Adonis Stevenson told anyone who would listen that an injured left hand was the only reason he didn’t knock out Andrzej Fonfara in their first title fight three years ago.
While Adonis Stevenson is out to prove that he’s still at the top of his game, Andrzej Fonfara is looking to show that he can take that last giant step to reach the top.
Prior to Saturday night, Andrzej Fonfara appeared well on his way to a lucrative rematch with 175-pound champion Adonis Stevenson. All that stood in his way was Joe Smith Jr., a 26-year-old from Long Island, New York, who was a construction worker by day and had never set foot in a ring against anyone the caliber of Fonfara.
Joe Smith Jr. watched video of Andrzej Fonfara’s come-from-behind unanimous decision over former champion Nathan Cleverly in October. Which means Smith saw Fonfara set 175-pound records for punches attempted (1,413) and landed (474), all while absorbing Cleverly’s 462 landed shots, which ranked second all time.
Andrzej Fonfara returns to the ring Saturday a little more than a month in advance of the anticipated arrival of his first child—a life-changing event that has placed an added premium on victory.
Following his record-setting, all-out war against Nathan Cleverly in mid-October, Andrzej Fonfara looked like he’d need at least year of recovery time before getting back in the ring. Turns out the 175-pound contender is a pretty fast healer.