News July 2018

Thompson plots career finale “Get me Charr, Wilder or Fury but keep young Joshua away from me!”


Tony “The Tiger” Thompson talks exclusively to Livefight

By Michael J Jones

ONE MONTH ago in Turkey, long-time heavyweight contender Tony Thompson completed the double over Cuban star Odlanier Solis with a conclusive eight-round retirement win. Taking full advantage of Solis’ questionable physical condition, the Washington southpaw battered the fleshy Cuban until he refused to continue.

With the 40th victory in his career under his belt, the 6’5” Thompson is thus right back in the heavyweight mix at the age of 43 and in line for a potential third shot at the heavyweight title.

“I actually didn’t think the Solis win was one of my best” admits “The Tiger” to Livefight last week. “It was a solid, professional performance by myself and in the end that was enough to secure victory.”

While the contest was fairly competitive early on, gradually the bigger Thompson took firmer command with his punishing and numerous blows. As early as the third Solis was shooting out clear distress signals and by the seventh and eighth the fight had become one-sided.

“I wasn’t surprised at how the fight ended” Thompson comments on the bizarre finish. “I was aiming for the knock-out after the way the first fight went close on the cards. I didn’t want it going twelve rounds again.”

The two men had met eleven months previously with the older man taking the nod by a deserved split decision. Most thought the busier Thompson had done more than enough that night in his victory for the WBC International title though he would slip to his fifth pro defeat a few months later to Carlos Takam in France.

After several other opportunities fell through, the Washington southpaw signed to face Solis again this time with the WBC Continental Americas belt.

Tellingly, the Cuban remained inactive for the full duration since their first meeting…

“I don’t currently have a fight lined up” says Tony when I ask about his immediate future following his dominating last win. “We are talking to a few people at present. We wanted Manuel Charr as we are in a similar position (in the rankings) and it’s a logical fight for us both but we never heard a word back…I’ll take any fight which will get me to the top right now.”

The towering puncher turned pro way back in 2000. He had initially had ambitions to become a Police Officer but when that didn’t work out he turned to boxing already well into his 20’s. His debut was made at the age of 28 and he would win all of his first four fights on points before slipping to a decision loss to Erik Kirkland in battle of unbeatens.

Following his first reverse, Thompson would go undefeated in 27 consecutive bouts with nineteen knock-outs over eight years yet the major fights eluded him. The heavy-handed southpaw had to content with whipping fringe contenders such as Vaughn Bean and Dominik Guinn though he stayed patient for his chance.

“I knew it would be like that” remembers Thompson of his early career. “I turned pro late, wasn’t with a major promoter and was dangerous. Guys ranked above me saw me as too dangerous to risk anything against so it took a little while but it was to be fully expected.”

After winning a resounding stoppage of Luan Krasniqi in Germany in a WBO eliminator, Thompson would get his long-awaited shot against unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg in 2008. The American challenger would get halted in the eleventh by the dominant champion but bounced back with five impressive wins to secure his second tilt.

Four years later the two punchers would do battle again but Tony would disappointingly slump to another inside-schedule defeat.

The beaten man remained inactive for some seven months with rumours rife he was about to retire. However, he was drafted in to take on streaking banger David Price in the lion’s den of Liverpool in early 2013. The fight started tentatively with both looking for openings but Thompson would cause a huge shock in the second when levelling Price with a big right hook behind the ear.

The victor would then prove it had been no fluke by stopping Price again five months later.

“I’d have to say my favourite victories would be the Krasniqi fight and then the two David Price fights in England. With Krasniqi, it was in Hamburg and my first chance to fight for a title so was special for me. With Price it was just so nice to see people so passionate about their man (Price) yet so gracious in defeat. The whole experience of those visits and the atmosphere at the (Echo Arena) will always stay with me.”

After having to travel all over the world for his bouts with Krasniqi, Klitschko, Price, Pulev and others, does he ever get fed up having to take dangerous fights away from home?

“No it’s not tiresome at all because I keep winning” he laughs.

For the record, Thompson hasn’t boxed in the US since stopping Maurice Harris back in 2011. “I keep getting the chance to travel to these great places, beating up guys and getting paid so why would I get fed up? It aint’ dangerous for me; it’s dangerous for the guys I’m fighting.”

Many have said David Price has never been the same fighter since his two crushing defeats to Thompson despite four comeback wins. Does his former conqueror see an improvement since the former British and Commonwealth champion launched his return under Sauerland promotions?

“I saw one of his fights…it was hard to see if (Price) has improved at all or not and I don’t think we’ll know until he fights someone dangerous again. Only when we see him in with a higher class fighter will we know.”

Livefight asks the 43 year old Tony (who away from boxing works as an armed security guard), if he was impressed with fellow American Deontay Wilder’s WBC triumph over Bermaine Stiverne recently?

“Wilder showed me improvement to his skills and discipline but overall I was mostly disappointed in Stiverne as he just didn’t perform the way I expected him to. I know he was in hospital afterwards with dehydration so I don’t know how much of his (poor performance) had to do with Wilder not making him able to perform or how much he was affected by (being dehydrated).”

“Sure I’d definitely like to face Wilder" he says of a possible match with the new champion. "It’s always a great opportunity to fight for the title.”

Linear champion Wladimir Klitschko boxes Bryant Jennings next month but the word in boxing circles is that, should the champion retain as expected, his next challenger will be a certain Mr Tyson Fury in the summer.

“I’ve been trying to get that Fury fight for years” Tony reveals to Livefight. “I know he doesn’t want to fight me but, if the fight with Wladimir doesn’t happen for him then I’m here waiting so let’s get it on.”

Does he feel Fury has a realistic chance of dethroning the long-reigning world ruler should the fight finally get made this year?

“Fury’s a big strong guy but recently he’s proved smarter than I thought” Tony comments on his unbeaten rival. “He’s been fighting as a southpaw and if he fights Klitschko as a southpaw I can definitely see him giving him some problems.”

One young man making waves in the UK heavyweight ranks at present is former Olympic champion Anthony Joshua MBE. Has the Washington contender seen much of the 10-0 prospect?

“Yeah I’ve seen him fight. He’s a big strong young fellow and one day he could be at the top….providing he stays well away from me. The fight has been put out there a few times but we’ve never been made an actual offer.”

Despite looking as good as ever dismantling Solis, does the 40-5 (27) contender have a timescale to when his 15 year career may conclude?

“This year will definitely be my last in boxing” he reveals without hesitation. “I’ve told myself and everybody around me that this will be my final year to achieve what I can and when it’s over its over.”

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