Discover more from Fight Freaks Unite
Kownacki on Cusumano dirty drug test: 'Devastating' he 'cheated'
A note to Fight Freaks Unite readers: I created Fight Freaks Unite in January 2021 and eight months later it also became available for paid subscriptions for additional content — and as a way to help keep this newsletter going and for readers to support independent journalism. If you haven’t upgraded to a paid subscription please consider it. If you have already, I truly appreciate it! Also, consider a gift subscription for the Fight Freak in your life.
Matchroom Boxing announced on Tuesday that heavyweight Joe Cusumano tested positive for a banned substance after to his biggest win, a brutal eighth-round upset knockout of onetime contender Adam Kownacki on June 24 on DAZN at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
While the substance was not identified, a source with knowledge of the testing told Fight Freaks Unite that the result came back on Friday and was the result of a post-fight urine test.
“Matchroom can today confirm that Joe Cusumano returned an adverse analytical finding as part of an anti-doping protocol mandated by the New York State Athletic Commission following his bout with Adam Kownacki on 24 June,” Matchroom Boxing said in a statement. “We understand a process is underway with the New York State Athletic Commission and Matchroom now defers to the applicable regulatory authorities on the next steps.
“Whilst we are disappointed by the news, this affirms Matchroom’s ultimate desire to regularly test active fighters and ensure we continue to promote a clean and fair sport for all athletes. We will not be making any further comment.”
The New York commission likely will suspend and fine Cusumano and change the result of the bout to a no contest.
Upgrade to a paid subscription for full access to all posts and comments, and also to support independent journalism
Kownacki, who lost his fourth fight in a row, three by knockout, was upset by the news, noting that two of his other losses also came to an opponent, Robert Helenius, who also recently tested positive for a banned substance related to his knockout loss to Anthony Joshua on Aug. 12.
“Finding out that my opponent tested positive for PEDs is shocking,” Kownacki told Fight Freaks Unite. “I have supported random testing and signed up for the WBC random testing when they announced the program. We risk our health in the square circle. Knowing someone has the edge and takes PEDs is heartbreaking. We do not ride bicycles or hit baseballs. We are in the hurt business and finding out someone cheated to beat you is devastating.
“I have a family to support. After a fighter takes losses your value goes down and making the climb back to the top in boxing is hard. Knowing two of my past opponents I have losses to tested positive for PEDs in recent times shows that promoters need to do more testing and keep boxing clean.”
Kownacki (20-4, 15 KOs), 34, the popular Polish big man from Brooklyn, and Cusumano put on a very violent fight in which Kownacki got knocked down in the first round and was fortunate to make it out of the round. It was such a violent affair that the ringside doctors checked on both fighters in their corners after the fifth round.
Cusumano (22-4, 20 KOs), 35, of Danville, Virginia, eventually took command and relentlessly punished Kownacki until his corner finally threw in the towel while the ringside doctor was simultaneously telling referee David Fields to stop it during the eighth round.
The bout was on the undercard of super middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga’s decision over Jason Quigley.
A note to subscribers
I sincerely appreciate your readership. If you’re reading, it means you love boxing just like I do. If you’ve been reading you also know the quality and quantity of what I produce. It’s one-stop shopping. Read the newsletters and there is no need to search multiple websites or click a multitude of links to get the latest news, opinion and detailed fight schedule. Everything you need is in one spot and delivered directly to your inbox (or via phone alert if you download for free the superb Substack app). You don’t have to hunt for the news; it comes to you.
I believe that is worth something, so while I will continue providing stories, notes and the schedule for free, I encourage you to upgrade to a paid subscription for the most content. A paid subscription is your way of keeping this reader-supported newsletter going and supporting independent journalism. I am beholden to no network, promoter, manager, sanctioning body or fighter. If you have read my work at all during the past 23 years I’ve covered professional boxing you know that I keep it real and that will not change.
To upgrade your subscription please go here:
Thank you so much for your support of Fight Freaks Unite!
Kownacki-Cusumano photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing
Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danrafael1/
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanRafael1
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanRafaelBoxing