Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
CHICAGO (Nov. 1, 2014) – Hometown favoriteAndrzej “The Polish Prince” Fonfara won a hard-fought unanimous decision victory overDoudou Ngumbu in the main event of aSHOWTIME BOXING: Special Edition on Saturday from UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Ngumbu came out with a surprisingly aggressive approach, throwing looping, wild shots that kept Fonfara off-balance but rarely landed. To the delight of his large Polish fan base in attendance, Fonfara landed a huge right shot that dazed Ngumbu in the fifth, forcing him to clinch just to hold on and escape the round. Ngumbu was in trouble against the ropes with shaky legs, but Fonfara, who claimed he injured his right hand in the fourth round, stepped off the gas and didn’t do enough to finish his opponent.
Fonfara (26-3, 15 KOs) continued to wear down Ngumbu in the second half of the fight with body shots and while Ngumbu (33-6, 12 KOs) seemed to land more punches in the latter rounds, Fonfara’s shots inflicted more damage.
“He came ready, he came here looking for a win,” Fonfara said. “He had some good punches. I knew he could counter when I landed with a right, so I had to be a bit careful in there. But a win is a win. It was a hard fight for me, but it was good to bounce back from a loss and get a win for my fans.
“I wanted to finish him in the fifth, but I had to be careful that he didn’t catch me with a counterpunch.”
Fonfara, who was looking to bounce back from a close loss to WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson, was a heavy favorite against Ngumbu, who fought about just as well as he could.
“Fonfara’s strengths were on display as well as his weaknesses,” said SHOWTIME analystSteve Farhood. His strengths were his straight punches, toughness and some wicked left hooks to the body. But his weaknesses were his lack of head movement and the fact that he stood straight up and got hit too much. But he remains a very entertaining light heavyweight.”
Fonfara hopes the win moves him one step closer to a rematch with Stevenson.
“I think about Stevenson every day,” Fonfara said. “I think I need one more fight before I get a rematch with him. My defense was better in this fight, but I need to throw more punches and combos to become a complete fighter.”
Ngumbu, who was making his U.S. debut, thought he did enough to pull out the victory.
“I accept the decision, but I’m not happy with it,” Ngumbu said. “I feel like I should have won.”
Tomoki Kameda defended his WBO Bantamweight World Championship and kept his undefeated record intact with a split-decision victory over Alejandro Hernandez, scored 115-113 Hernandez and 115-113 Kameda twice, in a fight that was seemingly wider than the judges’ scores indicated.
Kameda (31-0, 19 KOs) outworked Hernandez from the opening bell, contesting the fight in close quarters and pocketing rounds in the first half of the fight. His strength and speed was the difference, with Hernandez unable to land any meaningful punches against the champ. The rugged veteran was surviving, but Kameda held a massive advantage in power shots landed at the midway point of the championship bout.
Kameda was cut sometime after the seventh round, the first cut of his career, and altered his fighting style in the eighth, reverting to a more cautious approach. Hernandez (28-11-2, 15 KOs) seemed to win a few of the latter rounds, but not enough to justify the 115-113 scorecard in the split-decision.
“I was surprised by the judges’ scorecards,” said Kameda, who made third successful defense of the 118-pound crown. “I thought I won by unanimous decision. He’s a good fighter and he’s experienced, but I thought it was clear that I won.
“I can’t remember what round the cut happened, but it was the first time I was cut in my career and it was a good learning experience.
“I’m going to talk to my team but we’re hoping for a unification fight with [Jamie] McDonnell
Hernandez thought he deserved the decision and appealed for a rematch after the fight.
“I feel I was the winner,” Hernandez said. “I want the rematch. I feel the decision was not accurate. My fans are probably thinking the same. This loss doesn’t bring me down, it motivates me to train harder and get back out there.
“I thought this was going to be a tougher fight. He was not the kind of fighter I thought he was going to be. I could feel his lack of confidence. He was nervous and I took advantage of that. He threw some power punches, but he didn’t hurt me. Look at me -I’m not hurt. Look at him. Look at his face. Look at his eye. He was in trouble.”
In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated super featherweight contender Javier Fortunascored a one-punch fifth round knockout of Abner Cotto in a dirty, foul-filled affair.
Both fighters were deducted points – Cotto for low blows and punching to the back of the head and Fortuna for punching after the bell. The first penalty was in the second, where Cotto threw two punches to the back of Fortuna’s head which the referee called a knockdown but simultaneously deducted a point against Cotto (18-3, 8 KOs), who was then penalized for low blows in the fourth.
The former interim WBA Featherweight World Champion reacted to some taunting from Cotto with a punch after the bell in the fourth and was deducted a point even though the punch didn’t land and Cotto appeared to flop to the canvas.
Fortuna (26-0-1, 19 KOs) came out blazing in the fifth and the southpaw dropped Cotto with a solid straight left at 1:32. The Puerto Rican, a second cousin of future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto, couldn’t beat the count.
“He was a dirty fighter, but I took care of him,” Fortuna said. “He got in my face after the fourth but my punch didn’t land –that was a flop. I want to fight the best at 130 pounds. I know Mickey Garcia went up in weight but I’ll fight him at any weight he wants.”
After the fight, Cotto denied that he was a dirty fighter.
“I didn’t fight dirty,” Cotto said. “He’s a small fighter and I have long arms. That’s all. He was coming out strong at the beginning of every round, but so was I. I was moving. I was throwing punches. I felt I was really working him.
“It might looked like he didn’t touch me after the four ended, but he did. And it hurt. I thought I had him, but he hit me with a good left and that was it.”
Homecoming: Fonfara vs. Ngumbu was a 10-round light heavyweight fight promoted by Warriors Boxing. In the co-main event, WBO World Bantamweight Champion Tomoki Kameda defended his title against interim WBO Bantamweight Champion Alejandro Hernandez in a 12-round bout, and opening the telecast, former interim WBA World Featherweight Champion Javier Fortuna faced Abner Cotto in a 10-round super featherweight bout. The SHOWTIME BOXING: Special Edition took place at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Ill., and aired on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).