|Tony Thompson: “The best of Tony Thompson is yet to come!”
Interview by Bob Carroll, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 22, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com
Heavyweight contender Tony "The Tiger" Thompson 31-2 (19) has never shied away from any challenge put in front of him. Thompson's first loss came in his fifth fight overall, in a close decision to Eric Kirkland. Thompson, extremely upset by the decision, reeled off 27 straight victories against some top flight opponents, until he finally wound up at the top of the mountain, a shot for the heavyweight championship.
Back in July, Thompson got the opportunity that all fighters dream of, a title shot. This shot would come against the man most consider the best heavyweight in the division today, Wladimir Klitschko. In this fight, the boxing public saw Klitschko take over early and dominate the fight, knocking out Thompson in the eleventh round, to retain the WBO/IBF titles. What the boxing public did not know was that Thompson had hurt his knee about a month before the fight, was unable to do any road work for a month leading up to the fight, and had some breathing problems during the fight.
Recently Thompson had been slated to take on former multiple belt holder James Toney but had to pull out of that fight with some minor health issues. His replacement, Fres Oquendo, was on the wrong end of what this writer considered a bad decision. Tony recently sat down with Doghouse Boxing to talk about these fights and his future.
Bob Carroll: Tony, you were scheduled to take on James Toney last weekend. Could you tell the readers what prevented you from fighting?
Tony Thompson: Well, I was having trouble breathing when I was trying to prepare for the fight, so I went to the doctor and lo and behold, I had a touch of bronchitis. My doctor recommended that I pull out of the fight to address my breathing and get it under control.
BC: I'm sure you watched the fight. What did you think of James Toney in this fight?
TT: Well, I mean, James has been a great fighter for a long time, but uh, let's just say he got an early Christmas present and (laughing) leave it at that.
BC: Ok, if you saw yourself up in the ring last weekend, how do you think you would have done against James Toney?
TT: Well, I feel that I can beat anybody in the world first of all, including Klitschko when I am healthy and doing the things I am supposed to do. I feel I can beat anybody so, obviously, you know, I feel I would have won that fight in dominating fashion.
BC: Any chances of rescheduling this fight and, if so, what do you feel would be the accomplishment in beating a James Toney in this point of your professional career?
TT: Um, at the level that Toney performed at, I don't think I could accomplish anything more than having a win over a future hall of famer on my resume. As far as furthering my career, I'll fight anyone they put in front of me, but I couldn't see how fighting Toney could help me accomplish my goal of getting back to fighting Wladimir Klitschko, which is my ultimate goal.
BC: Speaking of Wladimir Klitschko, you took him on last July and were stopped in the eleventh round. Could you tell our readers what actually happened in that fight?
TT: Well, I have been dealing with some breathing issues for awhile, I just didn't know what they were to the point that I could not get into shape. That was also coupled with a knee injury, so I couldn't really run and get into the shape I needed to be in for a championship fight. All of that, unfortunetly, hindered my progress. Now, I feel that I am working everything out and the best of Tony Thompson is yet to come!
BC: Now that you have been in the ring with Wlad Klitschko, did he show you anything that you would be able to exploit or do differently in a rematch?
TT: Well defintely, just being in better shape. This is just my opinion, but if I am in shape, there is nobody in the heavyweight division that can beat me. That includes Wladimir of Vitali Klitschko. I feel I can compete and beat anyone in the heavyweight divison. For me, it is all about being in good health and great shape. If those two things happen for me, I can compete and beat anybody.
BC: The shape of the American heavyweight is not in the best of shape right now. Who, besides yourself, do you feel could help improve the American heavyweight status?
TT: Well, I think there are a lot of young American heavyweights out there, coming up. (Chris) Arreola is a guy that a lot of people are taliking about. I think he needs a little more seasoning, a little more polishing. A guy he just fought, Travis Walker, still has a chance to improve. A buddy of mine, Eddie Chambers, I think is a real good guy coming up, a smaller type of heavyweight but will give guys a lot of problems. I think there are a lot of young guys that we haven't heard of, that are ready to take any of our places and surprise a lot of people.
BC: Are there any heavyweights out there that you feel would be tailor made for Tony Thompson?
TT: I don't know if there is anyone out there that is tailor made for me, but like I said, I feel I could beat anybody. I do feel that a guy like Sam Peter and I would put on a great fight because style wise, my willingness to stand there and fight him, it would make a great fight. But I do not want any fight that will hinder my path back to Wladimir Klitschko.
BC: What can the boxing public expect from Tony Thompson in 2009?
TT: Just, um, like I said, improvement. I think they are going to see the best of my career this next couple of years. They are really going to see the best of me, because I know I'm a little older, but I am not beat up and obviously I haven't learned everything I can learn. That is actually a great thing for me. I have the one thing that you can not buy or teach, and that is experience. Now that I have that, I am looking forward to doing some great things.
BC: Now that you have this forum, what would you like to say to your fans and the readers of Doghouse Boxing?
TT: If you are a fan of Tony Thompson, I appreciate it and look for me to do great things this year. I will make a lot of people proud and show a lot of people that it does not matter from where you started, or what your pedigree is, you can always do great things if you put your mind to it.
I'd like to thank Tony Thompson for taking time out of his day to speak to Doghouse Boxing.
For more on Tony Thompson, listen to Bob Carroll, and his co-hosts Butch and Benny Henderson Jr on Fightin' Words Radio Show, Wednesday nights, 6-7pm eastern standard on http://1490wwpr.com.
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