Klitschko Drops Thompson In 11

By Francis Walker
Updated: July 13, 2008

Wladimir_Klitschko unified IBF WBO IBO heavyweight champ

Wladimir_Klitschko unified IBF WBO IBO heavyweight champ

NEW YORK – Wladimir Klitschko is recognized as the best heavyweight in the world today. Once again, Klitschko proved that he belongs at the top of the division by outlasting another title challenger.

In defense of the unified IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO titles, Klitschko (51-3, 45 KOs) knocked out Tony Thompson (31-2, 19 KOs) in the 11th round of a very competitive fight at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday. The bout was televised live in the United States on HBO Sports.

“I am very happy with this fight,” said Klitschko after making his fifth consecutive title defense.

Klitschko stands atop the heavyweight division — period! He has competed in more world title fights than the other champions. As a two-time heavyweight champion, Klitschko has fought in 14 world title fights (overall) having dispatched Chris Byrd (twice), Calvin Brock, Lamon Brewster, Ray Mercer, Jameel McCline, Frans Botha, and Ray Austin to name a few.

In Klitschko’s last bout in February, he became the only heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis to unify two portions of the world heavyweight title by outpointing Sultan Ibragimov through twelve rounds at Madison Square Garden.

Regardless of Klitschko’s accomplishments, his three losses — all by KO — remains in the back of everyone’s mind to have watched Wladimir fight. The losses to Brewster, Corrie Sanders, and Ross Purity exposed Klitschko’s shaky chin.

Klitschko hasn’t lost in more than four years, but the closest he came to defeat was during his September 2005 bout with current WBC champion Samuel Peter. Klitschko survived three knockdowns and rocked Peter with a thunderous left hook to his chin in the final round. Klitschko won a 12-round unanimous decision because of his superior boxing skills.

Since the three losses and a rough performance against Peter, many people believe that any heavyweight that can get inside of Klitschko’s enormous 6-feet-7, 242-pound frame and land a big punch can beat him. That has proven easier said then done.

Klitschko uses his height, reach, and extraordinary power to control his opponents. Klitschko uses distance behind a strong left-jab before dropping his hard right, which is what made his bout with Thompson so intriguing.

Aside from being the WBO No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger, Thompson, at 6-feet-4, 265 pounds, is perhaps the biggest fighter that Klitschko has fought. Thompson, 36, Washington, D.C., is also a southpaw and has only one professional loss. Thompson hasn’t lost a bout in more than eight years. Thompson entered his first (and perhaps only) championship fight as the leading American heavyweight title contender.

“This man was unbelievable,” Klitschko said immediately following the fight. “He fought perfectly. It was not an easy fight.”

Thompson’s credit, he showed a lot of good boxing skills. Thompson gave Klitschko all he could handle to the surprise of many. Thompson’s right jab and willingness to throw punches at Klitschko’s body made very difficult for the champion to use his left jab. Klitschko’s right hand was somewhat ineffective in the earlier rounds because, he couldn’t land enough hard jabs to set-up a solid right.

Thompson has a respectable right-jab, looping straight-left combination. However, he wasn’t fast and didn’t display any power. Thompson was effective because his style kept Klitschko off balance, reaching, and lunging for the clinch.

“I couldn’t land my left jab early in the fight, but later on it was better,” Klitschko added.

In the second round both fighters were cut above their right eye following an accidental clash of heads. Klitschko did a lot of clinching, but was forced to fight. Klitschko had a huge welt underneath his left eye.

His left cheekbone was red and he had an opening above his right eye. But Klitschko didn’t fade under pressure like he did against Purity, Sanders, and Brewster.

Instead, he fought like the hard-hitting champion that he has proven to be.

It took the champion 11 rounds to break Thompson. Klitschko landed the harder and more solid shots. Thompson, who at times appeared intolerant of Klitschko’s left-jabs and straight-rights, but simply wasn’t fast enough to time Klitschko perfectly with his left hand.

The bout ended when Klitschko beat Thompson to the punch. Klitschko landed a booming straight-right to the chin before Thompson could get his left hand off. Thompson hit the deck and was counted out by referee Joe Cortez at 1:22 of the eleventh.

Alexander Povetkin’s Next for Klitschko

Next up is IBF No. 1-ranked mandatory and undefeated prospect, Alexander Povetkin. Povetkin may have considerably less professional experience than Klitschko, but he has competed in more than 300 amateur boxing and kickboxing bouts.

Povetkin, 28, Russia, became the highest-ranked available by winning an elimination tournament order by the International Boxing Federation last year. Povetkin stopped former WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd (TKO 11) in November before outpointing previously undefeated prospect Eddie Chambers (W 12) in January.

Before a title match with Klitschko, Povetkin (15-0, 11 KOs) must first defeat African-American heavyweight Taurus Sykes (25-4-1, 7 KOs) in Russia.

Sykes, a 33 year-old from Brooklyn, NY has been brought in as an opponent for Povetkin. In Sykes’ most notable bouts, he was blown away inside two rounds by Samuel Peter three years ago. Last year, Sykes went 10 rounds in a losing effort to former two-time heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman.

Roy Jones, Jr. vs. Joe Calzaghe at Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden is known as “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” The Garden has hosted some of the biggest boxing matches in sports history.

