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Tony Thompson-Southpaw Tiger


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Discussing him in the main forum made me want to write about him here. Tony Thompson, nicknamed "Tiger", had a pretty good career, especially for someone who became a pro at 28. At his best, TT was a hard opponent for anyone, which Wladimir Klitschko will confirm. His main problem was the fact that he fought while Klitschko was ruling the heavyweights, along with his brother. It took him too long to get the big fights and thus, his career took off just at the time when WK had started his last and best career run. At 6'5 and 81-inch reach, Thompson was a tall and rangy guy and as a southpaw, very hard and awkward to fight. He lacked that big punch, however, and stopped his opponents on volume rather than single punches or combinations. Here is the story of Tony "Tiger" Thompson's career.

Anthony Tyrone Thompson was born on 8 October 1971 in Washington DC, one of 11 children. As both his parents were drug abusers, he and his brother Keith (his only full-blooded brother) grew up in an orphanage because they were not yet old enough to go to school. Their mother visited twice before dying of HIV, while their father spent most of his life in jail. When the brothers were in first grade, they were adopted by their paternal grandmother and lived with her and her family until she died at 54. Eventually, after various twists and living arrangements, Tony became a police officer at 23. However, he got into a fight with another policeman and was kicked off the force soon thereafter. He took up boxing at the age of 26 and first fought as amateur. His own car insurance agent, Gene Molowsky, became his manager. He went 13-3 as amateur before turning pro in January 2000.

He lost his fifth fight there on points to Eric Kirkland, on 7 July that first year. He would then embark on a 27-fight winning streak over the next 8 years. His first significant victory came against former two-time world title challenger Vaughn Bean, whom he beat by UD 10 on 11 September 2004. In January 2006 he won the Maryland State title by stopping Brandon Cabell by TKO 4 and then on 28 June that year he beat Dominick Guinn by UD 10 to win the WBC Continental Americas title. He simply outworked Guinn to win clearly on all scorecards. He then defended this title by beating Timur Ibragimov by another UD 10 on 12 February 2007, at the Playboy Mansion. On 14 July that year, he scored another good victory when he stopped the former European champion, the German-Kosovar Luan Krasniqi, by TKO 5 in Germany. It was the WBO-eliminator and Thompson also won the WBO Inter-Continental title by stopping Krasniqi with a barrage. After stopping Cliff Couser by TKO 2, he signed for his biggest fight ever, against Wladimir Klitschko.

The fight was at the same venue as Krasniqi-one, Color Line Arena in Altona, near Hamburg. The date was 12 July 2008. Thompson had actually been a sparring partner for Klitschko, since he was of almost same height and same reach as the champion, and a southpaw. Thompson went on to give KIitschko a tougher fight than many expected and actually outlanded him in both power punches and punches overall, despite being significantly behind on scorecards when the fight ended in round 11, after Klitschko found his opening and hit Thompson with a big right hand which put him down. Thompson was tired and didn't beat the count. Before that, in the previous round, he had been pushed to the canvas by the Ukrainian giant, who then fell on him-and this must have taken some of the gas out of him. Thompson's promoter Dan Goossen was pleased with his performance and promised to give him more big fights soon, but that didn't happen.

Instead, TT scored 5 straight stoppage wins over guys that were either washed up has beens or never that good in the first place. He most notably stopped Maurice Harris by TKO 3 and Chazz Witherspoon by TKO 9. He was again matched against Klitschko almost exactly 4 years to the day of their first fight, 7 July 2012, in Bern, Switzerland. Thompson weighed in 10 pounds lighter than in their first fight, but got stopped in 6 rounds this time, after getting trapped in a corner and punished before he got dropped and then, after getting up, waved off. He had also been down in the previous round from a big right from which he never quite recovered. Most people wrote him off after this unimpressive performance, but it turned out he wasn't quite done yet. For the first time, he went to England to fight David Price, who at 6'8 was his tallest opponent yet and had a big punch to boot-however, he was chinny, as Thompson would expose to everyone. It was on 23 February 2013 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool that all the spectators were left looking in disbelief as Thompson put Price down with a hard right to the side of the head late in round 2 and Price got up on wobbly legs, upon which the fight was stopped. 

After this tremendous upset, Thompson got another fight against Price, who was looking to redeem himself, surely thinking this was just "one of those nights" and that he would surely put the 41-yearold away now. They met again in the ring on 6 July at the same arena and this time, it did look like Price was gonna make good on his promise, as he sent Thompson down in the second round. However, it was not really a devastating punch, because Thompson was caught while backing up and simply lost his balance. Price then went all out in the third and punched himself out while trying to end the fight. He failed and Thompson came back strong in the next round and hurt him with several head and body blows, before he ended the fight in the fifth as Price was helplessly taking punishment in a corner. He then fought Kubrat Pulev, an up and comer from Bulgaria who was based in Germany-the Germany that back then had serious problems with partial judging. Pulev was undefeated and considered a serious challenge for Wladimir Klitschko, but it was his age advantage that prevailed, for, after a close first half, Thompson faded down the stretch and ended up losing clearly on all scorecards.

However, Thompson's "spoiling work" was not yet over. He then took on a then-promising Cuban contender, the much shorter (6'1) Odlanier Solis, 22 March 2014, in Tekirdag, Turkey. However, Solis was known for coming out of shape to fights, despite only having one unlucky loss previously, when he got injured against Vitali Klitschko in March 2011. Thompson once again produced an upset and defied the odds by getting a split decision over the younger man and thus won the WBC International title. After dropping a UD to Carlos Takam, another contender on the rise back then, he once again faced Solis on 27 February 2015, once again in Turkey, Antalya, and this time Solis was in such bad shape that he quit in his corner after eight rounds, taking a beating. With that, Thompson again won the WBC Continental Americas title. This would prove to be the 43-yearold's final hooray, as he first lost to Malik Scott on points after knocking him down once, on 30 October same year, before getting stopped for the third and final time against big puncher Luis Ortiz in 6 rounds, on 5 March 2016.

He was 44 years old when he retired, after 16 years as a pro. His record reads 40 wins, 27 by ko, and 7 losses, 3 by ko. Tony Thompson was a talented, hardworking and awkward fighter, but he simply fought in the wrong era. As previously mentioned, if he had a bigger punch, who knows what might have been. This way, he was simply a very good contender who never got to truly shine at world stage, but could still upset some good fighters who were much younger. It is also rather amazing how long his career lasted after turning pro so late. Thank you.


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--- NO!

Thank YOU, Boz for this most excellent read. Never knew about Tonys horrific background. Hope he's found a soft place to land for such a productive life with more to give.

Yeah, Baloney should've rebuilt Pricey instead of throwing him to the wolves again, but Baloney was having his own problems, errr, I should say having her own problems such that boxing was no longer her focus while getting her hormones straight, now absent from boxing near as I can tell?

Perhaps another Boz special🤑 coming up?


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