The December of 2014 rankings saw Poland's Andrzej Fonfara end the year ranked #4 as a Light Heavyweight by the Transnational Boxing Rankings. Ending 2015, he has moved up to #2 and he is crowding Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson at the top of the rankings.
Fonfara was a very solid boxer before this year. He really rose to prominence in May of 2014 when he fought valiantly in a losing effort against Adonis Stevenson in a bid to win the WBC World Title. He hit the canvas twice in the opening round, and he was hurt by body shots in the middle rounds, but Fonfara fought on and made it rough on Stevenson, getting a knock-down of his own on Stevenson in the ninth. In the end however, the judges had Fonfara coming up short, scoring it (116-109, 115-110, 115-110).
After getting a taste of the big-time with the Stevenson fight, Fonfara made a commitment to keep his training at a world class level. He won a November of 2014 bout against Doudou Ngumbu (33-5) to close the year out.
In April of 2015, a big fight called again as Fonfara faced Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (48-1-1) for a vacant WBC International belt. Fonfara showed a wide range of tools in out-boxing Chavez Jr in the early going before letting his size and power take over later in the match. He stopped Chavez Jr in the 9th round, sending the former world champion back down a weight class thoroughly defeated.
Then came his October 16th match in Chicago against Britain's Nathan Cleverly. Similar to the fight with Stevenson, this was a step-up fight for Fonfara. Cleverly, a former world champion himself who was returning to Light Heavyweight after a stint at Cruiserweight, was not to be regarded lightly. What happened when the two met was a “Fight of the Year” candidate. In the end, the judges had it (115-113, 116-112 and 116-112) all in favor of fonfara.
Watch the 7th round of Fonfara vs Cleverly right here.
Fonfara has just turned 28 years old this past November, so he is entering his prime having elevated his game in 2015. Whether Fonfara can sustain the momentum in 2016 remains to be seen, and he is awaiting the Premier Boxing Champions schedule for early 2016 to reveal his next match.
In 2015, Fonfara entered two very high profile fights, and unlike the Stevenson match where he fought valiantly in defeat, he had evolved enough that he spent 2015 winning the big fights. And for that, Andrzej Fonfara is the 2015 Most Improved Fighter.