The epic first encounter between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971, Rocky Marciano’s KO of the legendary Joe Louis in what would be the Brown Bombers’ career finale in 1951, the World Middleweight Championship series two weeks after September 11, 2001 (9-11-01), and the controversial Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship fight between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in March 1999 are just some of the many, many celebratory and memorable bouts to have ever occurred.

September 20th will be another memorable night for the sport of boxing. The Garden will play host to what should be an epic showdown between two of the most dominant fighters of the last 15 years.

Perhaps the greatest world super middleweight champion of all-time, unbeaten Joe Calzaghe will challenge former four-division titlist Roy Jones, Jr.

“This is what I want, this is what HBO want. This is what he wants. This is what everybody wants,” stated Jones.

Calzaghe, the first fighter to unify the WBO, WBC, and WBA 168-pound championships, will battle Jones, a former IBF middleweight, IBF super middleweight, undisputed light-heavyweight, and WBA heavyweight champion.

Jones became the first middleweight in more than 100 years since Bob Fitzsimons, to win a heavyweight title when he outpointed Jon Ruiz in March 2003. He’s coming off a 12-round decision win at the Garden over Felix Trinidad in January. It was his third consecutive win after losing three consecutive fights to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson — two by knockout.

Jones will be fighting a man from Wales, who in the last two years has proven his great boxing ability and drawing power. Calzaghe, in his light-heavyweight debut in April, survived a first-round knockdown to decision Bernard Hopkins. Calzaghe also have decisive wins against Mikkel Kessler, Jeff Lacy, and recent “The Contender” winner Sakio Bika.

Juan Diaz & Michael Katsidis Clash

A very intriguing fight between former WBA, WBO, and IBF lightweight champion Juan Diaz (33-1, 17 KOs) and previously unbeaten Michael Katsidis (23-1, 20 KOs) has been scheduled for September 6, at the Toyota Center in Diaz’ hometown of Houston.

The bout will be the main event of an HBO Boxing After Dark telecast.

Diaz, a 24 year-old student at the University of Houston, had his four-year reign atop the lightweight division’s elite when he dropped a 12-round decision to a Don King-promoted Nate Campbell in March. Diaz, known for his straight-forward, fast-paced style, was thoroughly out-boxed by the older and more experienced Campbell.

What a way for Diaz to reemerge as a world title contender by defeating someone as exciting as Katsidis.

“Michael Katsidis is a great fighter and a former world champion,” Diaz stated. “I’m excited just to get back into the ring. I feel like I have something to prove to my fans and team and on September 6th, I’m going to win big and take the first step back to regaining my world title.”

Katsidis is pure action. Just watch his 12-round decision over Czar Amonsot in July 2007. There were multiple knockdowns, blood, and plenty of punches thrown. His action-brawling style cost him in his bout against Joel Casamayor on March 22.

He was dropped twice in the opening round by the southpaw’s straight-left. But Katsidis came roaring back to drop Casamayor in round six and was winning the fight before Casamayor stopped him in the tenth.

Katsidis suffered a hard loss in a very tough fight against Casamayor. Let’s see if Katsidis can adjust his style to box more against an effective and aggressive fighter like Diaz.

“I’ve been a fan of Juan Diaz for a while and I know he’s got no quit in him; in fact, he’s just like me in a lot of ways,” said Katsidis. “But on September 6th, all that respect will go out the window when we’re both trying to knock each other out. It’s going to be an explosive fight all right, but I’m bringing the dynamite.”

Also on the card 2000 Olympic silver medalist, Ricardo Juarez (27-4, 19 KOs) continues his quest for a fourth world title fight. Juarez must first go through former WBO super featherweight champion Jorge Barrios (47-3-1, 34 KOs).

Vitali Klitschko Returns

Former two-time heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko is coming out of retirement. The 37 year-old and elder brother of Wladimir Klitschko was named the WBC Champion Emeritus after he retired several years ago. Vitali fight Samuel Peter for the WBC championship on October 4, at O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany.

Many insiders don’t believe that the fight will happen because Vitali’s vulnerability to injuries suffered in training camp. Vitali, who never lost the WBC title in the ring, retired in 2004 after his once highly-anticipated bout with Rahman was postponed four times.

Klitschko has scheduled heavyweight fights with McCline and Oleg Maskaev last year, but pulled out of both fights after he underwent surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back.

Vitali must be at his best and perfectly healthy if he hopes to whisk the WBC title away from Peter, who survived three knockdowns to outpoint McCline in October and KO’d Maskaev inside seven rounds in March to become the WBC heavyweight champ. Peter also owns a pair of consecutive decision wins against James Toney.

David Haye is coming

Once beaten and unified WBC/WBA, and WBO cruiserweight champion David Haye is serious about competing in the heavyweight division. After having surrendered the WBC 200-pound title, the World Boxing Council awarded Haye with a No. 5 heavyweight ranking.

Haye is scheduled to make his heavyweight debut sometime in October at the O2 Arean in his hometown of London, England. There is talk about the young 27 year-old fighting former WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Masakev.

Other possible opponents include former heavyweight title challenger Monte Barrett. The winner of the rematch between Hasim Rahman and James Toney may also be considered.

That fight can be seen on Fox Sports Net on Wednesday.