Tuesday, September 26, 2023  |



Andrzej Fonfara outpoints Nathan Cleverly

Fighters Network

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Light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara had to rally from an early deficit against former WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly on Friday night. He also demonstrated his win over Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in April was no fluke.
Fonfara kept the momentum going on Friday night, winning a hard-fought 12 round unanimous decision over Cleverly at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Ill.
With the win, Fonfara improves to 28-3, 16 KOs. Cleverly drops to 29-3, 15 KOs.
The bout topped a ‘PBC on Spike’ telecast.
Fonfara stopped Chavez after the ninth round in a fight that he mostly controlled from the opening bell. In his last bout on May 30, Cleverly stopped Tomas Man in the first round. The win came after Cleverly lost by split decision over 12 rounds to Tony Bellew on Nov. 22.
Both fighters went at one another from the opening bell. It looked as though Cleverly was getting the better of the exchanges, especially when he scored repeatedly with uppercuts while walking Fonfara down.
Cleverly mixed his attack to Fonfara’s head and body, but Fonfara began to rally in the fifth round, landing combinations that slowed down Cleverly’s attack. Cleverly was easy to hit as he stayed in the pocket, but Fonfara nevertook his foot off the pedal, winning the round in process.
The middle rounds saw some of the best action of the fight. Both stayed in the pocket in the center of the ring, trading combinations to the head and body. Cleverly seemed to control the first half of each round, while Fonfara swung momentum his way from about the midway point of each round.
Cleverly seemed to slow down by the later rounds. He did have to deal with a swollen and possibly broken nose, which made it difficult for him to breathe.
According to CompuBox, a combined 2,183 punches were thrown by both fighters through 10 rounds, breaking the old record for punches thrown in a light heavyweight fight. A combined 2,425 punches were thrown.
Both fighters had their moments in the final two rounds. Both traded lead right hands to the head and while Clevery may have thrown more punches, Fonfara seemed to be the fresher of the two.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Fonfara, 116-112, 116-112, and 115-113.
In the opening bout of the Spike TV broadcast, Kohei Kono retained his WBA junior bantamweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Koki Kameda.
With the win, Kono improves to 31-8-1, 13 KOs. Kameda, whose 11-fight winning streak was snapped, drops to 33-2, 19 KOs.
It was a solid fight between the two Japanese fighters, but it seemed as though much of the fight was marred by the actions of referee Celestino Ruiz.
Both fighters went on the attack from the opening bell, landing to the head and body as both stood their ground in the pocket.
Kono scored a knockdown over Kameda in the second round. Things turned for the worse for Kameda in the following round she he was deducted to points in the third round for low blows.
As the bout progressed, both fighters were warned repeatedly for low blows by referee Ruiz. As both fighters created excellent exchanges, Ruiz would at times step in, breaking or slowing down the excellent ebb and flow of the fight.
Ruiz even went as far as to warn both fighters in the seventh round that he would stop the fight if they would not stop fouling.
The southpaw Kameda, who was attempting to become the first Japanese fighter to win a world title in four different weight classes, tried to mount a rally as the fight progressed. He would land occasional straight left hands, but Kono seemed to find a way to counter, particularly with rights hands that noticeably bruised the left eye of Kameda.
Kono was deducted a point in round nine for what looked like a low blow.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Kono, 115-109, 116-108, and 113-111.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing