Kownacki, Arreola to put on 'fight of the year'

Heavyweights Adam Kownacki and Chris Arreola have reputations for being in action-packed fights, so both are expecting more of the same when they face each other.

Kownacki, the rising contender, and Arreola, the former three-time world title challenger on the back side of his career, met face-to-face at a news conference Tuesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, to discuss their fight, which will take place at the arena on Aug. 3 in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions tripleheader (Fox, 8 p.m. ET).

Kownacki and Arreola, both built more like newly crowned heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz Jr. than the chiseled former titlist Anthony Joshua, predicted a barnburner, and it would be hard to imagine anything else given their track records and come-forward, to-heck-with-defense styles.

"Chris Arreola and I are going to put on the fight of the year," Kownacki said. "We're going to show that the big guys can really fight. The heavyweight division is hot right now and this is going to add to it. With our styles being guys who come forward, it doesn't get better as a boxing fan."

Arreola added, "Adam and I are going to put on a great fight. I'm really excited for this one. As a fan, this is the kind of fight I'd want to watch. It's going to be a fight that's talked about for years.

"Everyone knows this is going to be a great fight."

Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs), 30, who has defeated former world titlist Charles Martin and former challengers Artur Szpilka and Gerald Washington in three of his past four fights, was primed for a shot at world titleholder Deontay Wilder in early 2020, but then Wilder's team struck a deal for him to face lineal champion Tyson Fury in a rematch. So while Kownacki, a Poland native living in Brooklyn, won't get that title shot just yet, he always intended to fight in August and will do so at an arena where he has fought often on undercards and become a big ticket seller to his loyal Polish fan base.

"This is an exciting moment for me. When I first fought at Barclays Center, I fought after the main event, so this is just an amazing feeling to be headlining," Kownacki said. "I've worked very hard to get to this moment. This is another step toward me becoming a world champion. I'm looking to put myself in line for a world title shot."

Arreola (38-5-1, 33 KOs), 38, of Riverside, California, lost world title fights to Vitali Klitschko (2009), Bermane Stiverne (2014) and Wilder, who stopped him in the eighth round in 2016. After that loss, Arreola considered retirement and didn't fight for 25 months, but he has won two fights in a row by knockout since returning in December.

"Arreola has been in there with everyone, so I know it's a tough test. He's coming off two knockout wins, so I know he'll be ready, but I'm more ready," Kownacki said. "I can't wait for this one. It's another step in the right direction. It's a do-or-die mood for him. Arreola is a good fighter. He has fought everybody from Deontay Wilder to Vitali Klitschko. Hopefully, I will be able to do a good job and get the win."

Arreola, now being trained by Joe Goossen after parting ways with longtime trainer Henry Ramirez, said he's happy to be back in the mix for a major fight but said he realizes there won't be one without a win over Kownacki.

"I'm learning a lot of new tricks of the trade and working on the old things also. I'm looking forward to this fight because the things that I've been working on with Joe Goossen are going to come out in this fight," Arreola said. "I'm going to be in the best shape possible on Aug. 3. I'm saying it now, if I lose, I'm retiring. But I'm not going to lose. I'm coming guns blazing to get this win."

The card also will feature former two-time welterweight world titlist Andre Berto (32-5, 24 KOs), 35, of Winter Haven, Florida, fighting for the first time in a year when he takes on Miguel Cruz (18-1, 12 KOs), 28, of Lake Mary, Florida, and Marcus Browne (23-0, 16 KOs), 28, a 2012 U.S. Olympian from Staten Island, New York, making the first defense of his interim light heavyweight world title against former world champion Jean Pascal (33-6-1, 20 KOs), 36, of Montreal, who is coming off a one-sided decision loss to world titlist Dmitry Bivol in November, in the opener.