By Ian S Palmer
Light heavyweights Andrzej Fonfara of Poland and Joe Smith Jr. of Long Island, New York will meet this Saturday, June 18th at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. The 10-round bout is another Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) production and can be seen live in the U.S. and Canada on the NBC network. Fans in the UK can catch the action live on BoxNation. Fonfara last fought back in October in Chicago when he beat former titleholder Nathan Cleverly by a 12-round unanimous decision in an exciting bout. Smith’s last outing came in April when he beat Fabiano Pena by a second-round TKO.
The 28-year-old Fonfara, who now fights out of Chicago, will climb through the ring ropes with a record of 28-3 along with 16 Kos. He’s 9-1 in his last 10 outings with just one defeat in the past seven years. He stands just over 6-feet-2-inches tall with a reach of 77 inches. His lone defeat in his past 10 bouts was at the hands of WBC Champion Adonis Stevenson in Montreal, Canada where he lost a spirited unanimous decision in May of 2014. He looked very impressive in April of last year when he stopped Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the round. Fonfara forced Chavez Jr to quit in his corner after the ninth round and is still hoping for a rematch against Stevenson.
Fonfara’s other losses were by second-round TKO to Derrick Findley in 2008 as a middleweight and to Eberto Medina by five-round unanimous decision in 2006. Fonfara isn’t really a slugger, but has pretty good power. He isn’t afraid to brawl even though his chin isn’t the most solid at light heavyweight. He can take a good shot though and has proved to be a tough customer to deal with. Fonfara owns a knockout percentage of 50 per cent and has 160 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 2006. His biggest wins were over Chavez and Cleverly and he’s also beaten the likes of Gabriel Campillo, Tommy Karpency, Glen Johnson, Byron Mitchell, Anthony Russell and Samuel Miller.
The 26-year-old Smith has an impressive record also at 21-1 with 17 Kos to his name and has won 15 bouts in a row. He’s giving up the height advantage to Fonfara as he’s just 6-feet-tall and his reach is unlisted. His lone loss came to Eddie Caminero in 2010 in Smith’s seventh pro outing. Smith isn’t a big-name opponent, but he’s beaten the likes of Otis Griffin, Michael Gbenga, Tyrell Hendrix, Cory Cummings, and Will Rosinsky. Smith turned pro back in 2009 and has fought 72 rounds since then. He’s got pretty good power with his current knockout ratio being 77 per cent.
Fonfara would rather be boxing against bigger-name opponents as he’s still waiting for a deserved rematch with Adonis Stevenson, who doesn’t seem to want anything to do with the Polish native. Fonfara can’t afford to take the hard-hitting Smith lightly and needs to use his height advantage in this bout. As long as Fonfara can take Smith’s biggest shots and consistently land his own he should win this bout by decision or late stoppage.