Time: 4:30 EST/ 9:30 PM London/ 10:30 PM Hamburg
On Tuesday, May 8th, 2012, the first press conference in support of the upcoming July 7th, rematch between universally recognized Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko and IBF mandatory title challenger Tony "The Tiger" Thompson took place in Bern, Switzerland.
In what will be the second pairing of the two giant fighters, Wladimir Klitschko and Tony Thompson will meet again in the ring almost exactly four years to the day since their initial clash at the Color Line Arena in Hamburg, Germany, which took place on July 12th, 2008.
The first IBF title opportunity for the American contender resulted in an eleventh round TKO loss at the hands of the Ukrainian born fighter more affectionately known as "Dr. Steelhammer".
Since losing their initial contest in July of 2008, Tony Thompson has won five consecutive bouts by knock-out and has patiently waited for a return bout with the Ukrainian born champion.
Thompson insists that he has thought of little else since that moment.
"Beating Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch has been the only thing that has driven me," admits the 40 year old Washington D.C. native. "Everything else has been secondary since getting stopped in front of my wife and friends back in 2008. I have one drive and one goal right now...and that is to defeat Wladimir and become the universally recognized heavyweight champion of the world."
This bout is a rematch of their first fight in 2008
Manny Steward, Klitschko's trainer, insists Wlad is in his prime and predicts a 5th Round knockout for his fighter.
Wladimir Klitschko has won fifteen consecutive bouts and is unbeaten in the last eight years. (Lamon Brewster, 2004)
Tony Thompson is 32-1 with 24 knockouts in his last 33 bouts
Tony is actually right handed but fights out of the southpaw stance to get the angle advantage on the orthodox fighter, so he punches very well with both hands.
Since their first meeting in 2008, the fighters are a combined 11-0 with 10 knockouts.
Wlad is deadly in rematches; In sequels with Chris Byrd, Lamon Brewster, and Sam Peter, Wladimir stopped each fighter within the distance after going twelve full rounds against Peter and Byrd, and previously losing by way of knockout to Brewster.
For their first bout, Tony had a 6 ½ lb weight advantage; Today Wlad is 5.2 lbs heavier than Thompson.
Will inactivity play a role? Tony Thompson has been inactive for a little over 13 months while Wlad's most recent bout was four months ago.
Thompson is a fresh 40 years old, having turned pro at 28 with a limited amateur background