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Following his impressive victory over Cliff Couser last Thursday at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California, Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (31-1, 19 KOs) declared himself ready for his WBO World Heavyweight Championship Challenge early in 2008.
“I’m looking forward to the winner of (Sultan) Ibragimov and (Evander) Holyfield taking on his mandatory fight with me,” said Thompson, who gives the undefeated Russian (21-0-1, 17 KO) a slight edge to retain his WBO World Heavyweight Title against the former undisputed champion in Moscow on October 13.
“I’m eager to prove I’m the best in the world, and with a victory over the winner, I will have earned my right as the preeminent belt holder,” said Thompson, who himself has now knocked out 5 of his last seven opponents and has won 27 consecutive fights dating back to 2000. “The fans want to see the best heavyweights fighting the biggest challenges, and I’m the biggest challenge for any heavyweight.”
By virtue of his stunning fifth-round knockout of Luan Krasniqi in Hamburg, Germany back in July in a WBO Heavyweight Championship Elimination Bout, Thompson earned his mandatory shot at Ibragimov’s Title. And, unlike many boxers, the 35-year old Thompson was willing to risk his opportunity of a lifetime by taking a fight last week with Couser who was coming off a big upset KO victory over top 10 heavyweight Monte Barrett.
“I wanted to show my power to the other heavyweights,” said Thompson. “Barrett had gone the distance with (Hasim) Rahman and (Joe) Mesi, both big punchers, and was stopped in seven by (Wladimir) Klitschko and in eleven rounds by (Nikolay) Valuev. Couser knocked Barrett cold in two. I just did what I’ve been doing the last eight years, not letting anyone get in my way of the title.”
“It feels great to know that Tony’s time is here now, “ said Nate Peake, co-manager of Thompson, along with NBA star Steve Francis. “The WBO has recognized Tony’s hard work and willingness to fight anyone, anywhere and we thank them for this hard earned opportunity.”
In the meantime his promoter Dan Goossen has been involved in discussions with representatives of the current champion to finalize the Thompson-Ibragimov WBO Championship Bout providing Ibragimov is successful against Holyfield.
“I’ve had many discussions with Ibragimov’s team and they have been very keen in moving immediately forward with the mandatory fight with a victory,” Goossen acknowledged.
“Leon (Margules) and Sampson (Lewkowicz) have always been honorable gentlemen in our past dealings. Of course, Holyfield could change everything with a performance of a lifetime. We’ll just have to wait and see who wins.”