Former WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly travels out to Chicago on October 16th to the adopted backyard of Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara in what will be a make or break fight for the Welshman.
Cleverly had enjoyed a relatively successful tenure as champion from 2011-13, although had arguably been matched very carefully until he ran into Russian banger Sergey Kovalev, who destroyed the Cefn Forest fighter in four brutal rounds in front of his own fans in Cardiff to take his title in August of that year.
After a brief flirtation at cruiserweight, which saw Cleverly lose a split decision snooze-fest rematch with Tony Bellew, he moved back down to 175 lb to attempt to recapture his former glory, blasting out Tomas Man inside 30 seconds back in May, leading to this fight in America with Fonfara.
Cleverly claims that he was given a choice between a potential title opportunity against German WBA (reg) champion Jurgen Braehmer, although chose the non-title fight with Fonfara due to the exposure an American audience on network television will bring.
“I took a few days to decide but I chose the Fonfara one [fight],” he said to Sky Sports. “I feel it’s on the big stage and [if I] win this then I am in the big league.
“He’s not the sort of guy to shy away from a fight, he stands his ground, throws big right hands and has solid shots so hopefully I will bring my best form.
“At times I am going to trade with him, so it is going to be an exciting fight,” he added knowing that a comprehensive defeat could well spell the end of his career at meaningful championship level.
Fonfara’s last outing was in April when he made Julio Cesar Chavez quit on his stool after the 9th, flooring the Mexican earlier in the round. The Pole remains keen on a rematch with WBC boss Adonis Stevenson, against whom he dropped a decision after dumping “Superman” on the seat of his pants in May 2014.