By: William Holmes
The Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has become a favorite destination for many of the boxing promoters in the Northeast section of the United States. Peltz Boxing and Iron Mike Productions regularly put on shows here, and Main Events have televised many fight cards on the NBC Sports Network from Bethlehem.
It might not be as prestigious as Atlantic City or Madison Square Garden, but the Sands Casino has been putting on some quality cards the past few years and the fact that Saturday’s card is sold out indicates they’ll be putting on more quality cards in the foreseeable future.
Tomasz Adamek will meet Vyacheslav Glazkov in an IBF Heavyweight title eliminator in the main event and Isaac Chilemba will meet Denis Grachev in the light heavyweight co-feature. The following is a preview of both televised bouts.
Isaac Chilemba (21-2) vs. Denis Grachev (13-2); Light Heavyweights
The winner of this bout will see bigger opportunities arise and the loser will likely fade into obscurity. Both Grachev and Chilemba have two losses and badly need a victory if they want to remain in the title hunt.
Chilemba is five years younger than Grachev and will also be the taller fighter inside the ring. Chilemba has held regional titles as well as the IBO Championship title in the super middleweight division.
He’s not known for his power, only nine of his fights were stoppage victories, but he has also never been stopped in his career. He has gone 3-1-1 in his last five fights and his most recent loss came to Tony Bellew in London in May of last year. His most impressive victories to date have come against Edison Miranda and Maxim Vlasov, but he has not defeated any other notable opponents. His other loss was to Willbeforce Shihepo in 2007, a loss he avenged in an immediate rematch.
Grachev has faced tougher competition than Chilemba, but he has gone 2-2 in his last four fights. He competed in the Monte Carlo Super Four and made it to the finals before getting blitzed by Edwin Rodriguez in the first round. He also lost to Lucian Bute in Montreal, Canada in November of 2012.
He has decent power and has eight stoppage victories to his record. His biggest wins have come against the then undefeated Zsolt Erdei in March of 2013, a fourth round TKO over Vladine Biosse in May of 2011, and a shocking eighth round TKO over Ismayl Sillah in April of 2012 on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.
On paper, this is a competitive matchup between two gate keepers. This writer has to give Chilemba a slight edge due to the fact Grachev is older and appears to be on the downside of his career, but Grachev has fought tougher opponents than Chilemba.
Tomasz Adamek (49-2) vs. Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (16-0-1); IBF Heavyweight Title Eliminator
Adamek will have home field advantage on Saturday since he always attracts a large group of Polish fans wherever he fights. The former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion has been on the big stage several times before and is still considered a force in the heavyweight division.
He’s the favorite and he should be, but at thirty-seven years old one has to wonder how much does he have left. He will be eight years older than his opponent and about two inches shorter, but they have approximately the same reach.
Both Adamek and Glazkov have competed as amateurs, but Glazkov won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games while Adamek never reached that level as an amateur. Glazkov also has a slightly higher knockout ration, he has stopped eleven of his opponents while Adamek has stopped twenty nine.
It is clear that Adamek has faced significantly better competition than Glazkov. His only two losses came to Vitali Klitschko in 2011 and to Chad Dawson in 2007. He has gone 9-1 in his last ten fights and has defeated several elite boxers during his career. His victories have come against Steven Cunningham, Eddie Chambers, Chris Arreola, Johnathon Banks, Paul Briggs, and Thomas Ulrich.
Adamek isn’t known for his speed, but his technical boxing ability should be considered elite.
Glazkov is entering his athletic prime and has never tasted defeat. He did have a highly dispute draw with Malik Scott in February of 2013 which most observers felt Scott did enough to win. Scott out landed Glazkov and connected at a higher percentage.
Glazkov also has not faced elite competition. He has solid wins over Garrett Wilson, Tor Hammer, and Denis Bakhtov, but they aren’t the type of victories that should place him in the top ten of the heavyweight division. In fact, Tor Hammer was recently released by DiBella Promotions after losing again in his follow up bout after Galzkov and Garrett Wilson was moved up in weight to take on Glazkov on short notice.
A win for Glazkov will do wonders for his career and he is fighting Adamek while he is past his prime. But Glazkov has failed to really impress at this point in his career and Adamek will be too experienced for him to handle.