By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions was televised from the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois as Nathan Cleverly and Andrzej Fonfara met in a light heavyweight showdown for a possible shot at a light heavyweight title in the near future.
The opening bout of the night was between two Japanese boxers, Kohei Kono(30-8-1) and Koki Kameda (33-1), in the super flyweight division for the WBA title.
Tonight represented the first time that two Japanese boxers fought for a world title outside of Japan.
Kameda, a southpaw, was active with his left hand in the first round and was the more accurate puncher. Kono was throwing a high volume, but Kameda was blocking most of them early on.
The activity picked up in the second round and Kono was landing hard right hands and had Kameda backing up. Kameda was able to connect with a thudding left to Kono’s chin, but Kono kept walking forward and answered with combinations of his own. Kameda landed a low blow in this round and Kono got time to recover, but when the bout resumed Kono scored a knockdown with a flush straight right.
The action continued to heat up in the third round until the referee took away a point from Kameda for landing a low blow, and took another point away near the end of the third for another low blow.
The fourth round was close with both boxers landing a high volume of punches, and in the fifth round Kameda looked to be landing the harder shots while Kono was landing more.
Kono however began to really assert himself in the sixth and seventh round by simply being more active and finding a continuous home for his right uppercut.
In the seventh round the referee briefly stopped the fight and warned both fighters that if another low blow landed he would stop the bout, even though he had yet to take a point away from Kono.
The fight continued in a phone booth in the eighth round as Kameda’s face was a swollen mess. Kono was deducted a point in the ninth round for pushing the head of Kameda down, and Kameda had his best round of the night with stunning right hands.
Kono perhaps felt that he could lose on the judges scorecards if the fight went to a decision and he went for the knockout in the final three rounds and threw and landed an unbelievable number of punches. Kono landed a good share too, and both showed iron chins and an iron will.
Kameda needed a knockout in the final round to win the fight, and that never came, but both connected with eye opening shots in the final three minutes.
At the end of the fight Kameda had thrown 1039 punches and landed 362. Kono threw 769 punches and landed 317.
The judges scored it 115-109, 116-108, and 113-111 for Kohei Kono.
The main event of the night was between Nathan Cleverly (29-2) and Andrzej Fonfara (27-3) in the light heavyweight division.
The crowd was largely in support of Fonfara, who landed the first punch of the fight with an quick left hook. Cleverly answers with his own crisp punches to the head, and both boxers exchanged hard combinations in the first.
It became immediately apparent that this fight would match the action of the opening bout, but with a less involved referee.
Fonfara threw more combinations in the second round but Cleverly was more effective with his jab. Both boxers landed above 50% of their power shots in the middle of the second round. Cleverly’s uppercut hook combination was also working well for him, and Fonfara connected with a questionable hook after the bell.
Fonfara pressed the action early in the third round and may have had Cleverly slightly stunned at 1:30 of the round. Fonfara was landing the harder shots in the third and fourth rounds and probably won them, but it was Cleverly that was clowning around and even throwing a bolo punch.
Clevelry continued to showboat to the ire of the crowd in the fifth round but he landed the better combinations in the first two minutes of the round. Fonfara swung the tide of the fight back in his favor in the final minute of the fifth as he was pummeling v with heavy combinations.
The sixth round was tight, and Fonfara dominated the seventh round when he busted the nose of Clevelry who was bleeding badly. By the seventh round the boxers were on their way to breaking the compubox record for punches landed and thrown, and were keeping up an unbelievable pace.
The action went back and forth in the eighth and ninth rounds, but Fonfara looked to be the fresher fighter of the two.
The ringside doctor took a hard look at the broken nose of Cleverly at the start of the tenth and allowed him to continue fighting, and at this point they had broken the record for punches thrown, and they didn’t slow down.
By the eleventh round they broke the compubox record for punches thrown by light heavyweights, and Fonfara and Clevelry landed brutal punches on each other.
Fonfara and Cleverly left everything in the ring in the final round and both were able to survive a hellacious war.
The judges scored it 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112 for Andrzej Fonfara.