Karpency picks Clev to beat Fonfara in ‘highly competitive’ clash

Karpency picks Clev to beat Fonfara in ‘highly competitive’ clash

Two-time world title challenger Tommy Karpency (25-4-1, 14KO) knows more about Nathan Cleverly (29-2, 15KO) and Andrzei Fonfara (27-3, 16KO) than most and expects the Welshman to prevail when his former opponents meet.

Cefn Fforest’s light-heavyweight Cleverly and Fonfara, who Karpency fought over a course of 19 rounds in 2012, will fight in October at an American location yet to be announced.

Analysing the match-up, Karpency said: “Both guys are [going to be] in great shape. I like Cleverly [to win] in a highly competitive, close decision but Fonfara has some good power that could change that.”

In February 2012, Cleverly returned to fight in Cardiff for the first time in four years and Karpency was selected as the challenger to the Welshman’s then WBO world title. Many observers criticised the calibre of Karpency, claiming the contest was a mismatch and they were proved right.

Like Cleverly the American was trained by his father and from a traditionally mining region but hadn’t fought for a year and was best remembered for losing to another Cleverly beaten opponent, Karo Murat.

Cleverly dominated every minute and forced a reluctant Karpency, priced as a 40/1 underdog by the bookmakers, in to his shell to take an uneventful shut-out decision win. In Karpency’s next fight, the southpaw travelled to Chicago to face Fonfara in the Pole’s adopted hometown.

After a disastrous start that included two trips to the canvas in the opening round, Karpency battled back and turned the tables by the halfway mark. Ahead of two of the judge’s scorecards, Karpency’s comeback was ended by a Fonfara headlock that caused him to fall to the floor and seriously injure his shoulder.

He was unable to continue and the referee ruled the situation a Technical Knockout in Fonfara’s favour and Karpency, handled by the experienced manager Pat Nelson, was denied his biggest win.

Comparing the contests, Karpency said: “Both fights were great learning experiences. Cleverly made me a better fighter for Fonfara and Fonfara made me better for future fights. “Fonfara is a stronger puncher and sticks very close to his game plan. Cleverly is a little faster and looser, he’ll take some chances and try to be creative.”

Following the back-to-back defeats, Karpency had a 14 month break from boxing, which provided a must needed rest and allowed full rehabilitation of his injury. The 29-year-old returned by avenging a loss to Rayco Saunders and upsetting former Lineal champion Chad Dawson, despite accepting the contest on less than three weeks notice.

Now the Pennsylvania resident will yet again be a massive underdog when he challenges Canada’s huge-hitting Adonis Stevenson (26-1, 21KO) for the WBC world title on 11 September. If Karpency manages one of modern boxing’s biggest upsets, it would make logical sense for him to defend the belt in a rematch against the winner of Cleverly vs Fonfara but he’s remained tight-lipped and refused to consider the option, yet.

In conclusion, he said: “I take my career one fight at a time. I’m only focused on Stevenson now.”

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