Friday, February 03, 2023  |


Andrzej Fonfara on Adonis Stevenson: ‘I can beat him’

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime

RING light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson had stopped 10 consecutive opponents heading into his bout with Andrzej Fonfara in May and was expected by many to make quick work of Fonfara as well in defense of his title.

So when Stevenson dropped Fonfara to his knees with a straight left in the first round and floored him yet again with a left to the stomach in the fifth, it appeared that the southpaw was on his way to another stoppage victory.

But after being staggered once more from a sixth-round body shot and barely losing the seventh, Fonfara turned the tide, eventually dropping Stevenson with a right hand early in the ninth of an eventual unanimous decision loss.

“I showed good heart, strength and my condition in that fight. Even when I was knocked down, I wanted to stand back up and fight,” said Fonfara, whose run of 15 straight victories, 12 by knockout, ended against Stevenson.

“I know that now I must punch more and keep better defense. Adonis is a different kind of fighter. He’s sneaky and a hard puncher. I know that if he doesn’t knock me down in the first round, then maybe the fight goes a different way.”

Ranked No. 8 in THE RING as a 175-pounder, Fonfara had last suffered defeat against Derrick Findley by second-round stoppage in July 2008. Fonfara had knocked out Samuel Miller in the second round in December 2013 before meeting Stevenson, representing his third consecutive stoppage win.

“That loss made me want to train longer and harder so that I can get a rematch with [Stevenson]. That’s the plan,” said Fonfara. “I need to win like two, three fights and then get the rematch. I know that I can beat him. I gave him the best fight of his professional career in our first fight.”

Fonfara (25-3, 15 knockouts) returns to the ring on Nov. 1 against Doudou Ngumbu (33-5, 12 KOs) on Showtime at Chicago’s UIC Pavillion, marking the Polish fighter’s 14th appearance at the venue.

“Chicago is a very special city for me because I moved there eight years ago. I started my professional career there. I had just one professional fight before I moved to Chicago,” said Fonfara during a Tuesday workout in Big Bear, Calif.

“When I first started to fight in Chicago, I had 30, 50 people at my fights. Now when I fight there, I have a few thousand people. It’s not only Polish people who come to watch me fight but all fight fans. Fans like to see me fight because I am entertaining and put my heart into the ring.”

Fonfara is in his third camp in Big Bear, Calif., where he worked out for 90 minutes on Tuesday without an extended break. Fonfara’s coach, Sam Colonna has trained former lightweight titleholder David Diaz as well as heavyweight title challengers Tomasz Adamek and Andrew Golota.

“Every good boxer prepares there. If I want to be the best, I must train where the best fighters in the world train,” said Fonfara. “Big Bear has great altitude, good weather for runs and a very good gym. It’s a great base for camp.”

Ngumbu, 32, is coming off a unanimous decision over Johnny Muller in June, representing his second straight win since falling by split decision to Igor Mikhalkin in July 2013.

Fighting on American soil for the first time against Fonfara, Ngumbu owns unanimous decision victories over former title challengers Vyacheslav Uzelkov and Aleksy Kuziemski.

“He’s very tough and wants to win each time he steps into the ring. He doesn’t come just to collect a check; he wants to beat me and get a chance on Showtime to show what he is made of. It’s good for me; it’s more pressure. It makes me work harder but I know that I’m ready for this fight,” said Fonfara, 26.

“I’m not the underdog in this fight like I have been in the past but this is boxing and you must go in the ring and think and box. You never know what is going to happen. If I want to think about a rematch with Adonis, I must beat guys like Ngumbu. There’s much at stake on Nov. 1.”

Fonfara-Ngumbu will be main event whose co-feature matches RING No. 9-rated bantamweight Tomoki Kameda in a defense of his WBO belt against Alejandro Hernandez. Another bout on the card matches southpaw Javier Fortuna in a junior lightweight fight against Abner Cotto.


Note: Quotes from a release.