Tonight at 9 pm EST on Spike, Premier Boxing Champions is back for its third of four cards this week, with Andrzej Fonfara headlining at home in Chicago against former titleholder Nathan Cleverly in a light heavyweight main event set for 12 rounds.
Fonfara (27-3, 16 KO) is coming off of a truly dominant win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and looking to keep that momentum rolling against Cleverly (29-2, 15 KO), who is returning to the light heavyweight division after a brief one-year stint at cruiserweight.
The fight is for Fonfara's WBC international title, and figures to produce a 2016 challenger for WBC world titleholder Adonis Stevenson. Fonfara faced Stevenson in 2014, losing a decision in Montreal, but fighting tougher than most anticipated. Cleverly held the WBO light heavyweight title from 2011 until 2013, when he was soundly beaten by Sergey Kovalev.
In the co-feature, the WBA super flyweight belt will be on the line as Kohei Kono defends against Koki Kameda, marking the first time that a world title has been contested by two Japanese fighters on American soil. Kono (30-8-1, 13 KO) and Kameda (33-1, 18 KO) have both been inactive this year, each of them last appearing in the ring late in 2014.
Connor Ruebusch will have the round-by-round call tonight.
Andrzej Fonfara defeats Nathan Cleverly by Unanimous Decision (115-113, 116-112 x 2)
Kohei Kono defeats Koki Kameda by Unanimous Decision (115-109, 116-108, 113-111)
Andrzej Fonfara vs Nathan Cleverly
Round 1: Cleverly coming forward behind a snapping jab early. Fonfara immediately changes the tide and loops a few hooks around Cleverly's guard, both to head and body. Body shot from Cleverly, and there's a head-snapping jab, but Fonfara counters the next one with a vicious uppercut. Banging shots upstairs from Fonfara. Cleverly's already slowed down out of respect for Fonfara's powerful combinations. Good jab from Cleverly, and a partially-blocked uppercut in response from Andrzej. Cleverly works around Fonfara's guard with a few punches, and Fonfara does the same right back to him. They trade left hooks. Left hook again from Cleverly, and a left hook from Fonfara. 1-2 from Cleverly as Fonfara backs up, but Fonfara is on him with a triple jab. 10-9 Fonfara
Round 2: Fonfara tries to get cute with some head movement and Cleverly nails him with a few left hooks. Nice quick jabs from Cleverly and Fonfara backs up into the corner. Now it's Cleverly covering up, though, as Fonfara fires back with uppercuts and hooks. Fonfara pushing Cleverly back now, but Cleverly is really putting his punches together nicely. Right uppercut and right hook from the Welshman. Fonfara's got him against the ropes, but Cleverly slows his roll with another short right hand. Good right again from Cleverly, but Fonfara counters with a short left hook. Two hooks from Fonfara. Nasty body shot from the Polish fighter. Fonfara gets in a few nice uppercuts as we near the bell, but Cleverly isn't rattled. He ends the round with a clean left hook. 10-9 Cleverly, 19-19
Round 3: Fonfara starts with volume this time, keeping his long jab in Cleverly's face, but Nathan manages to sneak inside and work around his guard with a pair of left hooks, upstairs then down. Two hard right hands behind the ear from Fonfara. Solid combination from Fonfara there, landing two uppercuts and two left hooks. Now Cleverly's got Fonfara's back to the ropes, though, and he goes to work with a few uppercuts of his own. Fonfara swinging away now, and Cleverly eats an uppercut. There's another hard uppercut from Fonfara, and a short right after. Cleverly comes forward behind the jab again, but he's smothering himself in the pocket. There's a solid uppercut from Cleverly! Fonfara smiles and fires back, jabbing away and then ripping two hooks to Cleverly's ribcage. 10-9 Fonfara, 29-28
Round 4: Cleverly's hiding behind a tight guard as this round begins, and Fonfara walks into him with several uppercuts and left hooks. Cleverly's coming back now, but Fonfara catches everything on his gloves. Clean hook from Cleverly there as Fonfara tries to fire back. Fonfara's back on the ropes now, but Cleverly hesitates too long and the Pole stings him with a hook. Brutal left hooks from Fonfara, one punch to the body and the second to the jaw. Cleverly backs Fonfara up with a pair of jabs, but he hesitates again, and Fonfara steps into him before letting go with uppercuts. Short hook from Fonfara. Nice wide right from Cleverly, but he's stuck defending again as Fonfara strings his punches together. Three partially blocked short shots from Cleverly pop Fonfara's head back. They trade left hooks before the bell. 10-9 Fonfara, 39-37
