Southpaw contenter Tony Thompson has become the mandatory challenger to the IBF belt worn by RING No. 1-rated heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko, who also owns the WBA and WBO belts, Championships Chairman Lindsay Tucker informed RingTV.com on Saturday.
Tucker said the situation has developed in the wake of Thompson’s scheduled opponent, Eddie Chambers, having cited a back injury for first pulling out of their initial IBF eliminator bout that was slated to be televised on Showtime on Oct. 28 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Thompson-Chambers was then rescheduled for Dec. 17, but Tucker told RingTV.com that Chambers notified IBF President Darryl Peoples on Friday that he would not be able to participate on that date either.
“They had been rescheduled to fight on Dec. 17, but we found out yesterday that Eddie Chambers was not going to be able to participate,” said Tucker.
“I wasn’t sure whether it was because of his back injury or not, but Eddie Chambers spoke to Darryl yesterday. They thought that his back was going to be okay by Dec. 17, but I’ve been told that the fight’s off with Thompson.”
The 29-year-old Chambers (36-2, 18 KOs) was knocked out in the 12th round by the 35-year-old Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) in March of last year, but is coming off a unanimous decision over Derric Rossy in February.
Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs), who turned 40 on Oct. 18, last lost when Klitschko stopped him in 11 rounds in 2008, but has won five straight bouts, all by knockout, since then.
The Thompson-Chambers winner was to be in line to avenge his loss to Klitschko, who will pursue his 15th consecutive win and his 11th knockout during that run against former cruiserweight titleholder Jean Marc Mormeck (36-4, 22 KOs) on Dec. 10.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com