American heavyweight contender Tony Thompson will turn 42 in October. The Washington, D.C.-based southpaw is a married father of seven children whose ages range from 23 to 12.
Between his two losses to RING champion Wladimir Klitschko — by 11th- and sixth-round stoppage in the July of 2008 and July of last year, respectively — Thompson underwent two separate surgeries to repair a torn meniscus.
Yet at a time when many of his ilk would be limping toward journeyman status, if not retirement, the 6-foot-5 Thompson is in the midst of a seemingly miraculous run.
Thompson (38-3, 26 knockouts) has won seven of his past eight fights, all by knockout, as he heads into Saturday’s IBF eliminator bout with Russian Kubrat Pulev (17-0, 9 KOs).
Thompson was last in the ring on July 6 — representing a span of just 50 days come Saturday night — when he scored his second consecutive stoppage of England’s previously unbeaten David Price.
Although Thompson already is in Germany and could not be reached for an immediate comment, his wife, Sydnee Thompson, said her husband is showing no signs of slowing down.
“There are no concerns, physically,” said Sydnee, who is also her husband’s manager. “That’s because Tony started boxing at an early age anyway, so he has never taken a lot of punches or a lot of punishment.”
Both of the wins over Price were accomplished in hostile territory in Liverpool, with Thompson rising from a second-round knockdown in their rematch.
“The punches that he took from David Price, it wasn’t even that hard of a shot because Tony was moving backward at the time. So it wasn’t the full blow of the punch,” said Sydnee.
“His eyes were open, and he looked at the referee, and he took his time as he got right back up. That’s really evident when you watch the fight. He wasn’t wobbly. He wasn’t dizzy, and he went right back into attack mode. If anything, it just gave him more motivation to go ahead and get this guy out.”
Thompson’s initial win over Price followed his second loss to Klitschko, holder of the RING, IBF, WBA and WBO belts. Like Price, who had scored nine straight knockouts before suffering his first loss, the nearly 6-toot-5 Pulev is on a bit of a run with three consecutive stoppage victories.
“In his last fight, Tony had a rocky moment. The fans loved it, and I loved it. It was a great fight, so now he’s ready to go again,” said Sydnee, who planned to fly into Germany on Tuesday evening.
“The team is there, everybody is excited. Tony’s body is feeling good and strong, and he’s just really excited about the opportunity. Tony’s just ready to earn this third opportunity to get in there with one of the Klitschkos again.”
Note: Thompson said during his post-fight interview after his second triumph over Pric that he would “break (his) wife’s hip” in celebration, adding, “I haven’t had sex with her for a while…she’s going to feel the pain.”
Sydnee Thompson’s response?
“I’m not a fragile person, so my hips are fine,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I probably work out more than he does.”
Photo by Alex Livesey-Getty Images