Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara (28-3, 16 KOs) defeated former world champion Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15 KOs) by a unanimous decision in a light heavyweight bout on Friday night at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois.
Fonfara edged out the Welshman over 12 entertaining rounds and won by scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112.
Each fighter had their moments and landed power punches but neither hit the canvas.
Cleverly started well and connected with several hard uppercuts in the early rounds. Both were trading combinations as the fight progressed, landing to head and body.
By the 7th, Fonfara came on strong and Cleverly’s nose was bloodied and swollen.
Cleverly gamely battled on and never stopped coming forward. While he landed some good shots of his own, Fonfara rallied again with big punches late on to get the verdict.
Fonfara said: “Cleverly has a great chin. He’s a great fighter. I had no idea he could take so many punches and still be in the fight. I realized it would be very hard to knock him out. I respect him very much.”
Cleverly said: “It was a fantastic fight. I had a feeling that our styles were going to jell and that’s what happened. It was a war from the very first bell. I thought I had him until the nose went, and I think that without that, I could’ve got the win.”