Round 5: Again it's Fonfara getting off first, mixing jabs and left hooks. Cleverly throws a hook of his own, but it's more slap than punch. Cleverly taunting now, throwing bolo punches in the air. Fonfara gets him with a hard jab. Cleverly's jab is still active, but he's falling short now, perhaps hesitant to close the distance and face Fonfara's uppercuts. He does so there, and hits Fonfara with two uppercuts of his own. Fonfara slowing down here, maybe reacting to Cleverly's taunting. Cleverly shouting now as he batters Fonfara with three hooks and a short right. Fonfara smiles and tries to come back, but Cleverly is looking playful. Three good jabs from Cleverly. Hard hook from Fonfara. Cleverly defends, but two punches get through. Landing seems to have reignited Fonfara's confidence. Nice uppercut from Fonfara, and then a stiff jab before the bell. 10-9 Fonfara, 49-46
Round 6: They meet for some in-fighting and Cleverly gets off first with a pair of uppercuts. Fonfara coming forward behind the jab now as Cleverly retreats. Solid hook from Fonfara there, and Cleverly answers with a jab and a left hook after that backs Fonfara into the ropes, prompting another holler from the Welshman. Two slapping hooks from Cleverly. Fonfara fires back with five punches but Cleverly steps back and evades. Clean left hook from Cleverly there. Uppercut from Cleverly inside and he rolls nicely under two hooks from Andrzej. Fonfara charges out of the corner with a nice uppercut of his own, and rips a hard shot to the liver. Cleverly responds in kind but Fonfara catches the blow on his elbow. Double left hook from Cleverly--he lands the second. Both men trading left hooks to the body now. Fonfara coming on with big punches to end the round, but Cleverly slips and rolls away from the worst of it. 10-9 Cleverly, 58-56
Round 7: Jabs from both men now, but Cleverly's are the only ones landing. Fonfara just clips him with a counter right. Snapping jabs from Cleverly again, pushing Fonfara back. Cleverly gets around Fonfara's elbow with a hook to the body, and sneaks a pair of uppercuts through his gloves to find his chin. Double jab, right hand from Cleverly as Fonfara takes a step back with his hands down. Cleverly may be seizing the momentum here. Fonfara banging away with right hooks as Cleverly bobs and weaves right in front of him. He's doing a lot of defending all of the sudden, and Fonfara feels he has the edge. Cleverly taunts, but suddenly Cleverly's doing nothing but defending and his nose is pouring blood. Fonfara with a 1-2. Short right from Fonfara. Cleverly puts him against the ropes, but Fonfara finishes the round with a flurry of left hands. 10-9 Fonfara, 68-65
Round 8: Fonfara presses his advantage. Hard jabs through the guard of Cleverly. Southpaw now from Fonfara, but Cleverly scares him back to orthodox with a left hook. Cleverly landing lots of volume around Fonfara's guard--nothing hard, but lots of volume there. Fonfara with two solid left hooks. Body shot from Fonfara. And another. Left uppercut from Fonfara. Cleverly's having touble landing his jabs now, but he's still coming forward and throwing them. There's a nice 1-2 from Cleverly, but Fonfara answers with a nasty combo. Jabs set up a hard uppercut from the Polish fighter. Fonfara indulges his bad habit of taking turns, and just backs up as Cleverly comes on with a pair of hard punches. Crisp straight right from Cleverly, but Fonfara takes his turn now, and he smashes Cleverly's nose again with a hard uppercut. 10-9 Fonfara, 78-74
Round 9: It's Fonfara with the jabs to start this round. Cleverly covering up and egging him on. Snappy jab from Nathan, and that convinces Fonfara to back up, but back comes the Pole with a left hook. Another jab from Cleverly, followed by a showy combination that ends with a right hand, Fonfara's head snapping back as he pops up out of his guard. Cleverly coming forward and landing now. Right uppercut up the middle. Double left hook and another head-snapping right hand. Fonfara firing back but not landing as cleanly as he was earlier in the fight. Fonfara with a vicious body shot, and Cleverly counters with a hook to the head. Cleverly hangs out on the ropes, but Fonfara can't land anything, and Cleverly pops him with a short left hook before the bell. 10-9 Cleverly, 87-84 Fonfara
Round 10: Doctor checking Cleverly's battered nose, and the Welshman insists that it's fine. They resume fighting, and Fonfara's the one coming forward from the start. Cleverly tries to advance himself and Fonfara steps back to land a nice uppercut. Good combos from Cleverly now, not landing hard but landing all the same as Fonfara just puts his hands up and backs away. They trade jabs. And now left hooks. Fonfara's shots are definitely harder, and it's evident when both men land simultaneously. Straight shots from Fonfara. Cleverly plays with left hooks but Fonfara blocks and sticks him with a shotgun jab. Nasty liver shot from Fonfara. He smiles at Cleverly's response and backs him up with a trio of jabs, stalking him back to his corner after the bell sounds. 10-9 Fonfara, 97-93
