by Tim Harrison
Fight Night on NBC Sports Network returns this Saturday, August 3 from the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Billed as the headlining bout will be middleweight contender Curtis Stevens (24-3, 17 KOs) against journeyman Saul Roman (37-9, 31 KOs), with “Fast” Eddie Chambers’ (36-3, 18 KOs) cruiserweight debut against Thabiso Mchunu (13-1, 10 KOs) as the co-featured bout. The late withdrawal of Tony Grano forced Tomasz Adamek (48-2, 29 KOs) to scramble to find a late replacement. Former heavyweight prospect Dominick Guinn (34-9-1, 23 KOs) has been tapped to step in and face the former light heavyweight and cruiserweight world champion. The fights are set to begin at 10:30 PM ET/7:30 PM PT.
Stevens comes into Saturday night’s main event on a three-fight winning streak dating back to his January 2010 loss to Jesse Brinkley. The loss to Brinkley was in an IBF super middleweight title eliminator, and Stevens has campaigned as a middleweight since. Romaro Johnson and Elvin Ayala managed to last less than a round a piece against Stevens, but the durable Derrick Findley went a full eight rounds with Stevens in April.
Roman also comes in riding a three-fight winning streak, with his streak dating back to a June 2011 TKO loss to Vanes Martirosyan. Throughout his career, Roman has racked up appearances (mostly losses) to the “who’s who” list of junior middleweight and middleweight contenders and champions. H Jesus Soto Karass, Marco Antonio Rubio, Sergio Martinez, Yuri Foreman, Gabe Rosado, and Tommy Oosthuizen all hold wins over Roman. To his credit, Roman has beaten the aforementioned Rubio, and Kassim Ouma. Roman’s recent winning streak has come against journeymen Richard Gutierrez (UD10), Martin Avila (KO2), and Jose Pinzon (TKO9).
The first-co-feature features the cruiserweight debut of former heavyweight world title challenger “Fast” Eddie Chambers. Once a well-regarded (but small) heavyweight prospect, Chambers cut his way through the gatekeepers and journeymen of the division before suffering his first setback against Alexander Povetkin in 2008. He beat former belt-holder Sam Peter and prospect Alexander Dimitrenko as he earned his first title shot against Wladimir Klitschko. Chambers fought tentatively and held his own for twelve rounds before a left hook from the heavyweight giant put the lights out. Chambers came back to beat Derric Rossy in November of 2011 before coming up against Tomasz Adamek last June. Chambers suffered a shoulder injury early in the fight and was forced to fight with only one arm for most of the night. Despite the handicap, many felt Chambers should have gotten the nod against the popular Pole, but judges at ringside saw Adamek the winner. A long rehab period and a drop down to a new division have kept Chambers on the shelf since the loss to Adamek. Chambers, whose small frame makes him a good fit for the cruiserweight division, is looking to make a run at a cruiserweight title.
Mchunu has everything to gain and nothing to lose on Saturday night. Making his American debut, Mchunu has already established himself in his native South Africa. The hard-hitting southpaw can make a name for himself with an upset of Chambers, fighting in front of fans in a region where he’s already established.
The first co-feature was nearly scrapped when Tony Grano pulled out of the fight with an injury. Tomasz Adamek is looking to move on from two bad performances in a row – the aforementioned fight with Chambers and his disputed win over Steve Cunningham last December. Adamek, now 36, is looking to make another run at a heavyweight title. Having already fought his way up the ranks only to be battered pillar to post by WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klistschko, Adamek (WBC #9) can move up the WBC rankings and be poised for another shot in the near future. After a cruiserweight title reign lasting only three fights, Adamek moved up and chased a heavyweight title. He beat Andrew Golota, Jason Estrada, Chris Arreola, Michael Grant, Vinny Maddalone, and Kevin McBride before he got his shot at Klitschko.
A decade ago Dominick Guinn looked like the next big thing at heavyweight. Stuck in the uncomfortable space between the super heavyweights giants who rule the roost today and the cruiserweight division, Guinn would win his first 24 fights before dropping a split decision to Monte Barrett in March of 2004. Guinn’s career has been up and down since then, with losses coming to Siarhei Liakhovich, James Toney, Tony Thompson, and Eddie Chambers along the way. Guinn has lost three of his last four, with the win coming against club fighter Stacy Frazier last June. Despite the many setbacks and shortcoming in his career, Guinn has never been stopped.