Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Fonfara Carving Out His Position, Targets 175 Elite

By Thomas Gerbasi

Nearly six years ago, a teenager named Andrzej Fonfara arrived in the United States with several of his peers, talented former amateur boxers seeking greater glory in the pro ranks.

They left. He stayed, just 18 and a stranger in a strange land. But he knew from the moment he set foot in Chicago that this was the place for him.

“The first day I came to the United States, I thought I’d stay here, and after the first fight, I was sure I’d stay,” said Fonfara. “I met Sam Colonna, he’s my trainer now, and I like Chicago. I have my family here now, my girlfriend, friends, and I’m okay with that.”

Now 24, Fonfara hasn’t just acclimated to his new country and new language, but he’s gone from a gangly 6-foot-2 welterweight with raw talent and a lot to learn into a legit light heavyweight threat coming off a July win over Glen Johnson.

And Fonfara is still raw in some aspects of his game, but the potential is there, as evidenced by his second consecutive win over a former world champion this year. The first, a third round stoppage of Byron Mitchell, showed off his power and tough to match physical gifts. The win over Johnson displayed some of the still-learning Fonfara’s poise and ability to match wits and fists with someone who has forgotten more about the sweet science than most know.

“He had a lot of experience and better conditioning,” said Fonfara, who won a closely-contested but unanimous decision over The Road Warrior. “He also had a good chin because I threw a couple of good hard punches at him and he still moved and boxed. He gave me a lot of experience too in going ten rounds.”

That experience has also led to more confidence. As he approaches a November 16 IBO world light heavyweight bout with former world title challenger Tommy Karpency, he is feeling more strongly than ever that he’s ready for the next step in his career.

“I’m ready for a fight for the title with all the guys in the light heavyweight division, and fighting Glen Johnson I proved that I’m ready for a championship fight and for better fighters,” said Fonfara, whose second round TKO loss to Derrick Findley at super middleweight in 2008 was the first sign that it was time for him to move up to 175 pounds. That move didn’t come until 2010 though, one preceded by a win over Skyler Thompson that was overturned due to a positive post-fight test for steroids. 

Once at 175 and not forcing himself to cut upwards of 20 pounds to make super middleweight, Fonfara began to mature and find a home in his new weight class.

“The light heavyweight division is my home and I feel very good,” he said. “Today I’m 185-187, but I feel good if I go ten pounds down because I’m a little bit faster, and I think this is my division now.”

Since the move, Fonfara is 10-0, with only Johnson making it the full distance. He’s also become a genuine attraction in his adopted hometown. The local Polish community has come out in droves to see him fight at the UIC Pavilion, a fitting a backdrop as any for his first ever world title fight when he will fight Karpency next Friday.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said of his local following, one that may someday rival countryman Tomasz Adamek’s dedicated fanbase in New Jersey. “Fight after fight I have more fans. Before for my fights, maybe 50 people came. Now it’s a thousand, two-three thousand, and last time even four thousand. Fight after fight I have more fans, and I’m happy about that.”

He’s not alone here either, as his family has relocated from Warsaw to the Windy City to be with their rising star.

“I came here at 18 years old, but I have family who help me,” said Fonfara. “My brother, my girlfriend, my parents, and my friends help me to be a good boxer and a good person. And I’m trying my best. Every day I think about boxing, I train hard, and now I’m training much harder.”

The results have been evident. But against Karpency, the stakes are higher than ever, because if he can be the first man to stop the Pennsylvania southpaw, something current WBO light heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly couldn’t do, it would certainly give the number eight ranked Fonfara a good case for a shot at the Welshman’s belt.

“I think about that and it is my goal,” he said. “I want to knock out Karpency and show Cleverly I can beat him faster than he did. Then maybe someday we’ll fight for his belt.”

Fonfara isn’t looking past his foe though.

“He’s a southpaw and he has a good chin because nobody has ever knocked him out,” he said of Karpency, who was shutout by the unbeaten Cleverly in February. “Cleverly didn’t knock him out, and Karo Murat – he’s a good fighter from Germany - he beat him (Karpency) but he couldn’t knock him out. So he’s still dangerous every round and he has good conditioning. I’m okay with lefties and I think it’s a good fight for me. He’s young too and he wants to win the fight, so this is going to be a great fight.”

