According to a story Tuesday on ProBoxingInsider.com, Tony Thompson has twice before had an opportunity at heavyweight gold. Now he is in search of a third. With just one more win, he will have that opportunity.
In a title eliminator to be held Aug. 24 in Schwerin, Germany, Thompson will face Kubrat Pulev, a fighter in search of his first crack at a title. Both agreed to the fight last week, but had to wait until the IBF would agree to sanction it as a title eliminator, which it did today.
“It’s not something I could turn down,” Thompson told ESPN.com. “It was a no-brainer for me. I saw some film of (Pulev) and he looks pretty good. He’s fast and active. He’s a pretty good heavyweight fighter. It should be a fight with good action.”
Also expected to be on the same card is Arthur Abraham, who was last seen dropping his super middleweight title to Robert Stieglitz back in March. He will be opposing Willbeforce Shihepo. Additionally, Juergen Braehmer will defend his European light heavyweight title against Stefano Abatangelo.
Kubrat Pulev (17-0, 9 KO’s) agreed last year to be part of a four man tournament, with the winner to be declared the next challenger for Wladimir Klitschko. The Bulgarian fighter won his first fight against Alexander Ustinov in September, putting him in the final fight.
However, the other half of the bracket was not so clear cut. At different points, he was scheduled to face either Tomasz Adamek or Tyson Fury, but both fighters declined. When Adamek beat Cunningham back in December, he should have been in the final. Instead he opted out. The same happened with Tyson Fury. After he also beat Cunningham, he pulled out of the box-off, instead taking the more high profile fight with David Haye.
After all the problems getting a fight arranged, finally the IBF agreed to make the Thompson-Pulev fight. Thompson (38-3, 26 KO’s) is no stranger to Wladimir Klitschko. Both of his two previous attempts to capture the belt came against him, and both times he lost by knockout.
Thought to be finished, however, Tony Thompson scored a pair of upset wins over David Price, knocking out the former Olympian each time. With a pair of exciting fights, both contested in Price’s hometown of Liverpool, he found himself with another chance to capture what has eluded him his entire career.
“I went there trying to make an opportunity for myself,” Thompson said.
And that he did. Thompson said he was contacted shortly after the second victory by Sauerland Event to set up the eliminator with Kubrat Pulev.
“This will be a tough test for Pulev as he hasn’t boxed since beating Ustinov in the first leg of the IBF eliminator (box-off),” Chris Meyer of Sauerland said. “Thompson has again entered world stage after beating David Price twice. Thompson may be much older than Pulev, but has made quite a number of big bouts in his career. His only two losses in the last 13 years were to Wladimir Klitschko.
“The bout was made under the condition that the winner becomes IBF mandatory contender to face the winner of Wladimir Klitschko versus Alexander Povetkin. That’s the big incentive for both camps.”
The only other time Thompson has lost was back in 2000, in just his fifth fight as a pro.
“I think people kind of forgot I only had two losses to the heavyweight champ of the world (since 2000),” Tony Thompson said.