Wladimir Klitschko returns to the ring on July 7 in Switzerland, facing Tony Thompson in a rematch. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Wladimir Klitschko will defend his world heavyweight championship in a rematch with Tony Thompson on July 7, which was the expected date, but the fight won't be happening in Germany, where Klitschko usually fights, or in Washington, DC, where Thompson and promoter Dan Goossen hoped they could stage the fight. Instead, the two fighters will head to Bern, Switzerland, for the event.
Thompson was fairly well dominated and knocked out in the 11th round by Klitschko when the first met in July 2008, but was named the IBF mandatory late last year when an eliminator fight with Eddie Chambers (another past Klitschko victim) was canceled after an injury to Chambers.
The 40-year-old Thompson says he believes he can pull the upset this time.
"I have been waiting a long time for this rematch. Last time I had an injury which I suffered in training. In Bern, I will complete what I missed out four years ago. I will knock Klitschko out and take all his belts to the US."But no matter the predictions from the challenger, it goes without saying that 36-year-old Klitschko (57-3, 50 KO) will be the massive favorite. Thompson is considered, as Klitschko says, one of the tougher opponents for Wladimir in recent years, but that's not saying much. Thompson won maybe two rounds of the 10 completed the first time out.
"Thompson is a strong and difficult opponent fighting southpaw," Klitschko said via press release. "He has a very good technique and gave me one of the toughest challenges in my career.
"Through his height it is a fight at eye level and I know that he has gained a lot of confidence through his winning streak. I am looking forward to defending my titles in Bern where my brother Vitali fought in 2009 with great support of the Swiss crowd."
Thompson (36-2, 24 KO) is on a five-fight winning streak since losing to Wladimir, with those wins coming over Adnan Serin, Chazz Witherspoon, Owen Beck, Paul Marinaccio, and Maurice Harris. Needless to say, none of those wins were unexpected, nor do any of them prepare him to face Wladimir Klitschko. But Wladimir tried to sell Jean-Marc Mormeck as an opponent, too, comparing him to Mike Tyson, so this is far from the silliest sell of Wladimir's 2012.