Round 11: Cleverly tries to start fast, but Fonfara's that little bit faster, and he jabs to push the Welshman backward. Cleverly falling short on his jabs again, and Fonfara nails him with an uppercut followed by a hard left hook. Hard right hand down the center from Fonfara there. Cleverly's showing some nice defense as Fonfara comes on, but he can't counte with anything meaningful. Fonfara backs up, Cleverly comes forward, and Fonfara walks him into another hard right. Body jab from Fonfara. Cleverly just can't get off here in the penultimate round. Crisp jab from Cleverly, and a good sharp right hand shortly after. Not enough to win the round, though. 10-9 Fonfara, 107-102
Round 12: They trade hard hooks at the start of the final round. Fonfara trying to use some tricky footwork here, and he lands a left hook as he pivots around the Welshman. Body shot from Fonfara, and he headlocks Cleverly to force a referee break. Two good uppercuts from Cleverly, but Fonfara bangs him to the beltline in response. Fonfara lands a nice right hand and a good body shot as well. Cleverly tries to fire back but he misses wide, and now it's Fonfara swinging his arms and taunting his opponent. Good left hook from Clevelry, and another. Fonfara's the one who finishes strong, not landing much but sneaking in a pair of right hands while Cleverly covers up in the corner. 10-9 Fonfara, 117-111
Kohei Kono vs Koki Kameda
Round 1: Kameda landing early, first with a straight left upstairs and then a nice uppercut to the body. Flurry of punches from Kono there, getting in with a body shot, but Kameda backs him off with a few jabs. Decent body shot from Kono, but Kameda responds with a rapid-fire series of jabs. Neither man landing particularly often just yet. Triple left hand from Kameda, none of them landing. There's a good cross upstairs, though. Kono with another pair of body shots--so far he's only been able to get in on Kameda's ribcage. Good right hook from Kameda at the bell. 10-9 Kameda
Round 2: Kono comes out with lots of volume early, landing a few cuffing hooks around Kameda's gloves. Kameda responds with the straight left, but Kono is starting to swarm him now. Nothing particularly clean, but he's throwing nice volume. Four right hands in a row from Kono, all on the forehead but all landing more or less cleanly. Body shot from Kono. Kameda comes back with a body blow of his own. They exchange crosses. Kameda with an overhand, and Kono smothers him to prevent that from happening again. They trade uppercuts to the beltline. Referee gives Kono a hard warning for holding. Kono goes down, but it he's saying it was a low blow. He may have been hurt to the body before that, but it did look like Kameda was landing a little low with short punches in the clinch. Kono's getting some time to recover. Oh, big knockdown from Kono on a straight right hand, and that's the end of the round. 10-8 Kono, 19-18
Round 3: Kameda knocks Kono off balance with a hook, but Kono's right back in with hard body shots. More holding and hitting from Kameda there, some of them might've been low, and the referee takes a point. Odd fight so far! They're trading in the pocket now, both men landing to head and body. Kono throwing lots of volume now, slipping right hands through Kameda's guard. Kameda complaining about a head clash now, and he responds by hitting Kono low. Kono responding in kind with a low blow of his own--the ref didn't see that one. The referee takes another point from Kameda for low blows. Goodness, this is some mess. Kameda comes back with a body shot but Kono answers with one of his own and then a good straight right upstairs. Solid round, but the referee could stand to take a step back in the next round. 10-7 Kono, 29-25
Round 4: Kono starting with more volume, punching high and low with regularity. Kameda's looking a little tentative now, and that's the last thing he needs now. Couple of nice jabs there from Kono. Three short right hands from Kono. Good uppercut on the beltline, and then a hook. Kameda responds with a hard body blow of his own. And another. Kameda got in with some good jabs at the end there, but just didn't throw enough overall. 10-9 Kono, 39-34
Round 5: Pawing jabs from Kono, and Kameda gets in with a nice left hand. Solid 3-2 combination there from the challenger, but Kono answers with lots of body shots. Hard counter hook upstairs from Kameda. They trade uppercuts downstairs. Two solid, short hooks inside from Kameda. This is a much better round for the challenger so far. Kameda seems to be seeing Kono's body shots coming now, and he catches several on his elbows. Kameda coming forward now, with Kono retreating and jabbing somewhat ineffectively. Solid counter left hand from Kameda after slipping Kono's right. Short left hand right on the point of Kono's chin, and that was a great comeback round for the challenger. He'll need a lot more of those to overcome the point deductions and the knockdown. 10-9 Kameda, 48-44 Kono
