12 record.

Just prior to being named to the 2000 Polish Olympic Team, where he was a medal favorite in Sydney, Tomasz signed a professional contract.

Tomasz made his pro debut on March 13, 1999, and won by first-round technical knockout. He then went on to win his next eight bouts by TKO. On March 2, 2001, in Warsaw, Poland, Adamek won the International Boxing Council intercontinental light heavyweight championship with a unanimous decision win over Rudi Lupo.

On Oct. 18, 2002, Adamek won the Polish International Light Heavyweight title with a third-round TKO over Laverne Clark.

In Finland, on Oct. 4, 2003, Adamek won the vacant IBF intercontinental light heavyweight title with a second-round knockout over Ed Dalton.

Adamek continued to rack up the wins and move up the rankings. He added another title to his collection on April 17, 2004, when he won the WBO intercontinental light heavyweight championship with a fifth-round knockout over Gabrail Gabrailov.

Adamek won a 10-round decision over Ismail Abdoul in Warsaw Poland on Sept. 10, 2004, catapulting him into world contention as the No. 4-ranked WBC contender.

Adamek made his first world championship appearance and first match in America for the WBC light heavyweight title against WBC No. 1 contender Paul "Hurricane" Briggs at the United Center in Chicago on May 21, 2005.

"Briggs will have problems because I am too fast for him," Adamek said. "I came to the U.S. to become world champion. My faith in God will give me the mental and physical power to win this fight. I have had dreams of becoming world champion since I was 12."

The 20,126 spectators who showed up to see Adamek's countryman Golota face World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion "Relentless" Lamon Brewster (Golota was knocked out in just 53 seconds) had no idea that it would be another Pole that would steal the show this night. In what turned out to be a 12-round slugfest, Fight of the Year candidate and a brutal display of wills, both combatants stood toe to toe landing bombs for most of the contest. It was only revealed after the match that Adamek had suffered a broken nose close to the fight&emdash;altering his sparring regimen&emdash;but he never considered backing out. Techniques and tactics were thrown out the window and in the end, it was Adamek who possessed the superior boxing skills in the contest, but the fight was very close. Two judges scored it 117-113 and 115-113, respectively. The remaining judged thought it was a draw. Adamek won the majority decision and title.

"This was my best fight ever," Adamek said after the fight. "Briggs was a strong, tough fighter but I was never going to give up. I know I made my country and family proud."

Adamek successfully defended his crown on Oct 15, 2005, when he crushed Thomas Ulrich (TKO 6). Ulrich, a 1996 Olympic bronze medalist, tried to score with left hooks but scored less frequently as the fight progressed. By round five Adamek began throwing three- and four-punch combinations. Ulrich refused to concede but paid the price for his valor when Adamek landed a thunderous straight right, dropping the challenger with devastating effect. English referee Ian John Lewis counted Ulrich out before he could regain his feet at 1:57 of the sixth round.

One year later on Oct. 7, 2006, Adamek and Briggs fought in a rematch which took place at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Midway through the first round Briggs dropped Adamek with a sweeping left hook that sent the Pole to the canvas. Adamek weathered the knockdown and the two fighters went on to fight a see-saw battle that resulted in a majority decision win for Adamek as the champion won by scores of 115-111 and 114-112 on two cards, while the third had it as a draw.

Never one to avoid a challenge, Adamek then agreed to defend his crown against fellow-undefeated "Bad" Chad Dawson on Feb. 3, 2007, in Kisssimmee, Fla.

Dawson's southpaw style and slick boxing skills gave Adamek fits for most of the bout; however, Adamek did have a shining moment in round 10 when he dropped Dawson with a devastating right hand. Adamek tried to finish Dawson, but was unable. Two rounds later Dawson was declared the new champion by the scores of 116-110, 117-109 and 118-108.

"Chad was quicker than I was tonight," Adamek said after the fight. "He was the fastest I have ever seen. "He survived after I knocked him down in the tenth. I thought I was going to get him.

Adamek rebounded from his first loss by winning his next two bouts and earning a showdown against O' Neil Bell in an IBF Cruiserweight Eliminator on April 19, 2008.

Adamek dropped Bell in the opening round and then dominated the next six rounds, forcing the former undisputed cruiserweight champion to retire on his stool following the completion of round seven (TKO 7). The victory secured Adamek the IBF's #1 mandatory position and guaranteed him a title shot against IBF champion Steve Cunningham.

Tomasz is a highly religious Roman Catholic. His wife Dorota is a nurse, and he has two daughters Weronika, 6, and Roksana, 9. Tomasz enjoys nature and playing soccer and he says his personal hero is Pope John Paul II.

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