LOS ANGELES (Mar. 5) - As Wladimir Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs) made easy work of his voluntary opponent, Jean Marc Mormeck (36-5, 22 KOs) Saturday in Germany, a 6'5, 255 lb. heavyweight was watching from the states knowing he "Got Next." That man was Tony Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs), and he is the IBF mandatory challenger for Wladamir in a bout to take place no later than mid-July.
"I wasn't really impressed with either performance," said Thompson. "It was an infomercial at best. Mormeck is a tough cruiserweight but he's not an impressive opponent for the heavyweight champion of the world."
Thompson thought, "it was interesting that it seemed that Wladimir mentioned everyone in the division but me. I knew my shot was next, and I'm doing everything to solely focus on beating him. I just want to fight, point blank. It doesn't matter to me where it takes place. If he wants to come over here, great. If he wants to fight in Germany thats great too."
The two fought back in 2008, when Wladimir stopped "The Tiger" in round 11, making Tony one of only 7 fighters to make it to round 11 in the decorated champions 60 fights. But more importantly, many believe it was the most competitive bout in the champions last eleven defenses.
That was then. This is now.
Tony, who is fully recovered from injuries that had prevented him from entering his first bout with Wladimir at one-hundred percent has won all 5 of his bouts since that meeting, all by knockout.
After Eddie Chambers was forced to pull out from an October fight with Tony, the IBF declared that Thompson had emerged victorious from the four-man gauntlet as the IBF mandatory challenger for the world champion.
"I'm ready," says Thompson. "I'm done waiting for this part of my life to be over and I'm looking forward to becoming the heavyweight champion of the world."