Klitschko Proves to be Too Much
D.C. native Tony Thompson was stopped in the sixth round of his bid to become heavyweight champion of the world. Defending champion Wladimir Klitschko stopped Thompson to hold on to his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles on Saturday night.
The 36-year-old Klitschko, 58-3 with 51 knockouts, dropped Thompson with a huge right hand toward the end of the fifth round at Stade de Suisse in Bern, Switzerland, and the 40-year-old challenger never recovered.
Thompson was dropped again in the sixth, and referee Sam Williams gave him a standing count prior to stopping the fight with 4 seconds left in the round. "Thompson was not so easy to box. I'm satisfied," Klitschko said.
Coming into the fight, Thompson had fought just once over the past year and a half and had been inactive inside the boxing ring since May 27, 2011, when he scored a third round technical knockout of a lightly regarded opponent. He has moved on with real life, comfortable for the most part leaving behind the excesses and enticement of professional prize fighting.
Thompson, the mandatory challenger, had his record fall to 36-3 (24 Knockout). "Tony Thompson is very hard to hit," said Klitschko's trainer, Emanuel Steward. "Tony was watching Wladimir's right hand all night."
A feel-him-out opening round was followed by a physical second, as Klitschko wrestled Thompson to the floor, twice. In the third, Thompson became less cautious and landed a left to the Ukrainian champion's face.
Finally, Klitschko landed a straight right hand in the fifth and the round came to an end with Thompson on the ropes. Toward the end of the sixth, the challenger found himself cornered and Klitschko landed a series of blows to the head though no single punch appeared to cause any real damage.
"I got caught but I'm okay," Thompson said after the fight. "He's strong and he's world heavyweight champion for a reason."
Klitschko continued his dominance of the heavyweight division. His older brother, Vitali, is also a heavyweight champion, holding the WBC title. As in most of Wladimir's fights, Vitali was in his corner, and in the third round acted as a cheerleader, encouraging the fans in the soccer stadium when the first chants of "Klitschko! Klitschko!" arose.
Vitali will defend his championship against Manuel Charr of Germany in Moscow on Sept. 8.