Andrzej Fonfara vs Nathan Cleverly & Koki Kameda vs Kohei Kono
BY KID HERSH
PBC on Spike TV from Chicago. First up was Koki Kameda (33-1, 18ko’s) vs Kohei Kono (30-8-1, 13ko’s) for Kono’s WBA super flyweight world title. In the first round Kono came out guns blazing and Kameda was trying to keep his man off him but couldn’t get an offense mounted. In the second round Kono was again outworking Kameda but got the short end of the stick when towards the end of the second there was a knockdown ruled that was a low blow. Actually there were two low blows that lead to him taking a knee. He got up angry from the decision and promptly landed a right hand that floored Kameda to even the score before the round ended. In the third round Kameda was docked two points for low blows, with the action very heated and both men vying for the upper hand while throwing body shots in bunches. The fourth round saw a lot of energy from the champion as he outworked Kameda by throwing and moving, although he was staying in range or in the pocket for most of it. Kameda was having success with right hooks in spurts but he was not throwing very many of them and also seemed to be waiting too much, with Kono blitzing him with so many punches that he was slightly overwhelmed. Referee Celestino Ruiz was interjecting himself into the action far too much to not annoy me in the coming rounds. He has been doing it before these middle rounds but it is basically at the point where he is just interjecting at any moment he can get, without any fighter clinching. Early in the seventh round he stopped the action for a prolonged period of time and then took a moment to tell the fighters that he was going to end the fight if they didn’t clean it up. The fighters fought a very fast pace for the remainder of the round but you could tell that they are avoiding going to the body in fear of being disqualified. They are also looking at him fairly frequently, as if to acquiesce that they are listening to him. Kono was then docked a point in the ninth round for pushing the head of Kameda, which he was trying to prevent from butting him as it has been. The rest of the round was fought at a very high pace, with Kameda nearly scoring a knockdown off of a left hand that hurt Kono and sent him backwards. He recouped and came forward though, with both guys just nonstop throwing through the rest of the round. The championship rounds were well fought and it was actually hard to choose between one man or the other but it looked to me like Kono is still outworking his man just barely enough to get the edge. This was a very action packed fight that could have been a lot better if the referee was not so involved, in my opinion. Kono retained his title on the cards – with the difference being that he threw over one thousand punches in the fight.
Main event time with Nathan Cleverly (29-2, 15ko’s) vs Andrzej Fonfara (27-3, 16ko’s). The first round was very high paced right off the bat with Cleverly coming out and heading straight for the champion, throwing lots of punches and landing plenty but it was mainly his left hook that you could see move Fonfara. Fonfara was judging his man a bit but of course answering the combinations coming his way, while giving ground to the aggressor. Cleverly continued his high output in the second round while landing a lot of left hooks and right hands that were snapping Fonfara’s head back. This is possibly the most aggressive I have seen Cleverly before! In the third round Fonfara started to sit down on his shots more midway through, moving Cleverly and getting him to slightly slow down the onslaught. Cleverly is putting in good body work meanwhile with left hooks as Fonfara is still head hunting. The fourth round was another close one with Fonfara landing some heavy blows but Cleverly really pressing the action and throwing lots of shots – landing most of them to boot. By the fifth round Cleverly was showboating and landing anything he threw, even winding up bolo shots and hooting at his opponent while unloading combinations that were far too fast for the stiff and upright Fonfara to react to. In the sixth round Fonfara was looking stiff and robotic early on but then started unloading body shots that looked like they slowed down Cleverly as he tightened up his guard and was not throwing as many shots. By the end of the sixth Cleverly was taking more damage than in previous rounds and not looking so confident anymore. Fonfara carried his momentum into the seventh round and bloodied and battered Cleverly, breaking his nose with a vicious uppercut and then taking the momentum further by teeing off on the wounded man in front of him, piling the damage on and leaving both men bloody by the end of the round with the crowd on their feet. Cleverly battled back like a warrior in the eighth round, putting his punches together again with blazing fast speed and ignoring the blood flowing from his nose. Fonfara was sharpshooting his man but also took some hellacious right hands in this round. The ninth round saw Cleverly looking to use his power to put combinations together that have been working for him but he looks more worn down at this point while Fonfara is still pretty fresh. Fonfara landed some great power shots though that thudded home – notably his uppercut that has been doing the real damage thus far in the fight. The doctors took a look at Cleverly’s nose before the tenth round start as we were informed that we already have a compubox record in this fight with nearly 800 punches landed already. The tenth round had a bit less action, both fighters tired from the torrid pace of the fight. Fonfara took over in the eleventh round with Cleverly still trying his heart out but simply beaten up at this point with his face battered and bloody while he pressed forward. Fonfara was picking his power shots in spots and clearly in control though for this round. The twelfth and final round was fought in no less a manner than expected for this potential fight of the year candidate with Cleverly still coming forward and doing his best to unleash a quick attack while Fonfara was trying to control the distance and was using his jab very effectively (I have been wondering where his jab is for this fight! The final compubox stats came in and were absolutely insane, with over 2500 punches thrown and 900 landed! Records shattered. Fonfara would win the close but well deserved decision and Cleverly got tons of respect from this fight no doubt. What a US debut for him.