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Nathan Cleverly is in too deep against Andrzej Fonfara

14 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Nathan Cleverly is in too deep against Andrzej Fonfara

The Welshman is back at light heavyweight and attempting to regain world champion status, but his Polish opponent is likely to be too much, too soon

The light-heavyweight division currently boasts two of the most revered fighters in boxing.

Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson have dominated the weight class for a significant period and currently share the the relevant title belts between them.

But Welshman Nathan Cleverly and the experienced Andrjez Fonfara fight in Chicago this weekend looking to put themselves in pole position to shake up the duo’s dominance.

After winning the WBO light heavyweight title in 2011, ex-champion Cleverly was emphatically dethroned by Kovalev in 2013.

And, after losing to fellow Brit Tony Bellew in their domestic grudge match in December, he has decided to return to his favoured weight.

The 28-year-old seems in a rush to get back to the top level.

Having only fought once since that loss to Bellew, he now takes on the much-improved Fonfara.

Indeed, the size of the task has been acknowledged by the bookies, who have Cleverly as a 7/4 outsider.

WBC International champion Fonfara has been possessed since losing to Adonis Stevenson last year.

Currently ranked third in the rankings, the fighting pride of Poland is coming off a career-best performance against the extremely well-thought-of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, who was tipped to fight Carl Froch had he not been shown up by Fonfara.

The 27-year-old’s superb form makes him a 4/9 favourite to retain his title.

Nevertheless, it looks to be a very close matchup.

Cleverly will enter the fight as the more experienced man, having defended his world title four times when he won it back in 2011.

Undoubtedly, he is significantly more comfortable at light heavyweight and his extremely poor showing against Bellew at cruiserweight shouldn’t have too much of a bearing.

He will expect Cleverly to exercise the speed and skills he showed previously and he will rely on his boxing ability against the durable Fonfara, who lasted 12 rounds with the huge-hitting Stevenson.

Cleverly will need to start extremely quickly and rack up at least the first three to four rounds to have a chance.

If he can be first with his jab, he could just nick this one.

But Fonfara must be feeling extremely confident.

The only man of late to have beaten the Pole is Stevenson, who is almost the complete opposite to Cleverly in terms of style.

The latter isn’t a big puncher and has just a 48 per cent KO ratio.

Fonfara, in contrast, has won by KO in 12 of his last 15 wins. He was able to stop Chavez and can do the same to Cleverly.

It would perhaps be expected that, if the fight goes 12 rounds, then Cleverly’s speed and slick jab would prevail.

However, having only fought a journeyman since his loss to Bellew, Fonfara should be far more battle-ready in the later rounds.

The early ones will likely go to the Brit, but from the sixth onwards the Polish could use his size to dominate.

‘Clev’ does have a great chin, though, so a Fonfara points win would not be a surprise.

Andrzej Fonfara – Nathan Cleverly

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