Welshman Nathan Cleverly (29-2, 15 KO’s) still believes he can make a run at a light-heavyweight world title after a brief foray up in the cruiserweight division.
On October 16th he will travel to the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois for a 12-rounder against Andrezj Fonfara (27-3, 16 KO’s), the man who handed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr the first stoppage loss of his career this past April.
The WBC’s International belt will go to the winner and consequently a lofty spot in their world rankings.
With a proposed match with WBA champion Juergen Braehmer apparently stalling, a win here would bring Cleverly one step closer to the WBC champion Adonis Stevenson.
In an interview with World Boxing News, he sounded enthusiastic for the challenge ahead.
“This is a major platform for me to prove that I am more than capable of becoming World Champion again.”
Fonfara himself has already been in against Stevenson and despite taking some heavy fire early on, he gamely hung on to drop the champion in the ninth round, though, he still lost the unanimous decision verdict.
This will be Cleverly’s first competitive outing after sliding back down from cruiserweight, and he realises this will be no walk-over. The Polish-born Fonfara will be on home court in Chicago in front of a huge partisan crowd; he will fancy his chances of coming out on top against a name like Cleverly.
Whether he views fighting away as a necessary evil or a sign of his slipping status, Cleverly says he is looking forward to the trip and that he is focused on putting up a good performance.
“If I beat Fonfara it’s a doorway fight to the world title and establishing myself as one of the best light-heavyweights once again. Fonfara is a good fighter. He’s tall, has power and has moved up through the levels in his career. I am looking forward to coming over to Chicago, and I am very confident that our styles will blend well for a really exciting fight.”
This is the perfect gauge to test Cleverly’s durability back at his preferred weight of 175 lbs. He looked very sturdy up until he was taken apart by Sergey Kovalev in 2013, and this fight will show us whether that was a sign of The Krusher’s power only, or if he has lost some punch resistance since.