If he goes 3-0 for 2012 with wins over two former champs and a former world title challenger, it would be almost impossible to ignore the affable Fonfara, a young man who knows that it’s not just about winning these days, but how you win.

“I’m going to go to the ring to beat this guy and show that I’m the best in the world, and for sure, people will see a lot of good, solid boxing.”

Tags: Andrzej Fonfara image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by ddangerous on 11-02-2012

Like I posted in another thread: Fonfara has a pencil neck. I'm curious to see how he holds up in this division.

Comment by b morph on 11-02-2012

[QUOTE=nycsmooth;12659714]if he had fought the Glen of even 5 yrs ago he would not have seen the 10th...[/QUOTE] well yea no ****, johnson fought the who's who at 168, i actually saw him fight fonfara last summer at the UIC...he…

Comment by nycsmooth on 11-02-2012

if he had fought the Glen of even 5 yrs ago he would not have seen the 10th...

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
Top Headlines Frank Warren Wins Damages Against Chris Eubank Jr. Top Rank VP: We'd Love Lomachenko-Salido II As Soon as Possible Butler-Hall II, Davies-Farrell, Fielding-Brophy on September 30 Greorge Groves vs. Jamie Cox on October 14 in London, WBSS McGregor: I Can Fight in Many Stances, Mayweather Has One Heiland: I Don't Feel Like The Underdog With Charlo, I'm Confident Broner: I Bet They Won't Bet Against Me Again After This Fight! Randy Couture: Mayweather Will NOT Knock McGregor Out Mike Tyson Says Molestation Incident Was a Motivator To Box Frampton: Selby is a Natural Fight To Make, The Timing is Right Haye: Before You Criticize Parker, Take a Good Look at Joshua! Abel Sanchez on What McGregor Must Do To Beat Mayweather Enrico Koelling Helping Erik Skoglund Prepare For Callum Smith Maybe there are worse things in boxing than Mayweather-McGregor Mayweather Vows: This Fight Won't Be Dull - It's Kill or Be Killed! Carlos Molina Hits Santo Domingo For Carlos Adames Clash Eddie Alvarez: McGregor Has Very Real Shot To KO Floyd Early Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Plans October Return, Eyes Martin Murray Cortez: McGregor a Very Powerful Puncher, Has Great Potential Amanda Serrano is Latest To Consider a Jump To MMA McGregor: Conditioning is Not an Issue Against Mayweather Jessie Magdaleno vs. Cesar Juarez Clash is Close For October Holyfield: Joshua Must Think About His Image, Forget Tyson Fury Kyoguchi Wins IBF World Title: Ryoichi Taguchi, Kono Get KO Wins Eubank Sr: James DeGale is "Suspect" For Not Entering WBSS Omar Figueroa: Mayweather-McGregor a Joke, Slap in The Face Garcia Open to Staying at 140, Moving Up to 147 After Broner Charlo: Jacobs Exploited Golovkin's Flaws, Better Than Canelo Daily Bread Mailbag: Mayweather-McGregor, Ward-Stevenson Frank Warren on Haye-Ringstar TV Deal, Signings in The UK Aloyan Gets WBC Belt in Second Pro Fight, Fedor Chudinov Wins Wilder's Manager Concerned That Stiverne Missed His Drug Test Mayweather: I Can't Move Like I Did Before, I'm Going Toe To Toe! Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson: Roots of a Success Story Jhonny Gonzalez Blasts Rosales in Two, Wants Miguel Berchelt Deontay Wilder's Manager: It Makes Sense To Fight Luis Ortiz! Miguel Berchelt Wants To Fight Again in 2017, Not Rushing Return Jose Pedraza vs. Mickey Bey in Talks For August 22, Las Vegas Gilberto Ramirez: I Won't Let Jesse Hart Run, I Want Him To Fight Malignaggi: McGregor Can Exploit Things, Have His Moments
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement