PBC returned to Spike TV tonight and the Chicago crowd was treated to a pair of Fight of the Year contenders.
In the main event, Andrzej Fonfara had a tougher-than-expected battle with Nathan Cleverly. Cleverly boxed very, well . . . cleverly early on in the fight, using a machine-gun jab and a tricky array of circular punches in close to circumvent Fonfara's customary high guard. As the bout wore on, however, Fonfara's power started to show, particularly evident in a seventh round that saw Cleverly go from smart boxer to desperate defender in the blink of an eye as Fonfara smashed his nose with a hard uppercut. Cleverly wasn't keen to give up, but Fonfara stymied his comeback attempts in the later rounds with sharp combinations and steadily increasing volume.
It ended up being a promising performance for Cleverly, whose future was in doubt following a pair of losses to Tony Bellew and Sergei Kovalev. Fonfara, however, reasserted himself as a top light heavyweight, staking his claim to a rematch with Adonis Stevenson in the process.
Andrzej Fonfara defeats Nathan Cleverly by Unanimous Decision (115-113, 116-112 x 2)
Bad Left Hook scored it 117-111 for Andrzej Fonfara.
The co-feature was a thrilling back-and-forth brawl between super flyweights Kohei Kono and Koki Kameda. Unfortunately the battle was badly marred by referee Celestino Ruiz, who made it his mission to constantly interrupt the action with several unwarranted warnings and point deductions. The fight was shaping up to be a rough and tumble affair, for certain, but Ruiz only made things worse by deducting two points from Kameda in just the third round of the bout for low blows. In round 9 he decided to even things up by taking a point from Kono for . . . holding, maybe? It was hard to tell. Officiating aside, Kameda and Kono went toe-to-toe for all twelve rounds, with Kono's superior volume and relentless body assault ultimately earning him the decision in a close fight--the closeness of which is not at all reflected by the cards.
Kohei Kono defeats Koki Kameda by Unanimous Decision (115-109, 116-108, 113-111)
Bad Left Hook scored the fight for Kohei Kono, 115-109