Cleverly keen for rematch of Fonfara classic

Cleverly keen for rematch of Fonfara classic

There won’t be many boxers who are keen to go toe-to-toe with Polish puncher Andrzej Fonfara (28-3, 16KO) in the future but Cefn Fforest’s Nathan Cleverly (29-3, 15KO) wants to do it all over again after their classic war on Friday.

Fonfara prevailed from their 12 rounder, which smashed records for the number of punches thrown in a light-heavyweight bout, as a deserved victor but the bloody clash was a close and competitive enough contest to warrant calls from Cleverly for a rematch.

Speaking in the changing room moments before a visit to the hospital, Cleverly said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if they want to see a rematch, I do. It was a fantastic fight. I think they’d pay a lot of money to get it again. Obviously, if it [the offer] is right, we’ll consider doing it again. I’d like to and I’d come back here if I had to.

“There should be demand for it. The public like a fight, a toe-to-toe scrap from time to time. Sometimes you get a blend of styles… mine and Fonfara’s blended nicely for a battle, an absolute war. Some fights that happens, some times it doesn’t. You can move about, just box and move but this was stand and trade, let your hands go.”

Cleverly was ahead on two of the three judge’s scorecards at the halfway stage but a disastrous seventh round at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago saw him suffer a severely broken nose and haematoma to his left ear, making the remaining five rounds an uphill battle for the former WBO world champion but he never thought of quitting.

The 28-year-old said: “I enjoyed it. I’m a warrior and a Welsh dragon. No way was I going to give up, ever. Broken nose? I’m going until the end. I’ll fight until the end. Unfortunately the broken nose let me down and it happened as I was starting to feel comfortable.

“It affected me. The nose started bleeding badly and it upset my rhythm. He smelt blood then and went for the kill. Honestly, I thought I’d start taking over in the second half [of the fight] but I had the horrific nose injury and then my ear. It affected me badly.”

Despite being understandably devastated about the Unanimous Decision loss on the Premier Boxing Champions [PBC] show televised by stateside broadcaster Spike TV, a classy Cleverly praised Fonfara, who is recognised by many as the third best light-heavyweight in the world.

He said: “He was a tough b******, fair play to him. He hits hard, very hard. I’d say his power is a fraction, a shade off [Sergey] Kovalev [who burst on to the scene by stopping Cleverly in four rounds in 2013].

“He does the distance well. He’s a very fit guy, I didn’t expect that from him. I thought I’d take over but the broken nose let me down, I swear.

“Overall, it was a great fight. He’s a tough warrior, it was a fantastic battle. That’s what boxing should be all about.”

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