IBF/WBO/WBA/IBO Heavyweight Championship:
W.Klitschko vs Thompson 20:50 SS2
BERLIN - American heavyweight Tony Thompson gets a second shot at Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night after claiming that a knee hampered his efforts during an 11th-round knockout loss in July of 2008.
It was during an interview in August of last year that southpaw heavyweight contender Tony “The Tiger” Thompson first spoke with RingTV.com about the wear and tear in his right knee which he says hindered him during his initial clash with RING champion Wladimir Klitschko on July 12, 2008.
Thompson was stopped in the 11th round by Klitschko, but has since undergone two separate surgeries to repair a torn meniscus.
“I’ve had a bad right knee and needed surgery even before the Klitschko fight. So then, since the Klitschko fight, I’ve had two knee surgeries on it. So for me, it’s been about getting my health together,” said Thompson, a 40-year-old Washington, D.C. resident and a married father of seven.
“When I fought Klitschko, I wasn’t properly trained because I couldn’t do any running thanks to my knee. So it’s been three years since the loss, and I’m just now starting to feel good again. Now that my health has returned, I have no doubt that I can perform in a good way if I can get these people into the ring.”
When Thompson (36-2, 24 knockouts) steps into the squared circle opposite Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs) for their EPIX-televised rematch on Saturday at Stade de Suisse in Berne, Switzerland, it will have been nearly four years to the day since they last met.
But this time, the 6-foot-5 Thompson says he will be more prepared, both physically and mentally, for the nearly 6-7 Klitschko, 36, who will be after his 16th straight win and his 12th knockout during that run.
Thompson has stopped each of his past five opponents and once vowed to “knock Klitschko out and take all his belts to the United States.”
“Everybody in my team knew that I had an injury in the first fight. It’s hard enough to fight Klitschko with two legs, but I really was on one leg...with a healthy body, we actually have a legitimate shot...[I will] fight his a--.
You know, a lot of people, they sit back and they just accept the inevitable against Klitschko. That’s not what we are coming over to do,” said Thompson.
“This is going to be a fight, I can guarantee. I’m not going to say to you that I’m going to guarantee victory and all of that, and yes, I’m going to win.
So I’m not going to sit back and let him jab me and right hand me to death...I’m going to be the one to press the fight. I’m going to be the one throwing a lot of punches. I’m going to be the one landing the most punches.”
Klitschko is coming off a fourth-round knockout of former cruiserweight titleholder Jean Marc Mormeck in March in defense of his the WBA’s “super” title as well as the IBF and WBO belts. Klitschko’s run also includes a unanimous decision over that dethroned ex-WBA titlewinner David Haye in July of last year.
Haye has claimed that a toe injury hampered him against Klitschko, who believes that Haye and Thompson, with the knee, are simply making excuses.