Los Angeles, CA (November 11, 2008) – On December 13, 2008, a pair of prominent top heavyweight world title contenders will square off against each other with everything on the line, including their professional future at Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. The winner of Toney vs. Thompson, ‘Now or Never,’ emerges as the next major challenger to the Klitschko brothers, the reigning Heavyweight Champions.
In addition, the only-Olympic Gold Medalist for the United States in the past 12 years, Andre “SOG” Ward, will defend his NABO Super Middleweight Championship.
“Our sport along with the fans, want compelling bouts. In the Toney-Thompson fight, we’ve put together two fighters that are world ranked, battling against each other, and the winner guaranteed to being closer to fighting again for the most coveted title in sports – World Heavyweight Champion. This could not have been done without the fighters taking up the challenge,” promoter Dan Goossen exclaimed in making the announcement that “James ‘Lights Out’ Toney (70-6-3, 43 KOs), a living legend and future first ballot Hall of Famer, will be taking on another highly respected and top heavyweight contender in Tony ‘The Tiger’ Thompson, (31-2, 19 KOs).
“Adding Ward to the card makes this a debut blockbuster event for Goossen Tutor at California’s beautiful and prestigious Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon.”
Toney, the former multi-division champion and two-time “Fighter of the Year,” will go toe-to-toe with Thompson for the IBA World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of the featured televised bout which will air live on VERSUS at 9 PM ET.
Never lost for words or shy about delivering verbal power shots, Toney held nothing back in forecasting the outcome of this fight.
“Tony Thompson is gonna be the victim,” insisted the Ann Arbor, Michigan native now living in Los Angeles, California. “I’ll come out like I did against Hasim Rahman in the rematch (back in July). Rahman quit on his stool. I’m ready to go. I’ll fight ’em all. I’ll fight the Russian giants. Come December 13, I will definitely be in Thompson’s face and his lights will be turned out.
“I’m the people’s champ because I fight everybody and they know it,” Toney continued. “Everyone saw what I did to Sam Peter in our first fight. I whooped him good and just did the same thing to Rahman. Thompson is the next one I’ll expose. It took Klitschko 11 rounds to get him and I’m going to knock him out right onto Dan Goossen’s lap a lot sooner than that.”
Hailing from our nation’s capital, Silver Spring, Maryland-born Tony Thompson is making his first appearance since travelling to Germany back in July when he held his own in going eleven tough rounds against IBF and WBO World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko. It was the first loss in eight years for the veteran southpaw, after a competitive back-and-forth fight against the champion. Some thought that fight might be his one chance of winning a world heavyweight belt. But Thompson knew his future title fight hopes got a big boost with his gutsy and competitive performance against Klitschko.
“I am very excited the fight is happening with Toney. A win against someone at that level pushes me right back into a title fight,” Thompson said. At 6-6, 250 lbs., Thompson will have a decided height and weight advantage over Toney, who stands at 5-11 and weighs in the 230-pound range. “He’s very crafty, but doesn’t have the strength to keep me off of him. He will have trouble with my size and power and especially the experience I gained in my fight with Klitschko. This is a must win for me and whatever it takes to get it done is what I’ll be prepared to do. And I will get it done.”
“These are the type of events we enjoy bringing to the fans, big names in big fights;” Goossen pointed out, “in the Toney-Thompson fight, the winner is closer to a Heavyweight Championship, and the loser goes home. A 50/50 fight with everything on the line is just what the fans want to see.”
The second featured televised bout will showcase the #4 WBO and #5 WBC top rated Super Middleweight Contender Ward defending his belt for the first time. The Oakland, California native – who captured the NABO title by stopping former Dominican Olympian Jerson Ravelo last June in Grand Cayman — will be returning to action for the first time since that bout and undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery due to a non-boxing injury.
Ward is on track — if not destined — to follow in the footsteps of the previous two boxers to become America’s only Gold Medalists at their respective Olympic Games. Oscar de la Hoya did the honors at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the lightweight division and went on to win world championships as a professional in multiple weight classes. And David Reid won Gold in the light middleweight division in Atlanta in 1996. Guided by Dan Goossen, Reid went on to win the WBA World Light Middleweight crown in just his 10th professional fight in March 1999.
“My knee feels great and is not an issue and I am anxious to get back into the ring to defend my NABO title,” Ward stated. “A win puts me a few more rungs up the ladder toward my goal of becoming a world champion. It’s another step in the process.”
Ward’s dream of becoming a world champion professional boxer is targeted for 2009.
“When this breath of fresh air star enters the ring, the national media takes notice and, at 16-0, 11 KOs, Ward is knocking on the door to the world championship,” Goossen observed.
On December 13, Toney boldly predicts his time is ‘Now,’ while a confident Thompson responds ‘Never!’
‘Now or Never’ is promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions and will air live on VERSUS.
Doors open at 4 PM PT; first non-televised bout at 4:30 PM PT. The live VERSUS telecast begins at 9PM ET/6 PM PT.
Ticket information will follow shortly.