While the card didn’t quite have the equivalent of a George Foreman or Joe Frazier, who did battle at the Old Coliseum 41 years ago, the night did berth a few rising stars in the sport, including Brooklyn’s own Adam Kownacki.
Kownacki, 28, began boxing at the age of 15, at one point training in Queens prior to working out of Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO.
The Greenpoint native, who was born in Poland, entered Saturday night as an underdog against Artur Szpilka, also of Poland, who was fighting for the first time since January of 2016, when he was memorably knocked out by then and current WBC World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder and carried out on a stretcher.
The layoff for Kownacki wasn’t nearly as prolonged, and it showed right away.
Kownacki, who entered at 242 pounds (17 pounds heavier than Szpilka), made his power a factor early, landing his first significant shot 30 seconds in, a left-handed body blow as Szpilka continued to move and circle around the right.
The game of cat-and-mouse continued as Kownacki repeatedly peppered a retreating Szpilka with power punches before putting him away in the fourth round by technical knockout.
Before the end, Kownacki did record one knockdown, much to the delight of his large fan base that traveled to Nassau, and earned the stoppage shortly after Szpilka beat the count, landing three purposeful head shots, causing the referee to step-in.
“I always knew that I had him,” said Kownacki, who pressured Szpilka every second of the action. “From the first shot I hit him with in the body, I knew he didn’t have enough. My pressure was too much.”
The upset boots Kownacki to a perfect 16-0 with 13 knockouts, while dropping Szpilka to 20-3 with 15 KO’s. Szpilka’s previous losses to the aforementioned Wilder and former world title contender Bryant Jennings were knockout losses in the ninth and 10th rounds respectively.
Kownacki was well-aware that his victory was more impressive than the elite company kept in Szpilka’s other two defeats, which he spoke to after the fight.
“It took Deontay Wilder and Bryant Jennings a lot longer to get him out of there,” he said. “But I still have things that I’m going to go back and fix. Once I improve those aspects of my game, I think a lot of people are going to know me.”
Elsewhere on the card, Staten Island’s Marcus Browne (20-0, 15 KO) destroyed Long Island’s Sean Monaghan (28-1, 17 KO) in a battle of undefeated light heavyweight’s, scoring a second-round knockout.
The main event saw Oscar Figueroa (27-0-1, 19 KO) put down former Floyd Mayweather-foe Robert Guerrero (33-6-1, 18 KO) five times en route to a third-round TKO.