Cleverly Sees Fonfara Fight As Opportunity To Return To Big League

The former WBO light-heavyweight champion feels that a win on Friday would be the biggest of his career


Cleverly is back at 175lbs once again when he squares off against the Chicago-based Pole, who is defending the WBC International title he won with a ninth round stoppage against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in California last April.

Both men told yesterday’s press conference that they expect the toughest fight of their careers, with the winner of the bout in pole position to move onto fight for World honours – and Cleverly reiterated his desire to return to the top of the pile in the division having landed the WBO World title in 2010 and successfully defending it five times.

“I believe that this is the right move and the right fight for me,” said Cleverly. “There were other options on the table, but I chose to come to America to face Fonfara.

I think that this is a great opportunity for me – if I can beat Fonfara we are in the big league then, so this is the most important night of my career. I belong at Light Heavyweight, I feel good and confident and I expect to win.

“Fonfara is young, fresh, he has the momentum from his win over Chavez Jr, and he pushed Adonis Stevenson all the way, so I know that it’s tough but I am ready for it.

He has a good resume and he’s done well against some good fighters, but if the best of me turns up on Friday night and I am firing on all cylinders, I think I have too much for him. I am under no illusions that it is a tough fight, but I think that I have too much.

“I’m relatively young in boxing terms, but I have no goals beyond beating Fonfara. My vision is on him only because this is a really big fight, an acid test.

“Fonfara is in his hometown and he’s the favourite – I can understand that, but it’s good, it takes the pressure off, I don’t have to sell this fight to the media or do extra stuff like I would if it had been in Cardiff, I am just focussed on executing the plan that we believe will get the win.”

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