Reinvigorated Chambers ready for heavyweight title bout

Chambers
Chambers
Posted: June 14, 2012

TYPICALLY weighing in just north of 200 pounds, Philly-based heavyweight "Fast" Eddie Chambers has made a career out of being overlooked. With a recent string of injuries causing the 30-year-old to bow out of two fights in the past year, Chambers knows the public has a new reason to doubt him.

On Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., Chambers (36-2, 18 KOs) takes on Polish heavyweight Tomasz Adamek (45-2, 28 KOs) in the main event of NBC Sports Network's "Fight Night." The winner will claim the NABF heavyweight title.

It wasn't long ago that the speedy and skilled Chambers was considered to be the best American heavyweight on the boxing scene. In March 2010, his hopes for a title crumbled when he was knocked out in Germany by Wladimir Klitschko, who still holds the undisputed heavyweight crown.

Injuries have halted Chambers' career since the Klitschko beating. He was forced to withdraw from bouts in October 2011 and January 2012 because of back spasms and broken ribs he suffered in preparation.

Crediting a revamped training regimen, Chambers says he is now, "as close to 100 percent as he can be." Despite fighting only once in 2 years, the soft-spoken righthander doesn't foresee rust as a factor.

"Knowing that my back is against the wall with regard to my career should be motivation enough to forget rust and just fight," he said. As for the doubters, they have always been a galvanizing force for him.

"It doesn't bother me," he added. "People have been saying that my whole career, even when I was knocking off these big monsters. I have been dealing with naysayers from fight No. 1 to now 39."

Chambers' hiatus has caused his name to fall out of favor in most boxing circles, a trend he thinks he can buck with a victory over the well-respected Adamek. Adamek is ranked by the IBO as the No. 3 heavyweight contender.

"This is the express train," Chambers said. "One victory like this is not just a regular win — this is a guy that is ranked top five — so beating someone like this puts me right back up in the ratings."

Adamek's calling card is his toughness, stemming from a rock-solid chin. He is a tick under 6-2, and almost certainly will outweigh Chambers, but the weight discrepancy should not be as dramatic as the 30 to 40 pounds the undersized Chambers has grown used to.

"It is going to be fun to face somebody a little easier to reach," he said. "It is going to be a little bit of a switch, but I have prepared well for it."

Adamek, based in nearby Jersey City, has fought seven times at the Prudential Center and is usually followed by a rowdy flock of Polish faithful who tote red-and-white flags.

Chambers acknowledged Adamek's homefield advantage, even expressing a respect for his boxing skills. But he shrugged off their significance, convincingly playing the part of a determined boxer who knows this could be his last shot at resurrection.

"This is like another coming-out party," Chambers said. "It puts me in a position where I am once again one of the best in the world, which I don't think I ever stopped being."

Jennings in co-feature

Also slated on the Chambers-Adamek card is a co-main event featuring 27-year-old North Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant Jennings (13-0, 6 KOs) taking on Steve Collins (25-1-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant USBA Heavyweight title.

Brimming with confidence, the undefeated Jennings has exploded onto the boxing landscape out of nowhere. He didn't start fighting until he was 24, but says that his initial success was somewhat expected.

"It wasn't a surprise, because I lived through it," he said. "We worked hard and every step of the way was harder and harder. The harder the work you put in, the better your result. And that is why I did it, so I am not surprised that I am somewhat successful right now."

His flawless record prompted legendary trainer Freddie Roach to dub Jennings "the best prospect America has right now in the heavyweight division" on the NBC Sports Network's "Fight Night" broadcast June 1. It's a distinction that comes with strings attached.

"There is a whole lot of pressure that goes with it," he said. "[Roach] told me personally, but when he said it on television I was like, ‘OK, now I really got work to do.' But pressure, that is what I am here for. They say pressure busts pipes, but it ain't going to bust these pipes."

Jennings, 6-2 and about 220 pounds, possessed a lethal combination of quickness and exceptional strength for his size. He trains with Philly boxing staple Fred Jenkins.

Jenkins says his 40-plus years in the business more than make up for Jennings' lack of experience.

"We nullify that with my experience and his strength. He is an exceptional fighter," Jenkins said. "If he keeps going the way he is going, I don't see anybody standing in his way."

Contact Alex Lee at leea@phillynews.com

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