Interview and photo by Przemek Garczarczyk
“I was never a superstitious man and I proved to everybody that Friday the 13th could be a good thing – at least for me,” said world-rated light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara (22-2, 12 KOs) after the biggest win of his young career. Fonfara took a unanimous decision and ended the career of the great Glen Johnson (51-17, 35 KOs) at UIC Pavilion in Chicago. “I want to dedicate this win to a great Polish amateur fighter, two-time Olympic gold medalist Jerzy Kulej, who passed today. He was a great fighter and I was proud to known him,” said the 24-year-old Fonfara to thousands of his cheering fans.
Winning against Glen Johnson after a very entertaining fight is, at least in my book, on a par with other great wins of Polish fighters showing their craft in US – Andrzej Golota and Tomek Adamek. Tell us how you saw this fight developing.
Glen is still a very good, tough fighter, who can take a hard punch and give a hard punch back. I was confident when the fight started, my jab was working, but then for a round or two, Glen surprised me couple of times, dictating the fight. I have to admit that I’ve got hit pretty good, but looks like my chin improved a lot since my – for me forgotten – loss to Findley. In my corner, trainer Sam Colonna told me to throw more combinations because lots of those punches landed and just one-punch tactics was too simple for such an experienced fighter like Glen. I finished his great career but he was a gentleman after the fight, wishing me all the best. I cannot describe how I feel today, taking a risk like this and winning the fight. I want to say big thanks to everybody from Team Fonfara – you know who you are – my family, and girlfriend, everybody who helped me to achieve this.
Members of Johnson team were expecting that it would be Glen Johnson dominating the late rounds, but it was maybe your best six minutes of the night. You said before the fight that conditioning will be the key and this was exactly what happened.
Ten weeks of hard work every day, ten-round sparring sessions in 110 degree heat at the Chicago Boxing Club, followed by conditioning training with Bogdan Maciejczyk and Jerry Owen, without these guys, and like I said before, without everybody around me, this win could not happen. For every fighter’s win there are a lot of people behind the scenes.
Two years ago you weren’t even considered a prospect, now you are knocking on the door to the boxing elite at 175 pounds, winning 9 of 10 fights in this weigh class by KO and showing your progress versus the ultimate professional, one of the toughest fighters around. How do you feel today?
I was never a superstitious man and I proved to everybody that Friday the 13th could be a good thing – at least for me. Beating Glen Johnson was just one of my dreams. They will end when I win a world championship.
Photos below from Jacek Boczarski