By Johnny Walker
In what he hopes will be the second of three fights in 2012, world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko will face off with American heavyweight veteran Tony “The Tiger” Thompson on June 7 in Berne, Switzerland, according to a report on ESPN.com.
Klitschko, who just celebrated his 36th birthday, defeated Thompson by an 11th round knockout in 2008. Thompson, however, unlike many of the opponents Klitschko has faced on his current run of victories, put up a very good fight against the Ukrainian, even bloodying him up early on.
Now 40 years old, Thompson–a mandatory challenger for Klitschko’s IBF title–is approximately the same height as the champion, and claims that he was far less than 100% when he fought Klitschko for the first time.
“I know in my heart that I wasn’t at my best that night,” Thompson said recently. “It’s not an excuse. It’s well-documented that I had surgeries after that fight. I was on one leg and pressed that fight. He couldn’t get that fighter out until the 11th round. Proper conditioning and clean living always keeps me ready. I want to now see what I can do against him while I have two good legs.”
According to ESPN, should he prevail against Thompson, Klitschko wants to return to the United States to take on another American, Cristobal Arreola, in November at Madison Square Garden. Arreola lost to WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in 2009, but has since rededicated himself to boxing and is currently on a seven-fight winning streak.