Boxing Chatter

BY David A. Avila ON February 15, 2007

Thompson and Ibragimov in heavyweight showdown at Playboy Mansion

Washington, D.C. is known for its marble halls housing politicians and its high schools that produce basketball stars, but rarely have boxers emerged from the nation’s capital.

Now meet Tony “The Tiger” Thompson who intends to put the D.C. stamp in the ring.

“I want people to know all about D.C. fighters,” said Thompson (28-1, 17 KOs). “There’s a lot of good talent coming from my town.”

Thompson meets heavyweight contender Timor Ibraimov (21-1-1, 13 KOs) at the Playboy Mansion in Bel Air today for the WBC Continental Americas title before a nationwide audience. The Goossen Tutor Promoted show will be televised on the Fox Sports Net show called the Best Damn Sports Show Period.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Thompson, 35, says.

At six-feet-five-inches, Thompson not only has the size to deal with opponents, but he’s a southpaw too.

“I guess that’s why I haven’t had the fights I should have had,” says Thompson about his southpaw style.

Ibragimov’s last fight was a boring 12-round affair against Calvin Brock. The native of Uzbekistan was never hurt but fought in 115-degree heat outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He’s out to prove he’s worthy of another title shot.

While Thompson has beaten Dominick Guinn, Maurice Wheeler, Vaughn Bean, Yanqui Diaz, Zuri Lawrence and a number of other good American heavyweights, Ibragimov needs to beat at least one more to prove he belongs in another world title opportunity.
Thompson knows little about his opponent. But he knows it won’t be easy.

“This is a business trip,” Thompson said. “It’s all about business.”

When boxing fans watch the proceedings from the world famous Playboy Mansion, they’ll be seeing a pivotal moment in the heavyweight division. Will it be another former Soviet Union boxer succeed or will it be another American step forward?

“I’m always going to be doing it for my city. I’m proud of D.C.,” said Thompson. “I’m anxious to show what I’ve accomplished in this game.”

Morongo Casino fight card

A trio of local fighters from the Riverside area lead a Friday night fight card at the Casino Morongo promoted by Two Feathers Promotions.

Junior featherweight Mike Franco, welterweight Jose Reynoso and flyweight Anthony Villareal headline the boxing action at Morongo.

Franco has been steamrolling the competition and will be featured in the main event. No opponents have been named for Franco, Reynoso and Villareal.

For ticket information call (866) 388-8084.

Television fights galore

If you like to watch boxing on television Friday night will be filled with it. Five separate boxing shows will be televised including a heavyweight showdown featuring Tony “The Tiger” Thompson facing Timor Ibragimov. The fight card televised by Fox Sports Net takes place at the Playboy Mansion.

Other televised fight cards include former junior middleweight champion Verno Phillips meeting Eddie Sanchez. That card will be shown on ESPN.

Giovanni Segura, a knockout specialist from Acapulco who now lives in South Gate, meets Jesus Martinez on a card televised on Telefutura. Segura loves knockouts. He’s insulted if it goes to a decision. It should be a rousing flyweight battle for the vacant NABF junior flyweight title.

Two other televised fight cards also take place on Showtime and Telemundo.

Hopkins to fight Wright

Golden Boy Promotions announced Bernard Hopkins will be meeting Winky Wright on July 21. The two will meet at a catch weight of 170 pounds.

Hopkins, who is a co-partner with Oscar De La Hoya in Golden Boy Promotions, anxiously told the media following Shane Mosley’s triumph over Luis Collazo that contracts have been signed for the showdown.

Last summer Hopkins beat Antonio Tarver in a light heavyweight contest. Hopkins is rated as the true light heavyweight champion.

Wright convincingly beat Ike Quartey several months ago and has a partnership co-promoting fight cards with Golden Boy Promotions.

Vicente Escobedo changing trainers

Though it’s not official, junior lightweight prospect Vicente Escobedo may change trainers. Currently he’s coached by Freddie Roach, but the recent agreement to prepare Oscar De La Hoya has prompted Escobedo’s advisers to seek a temporary alternative.

“We’re thinking of taking him to Nacho Beristain,” said Anthony Escobar, who advises Escobedo. “Vicente has that stand up style and we think Beristain would be the right guy to work with him.”

In Escobedo’s last fight he won by unanimous decision over veteran Priest Smalls in a 10-round junior lightweight bout in Sacramento.

BWAA 2006 Awards

The Boxing Writers Association of America announced the 2006 winners. Manny Pacquiao was voted Fighter of the Year and his manager Freddie Roach as Trainer of the Year.

The fight between Somsak Sithchatchawal and Mahyar Monshipour that took place in France has won the Fight of the Year. It might have taken a lot out of Sithchatchawal because in his next fight 10 months later, he was obliterated by Panama’s Celestino Caballero in three rounds. Or, maybe this guy Caballero is truly great. He put the only loss on Daniel Ponce De Leon and that was accomplished emphatically.

HBO’s Larry Merchant was given the James J. Walker Award for long and meritorious service. He’s one of the best in any era as an analyst.

Top Rank’s Lee Samuels and Ricardo Jimenez were voted as a tandem for the Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award as the top media relation proponents for the year.

Showtime’s Steve Albert was selected the top boxing announcer award.

Muhammad Ali was voted the Pat Putnam Award for perseverance.

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