(Photo credit: David Earnisse/Premier Boxing Champions) By Jim Dower: In an exciting fight from start to finish, light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara (28-3, 16 KOs) decision Britain’s Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs) by a close 12 round unanimous decision on Friday night on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike at the UIC Pavilion, in Chicago, Illinois.
Cleverly fought his heart out, but he sagged in the second half of the fight from the powerful shots from Fonfara. The judges scored the fight 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112.
Cleverly started fast and appeared to dominate the first three rounds. However, Fonfara started coming on from the 4th and totally took control of the fight starting from the 7th round. Fonfara appeared to win every round from the 7th to the 12th.
In the 7th, Fonfara damaged Cleverly’s nose with a big right uppercut that had him bleeding. Cleverly started covering up for a minute span in the fight, showing that he was badly hurt. While Cleverly did come on late in the round, he was a bloody mess and no match for Fonfara’s harder shots.
“It has been a great experience over here in the U.S. – it’s a pretty hostile crowd but they all congratulated me after the fight,” Cleverly said. “Would I do it again? Why not – it’s what we are here to do, put on entertaining fights for great fans, and I am sure there will be the demand for it.”
WBA World super flyweight champion Kohei Kono (31-8-1, 13 KOs) defeated #2 WBA Koki Kameda (33-2, 18 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision. The judges’ scores were 115-109, 116-108 and 113-111.
Kono knocked Kameda down with a straight right hand in the 2nd round. Moments before that, Kono had to take a knee after getting hit with a borderline low blow. It looked like a legal punch but referee Celestino Ruiz ruled it a low blow. It was fortunate for Kono because he would have been knocked out if it had been ruled a legitimate shot.
The referee Ruiz got a little out of control in the 3rd round in twice taking points off from Kameda for low blows. It seemed kind of petty because Kono had also been throwing low blows, and he wasn’t docked a point.
In the 7th round, the referee Celestino Ruiz threated to halt the fight and disqualify both fighters. It’s unknown why he said this because the two fighters were fighting a mostly clean fight.
“I was going to make a decision on whether to retire or not based on my performance. I feel it might be time for me to retire,” Kameda said. “My stamina wasn’t what it should be in the later rounds. I got caught in the second round because I made a mistake I shouldn’t have made. He fought very well and I was surprised by his power. I think it’s time for me to retire.”
Kono threw nonstop punches in rounds 10 through 12 to win the championship rounds. Kameda landed the harder and cleaner shots, but Kono’s high work rate enabled him to control the last three rounds.
In the 9th, Kono lost a point for pushing down on Kameda’s head. This was another questionable call by the referee.