Boxing


Wladimir Klitschko On Next Challenger Tony Thompson: “He Gave Me One Of My Toughest Challenges. He Cannot Be Ignored”

By James Slater: Though he will enter the ring in Berne, Switzerland as a whopping betting favourite on July 7th, Ring Magazine, WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko says he will in no way be looking past or failing to give full respect to his challenger (and rematch opponent) Tony Thompson.

“Dr. Steel Hammer,” recently turned 36 and unbeaten in eight long years, scored an 11th-round stoppage win over 40-year-old Thompson, and to some fighters this previous result along with the current dominance would perhaps allow an overconfident attitude. But this is just not Wladimir’s attitude - the true pro is a stickler for preparations and being at his absolute best for each and every fight; “I’ve been there, done that,” Wladimir once said when asked if he’d maybe underestimate an opponent.

And while there aren’t too many fans who are massively excited about Klitschko-Thompson II, Wladimir is talking as though he is facing a very dangerous challenger.

“Thompson is a strong and difficult opponent fighting southpaw,” Wladimir said at a media gathering. “He has very good technique and he gave me one of the toughest challenges in my career. Through his height it is a fight at eye level and I know that he has gained a lot of confidence through his winning streak.”

At 6’5” Thompson is almost as tall as Klitschko and he will in fact be the tallest opponent Wladimir has been in the ring with since, well, Thompson himself, back in 2008. Since then, Wlad has dominated “small” guys, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers, Sam Peter, David Haye and, last time out, Jean Marc Mormeck. At least in terms of size, then, “The Tiger” represents a credible challenge.

And Thompson, 36-2(24) overall and winner of his last five, is talking a great fight:

“I have been waiting a long time for this rematch,” Thompson said. “Last time I had an injury which I suffered in training. In Berne, I will complete what I missed out four years ago. I will knock Klitschko out and take all his belts back to the U.S.”

Needless to say, if Thompson were to deliver on his bold prediction, he would shock the entire boxing world. When was the last time Wladimir was even tested? Probably during the first Thompson fight of July 12th 2008. Back then a leg injury hampered Thompson’s movement, he claims - can a fully fit “Tiger” improve on his previous showing? I think he can, and will, but it will not be enough to take the belts.

Look for Wladimir to have to settle for a wide points win this time around.

Article posted on 14.04.2012



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