Andrzej Fonfara Makes Return To Boxing At Heavyweight Five Years After Retiring

July 10, 2024
4 days
Andrzej Fonfara will return to boxing five years after retiring

Andrzej Fonfara, a former light-heavyweight contender, will make his return to boxing in Chicago on July 20 five years after announcing his retirement.

Fonfara, who fought twice for the WBC light-heavyweight world title, steps up to heavyweight for the first time in a six-round bout against Fabio Maldonado in Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago.

The 36-year-old Polish fighter (30-5-0 18 KO) fought at the highest level of the 175lbs division, securing victories over former world champions Chad Dawson, Nathan Cleverly, Gabriel Campillo and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Fonfara first contested a world title when he took on Adonis Stevenson in May 2014, losing on points in a bout the WBC champion largely dominated. He got his second opportunity in a rematch with Stevenson in June 2017, but this time it ended in a second-round knockout loss.

Fonfara Announced Retirement In 2019

Fonfara last fought in June 2018 when he claimed a sixth-round stoppage win against Ismayl Sillah in a cruiserweight bout in Warsaw, Poland. He was then scheduled to fight Edwin Rodríguez on the Shawn Porter vs. Yordenis Ugas undercard, but one month before the bout he announced his retirement from boxing.

“There is no more enthusiasm, and above all [no more] motivation and adrenaline, which gave the desire to go out into the ring and compete,” Fonfara had said. “I am healthy, everything is OK, but I no longer have the heart for boxing. I’m always 100 percent or nothing. I cannot do otherwise.”

Now five years later, Fonfara, who is based in Chicago, will make his return and it will be interesting to see how he fares on his heavyweight debut. At 6ft 2in and with a reach of 77in, the Pole has similar physical dimensions to unified world champion Oleksandr Usyk (6ft 3in, 78in), which makes him on the smaller side of the heavyweight division but not prohibitively so.

Should Fonfara’s return become permanent, another viable option would be to target the bridgerweight division, where several cruiserweights and smaller heavyweights currently operate.

Maldonado Brings Experience

His opponent is Maldonado (30-9-0 29 KO), who was once the Brazilian cruiserweight champion, but at 44 years old is well past his best even if he has remained active; his fight with Fonfara will be his third this year.

Maldonado most recently fought in February when he secured a fourth-round stoppage in a six-round bout in Sao Paulo. That ended a run of three straight defeats. The Brazilian has fought several high-profile opponents including Oscar Rivas, the inaugural bridgerweight world champion. Their bout was for the North American heavyweight title in December 2018, which Rivas won on points.

Maldonado has also fought, and lost to, former cruiserweight world title challenger Michael Hunter and former heavyweight world title challenger Carlos Takam.