Monday, November 3, 2014

What’s Next For Andrzej Fonfara Following Decision Win Over Ngumbu

The road back to a shot at a world title for Light-Heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara began against Doudou Ngumbu on November 1st at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. Fonfara entered this fight looking to rebound after dropping a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision to current WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Adonis Stevenson in May of this year. In facing Doudou Ngumbu Fonfara faced a fighter who was somewhat an enigma and was not well known in the United States, despite having fought thirty-eight professional fights prior to his encounter with Fonfara.

Although he was not well known prior to the fight Ngumbu, who was fighting for the first time in the United States showed that he came to fight. Ngumbu’s awkwardness in using his lateral movement and ability to throw and land punches at odd angles seemed to give Fonfara difficulty periodically throughout this fight. The first four rounds in particular were an example of “Swing Rounds” where there was likely a difference of opinion as to who won those rounds. Although Ngumbu was aggressive throughout much of this fight, Fonfara landed the cleaner more effective punches. Ngumbu’s activity however, made this fight very competitive.

What impressed me about Ngumbu was his ability to land consistently on Fonfara, despite throwing often wide punches and in particular how he was able to have success throughout this fight with his right hand. Even though Ngumbu was successful in landing looping punches and was able to periodically mix in combinations, the punches did not seem to have much an effect on Fonfara and it was clear as the fight progressed that Fonfara had the edge in punching power.

In the fifth round Fonfara connected with a left hook that staggered Ngumbu and sent him back to the ropes. Although Ngumbu appeared hurt he was able to survive the round. Fonfara’s ability to be patient and pick his spots as well as landing the cleaner, harder punches was the story of this fight as he would go on to win a hard fought ten round unanimous decision.

 Even though Ngumbu would remain aggressive throughout the contest and continue to land punches, he simply does not have the power in his punches that could have turned this fight in his favor and ultimately I believe that was what cost him the decision. It was however, an impressive performance by a fighter in Ngumbu who although not being well known prior to this fight gave a good account himself. Despite suffering a loss in this fight, the “Game” effort Ngumbu showed in defeat could lead to another opportunity for him against a top contender down the line.

As for Andrzej Fonfara, there might be some who may have believed that coming off an impressive performance against Adonis Stevenson earlier this year that he needed to look impressive in his first fight since that loss and might have needed to turn in the kind of performance that turns heads and generates interest if the goal could be a potential rematch with Stevenson down the line. This observer believes that Fonfara was impressive even though he was taken to the distance by a fighter who was not well known.

Fonfara was pushed in this fight by a fighter who was looking to establish himself and turned in a performance that was impressive. Fonfara faced a fighter  in Ngumbu who was awkward, threw punches at odd angles, and was consistently aggressive throughout. Fonfara showed his patience and was more effective with his offense, despite his opponent’s aggression. The win will certainly keep Fonfara in the discussion of the top Light-Heavyweight contenders who could be in line for a title shot in the near future.

As for what is next for Fonfara, all the attention with regard to the Light-Heavyweight division will now focus on the unification bout between IBF/WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion Bernard Hopkins and undefeated WBO champion Sergey Kovalev, which will take place on Saturday night in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is unclear what could be in store for the winner of that fight as WBC champion Adonis Stevenson could potentially face the winner of that fight next year to determine an undisputed Light-Heavyweight world champion.

The Light-Heavyweight division however, will have a few interesting fights still to come this year in addition to the Hopkins-Kovalev unification bout. It was recently announced that former WBC Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal will face contender Donovan George on December 6th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. On the same card, former IBF Super-Middleweight champion Lucian Bute will face former world title challenger Roberto Bolonti.

What makes this significant is both Bute and Pascal are ranked above Fonfara currently in the World Boxing Council (WBC) rankings. Bute is rated just above the number six rated Fonfara as the WBCs number five rated contender while Pascal is currently rated the WBC number one contender in the Light-Heavyweight division. It is also worth noting that before Adonis Stevenson can set his sights on a potential undisputed championship fight with the winner of this weekend’s Hopkins- Kovalev bout, he will defend his title on December 19th against current WBC number seven rated contender Dmitry Sukhotsky.

This would appear to leave Andrzej Fonfara out of the equation of potential title shots at least in terms of the immediate future, but depending on what happens in Montreal on December 6th when Bute faces Blonti and Pascal faces George, a potential opponent could emerge out of that card for Fonfara to face while the Light-Heavyweight division appears to be moving towards full unification. For now with a victory over Doudou Ngumbu added to his record, Andrzej Fonfara will simply have to wait and see what options could be available to him as 2015 approaches.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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