Round 6: Some nice body shots to start from Kono. He's overwhelming Kameda with volume again, as Kameda looks for single counters. Two decent right hands from Kono. He doesn't seem to have much weight on his punches, but his volume is letting him land at a high rate. Kameda backed into the ropes now with Kono slinging awkward right hands around Kameda's gloves. Counter uppercut from Kameda there--that was nice. Kono hits Kameda on the belt--Kameda reacted as if it was low and the referee tells Kono to keep going. Low blow from Kameda now, and the referee tells them to continue once again. After a terribly officious start, the ref seems inclined to let them brawl now. There's a good short combo upstairs from Kameda, and a crisp cross to close the round. 10-9 Kono, 58-53
Round 7: Nice body shots from Kono there. The referee is . . . pausing the fight? He tells an official at ringside that he's "giving the fighters a little break." No idea what's going on. Referee brings both men to center ring and tells them that one more foul will end the fight. Kono doesn't seem to understand what he's talking about. Very strange goings-on here. Kameda gets a nice cross in there as the action resumes. Now Kono lands a solid uppercut. Kameda's volume falls off once again, and Kono jumps on him. Now . . . Kono is calling for time or something? What an odd fight so far! Kono fighting off the back foot once more, and he and Kameda trade uppercuts. Hard uppercut inside from Kameda, but Kono answers with a barrage of straight punches, landing a few shots around and through the high guard of Kameda. Kameda counters with a cross. They're slinging heavy leather as the round ends. Good work from Kono to throw so much. 10-9 Kono, 68-62
Round 8: Kameda circling nicely and pot shotting, landing with a nice uppercut. Kono comes right back, jabbing and then circling around Kameda with a trio of right hooks. Kono throws a half dozen more punches, landing with two uppercuts to the gut. Kameda getting aggressive now, and he lands a left uppercut followed by a nice, long straight left. They trade body shots. Punch to the beltline from Kono, Kameda blocking everything else nicely. Once again Kono seems to have shut Kameda's volume down with volume of his own. Kameda may have staggered a bit there when Kono landed a right hand, but he counters nicely after Kono follows up. Another solid right from Kono. 10-9 Kono, 78-71
Round 9: Kameda coming forward now. Kono pivots and sneaks in uppercuts nicely, but there Kameda got in with a solid short left as Kono stepped straight back. Kameda slips a cross from Kono and counters with one of his own. Okay, now the referee is taking a point from Kono for . . . holding? I have no clue. Two good body shots from Kono as they resume, and a hard counter cross from Kameda. Another cross from Kameda and that one seemed to stagger Kono. Kono missing big again, maybe tiring a bit, and Kameda counters with another quick, clean straight left. Kono coming on strong as we head into the final thirty seconds. He's slowing a bit, but he's not backing down. Kameda blocking nicely and countering with short punches of his own. 10-8 Kameda, 86-81 Kono
Round 10: Kameda lands the first hard shot of the round with a solid cross. Kono still throwing volume, but hitting mostly gloves now. Low blow from Kameda--fortunately no real intervention from the ref. Kameda sneaks in a short left inside Kono's wide right. Hook to the ribs from Kameda after blocking a combination from the champ. Kono goes back to the body but he's really slowing now, and Kameda gets in with a pair of hooks to the head. Vicious uppercut downstairs from Kono. Twenty seconds remaining in this round, and once again Kono starts piling up the volume. Not much getting through, but it's a nice show. 10-9 Kameda, 95-91 Kono
Round 11: Kameda closes the distance now, and he's punctuating Kono's wild flurries with short left hands upstairs. Good right hand from Kono that knocks Kameda into the ropes, but Kameda comes back with a hard left hand of his own that backs Kono off. Kono falls right into a left hand from Kameda there, but he's slinging right hand after right hand around Kameda's guard, and Kameda has to cover up and make himself a target. Kameda might be tiring now too, as Kono lays on the back of his head and drags him to the canvas. Now Kameda's starting to hold, and Kono sneaks in a hook to the ribs followed by a snappy uppercut to the nose of Kameda. There's another hard right from Kono. He starts to flurry and Kameda counters with a quality right hook. Razor-thin round, but I'm going 10-9 Kono, 105-100
Round 12: They're trading in the pocket here, but it's Kono who has more willpower, and Kameda backs off while taking fire. As Kono keeps coming, however, Kameda stings him with three short left hands to the jawline. Kono with a body shot, and Kameda responds with one of his own. Kono lands a nasty straight right that compels Kameda to cover up and hold on. Kameda's coming forward desperately now, but Kono just seems to have more energy as we enter the final minute of this fight. Five punches in a row from Kono, landing twice to the body. Kameda counters an uppercut with a clean straight left. There's a counter hook as well, and a body shot in the clinch. Kameda marches forward and lands a left, but Kono flurries away and lands a few decent shots of his own. 10-9 Kono, 115-109