By Chris Cella
On December 1 at Madison Square Garden—the Mecca of boxing—light middleweight prospect John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson (9-0, 3 KO) will be looking to extend his unbeaten streak to 10 fights against an opponent to be named, part of an action packed undercard leading up to the WBA world light middleweight championship between belt holder Austin Trout and Miguel Cotto.
At 23-years-old, Thompson has already established himself as a rising star of the division, utilizing his speed and unorthodox style to pick apart one opponent after another. Fighting on the big stage is nothing new to light middleweight up-and-comer, as he put on a show for hometown fans at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on a Tomasz Adamek card this past June, defeating John Mackey via unanimous decision.
Anxious to get out and make a statement December 1 at MSG, Thompson commented, “This is a big thing for me. Being a Cotto fight in New York City, there are going to be a lot of people there. With it being a championship fight card, it is a great opportunity to be seen and get my name out there.”
Remaining active within the squared circle, Thompson has already fought six times this year, and wants to end the year with a strong performance on the biggest stage of his young career to set himself up for a potential fight for a belt in 2013.
To optimize his training and give himself the best chance of working towards his dream of one day fighting for a world championship, Thompson has brought on renowned trainer Buddy McGirt to the team.
Despite coming into this fight this Saturday following the longest layout of his career, Thompson doesn’t feel it will affect him when he goes to work between the ropes.
“Although I haven’t been active as far as fighting goes, I still have been sparring and working out hard,” he says. “Training never stops.”
To prepare for his upcoming bout, Thompson has been working with stable mate and WBA world light middleweight champion Trout in conjunction with Greg Cohen Promotions and manager William Mielnicki. He knows the opportunity to shine on such a big fight card can attract the attention of the game’s biggest promoters and in turn line himself up for bigger fights.
Through the first nine fights of his career, Thompson has shown the ring poise and experience of a seasoned veteran, with the hand and foot speed to move up the rankings of the division.
The young pugilist attributes the success he finds within the ring to his father’s unrelenting diligence to work with him and teach him the sweet science.
“My dad got me in the boxing gym at the age of four, and when I was six I began competing,” said Thompson.
“He always told me that you want the last round to look better than the first round. In the first round you’re not supposed to be trying to conserve energy … boxing is 90 percent mental, and 10 percent physical. You have to be strong mentally to be able to last.”
Thompson has the chance to show the boxing world what he has on December 1 when he goes to battle at MSG, and an impressive win can easily put him in line to be fighting for one of the belts in early 2013.
“Going forward next year, I plan to have a couple bigger fights, and try to move my way up the ranks. That’s my goal for next year, and I want to win a belt.”
John Thompson has the skills and tools to make a big name for himself in the light middleweight division, and if his first nine fights are indicative of what lies ahead for the young fighter, then it seems he will have a promising future.