The search to fill the vacant position atop the IBF's heavyweight rankings could be nearly over. Or it could only be hitting a slight bump before going back into its tailspin of finding anyone who wants to get in the ring with Kubrat Pulev. Other heavyweights, most notably Tomask Adamek and Tyson Fury, have turned down the opportunity to be a part of the IBF eliminator against Pulev. However, there may be a hint of light at the end of the tunnel.
Tony Thompson, who appeared to be on the doorstep of retirement coming into this year, has suddenly found himself with the most momentum of his entire career. Two upset stoppage wins over David Price have vaulted the 41 year-old American back into contender status, a place it appeared he may not return to after his second loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Thompson, hoping to keep the train going, has signed on to fight Pulev on August 24 for the IBF's top ranking according to Phil D. Jay at World Boxing News.
The only potential hiccup is that the IBF must sanction the bout as its official eliminator.
Here is what promoter Kalle Sauerland had to say, via World Boxing News:
"We have signed Pulev v. Thompson for the August 24 date. However we need an IBF approval that it will be a final eliminator.
"We respect the IBF greatly and have followed every rule in their book and have done so in writing, so we believe that the fight must be quickly sanctioned."
The one thing that may jump out at you is the fact that this would be a very quick turn around for Thompson following his win over Price on July 6. Thompson took some big shots early in the fight, and one has to wonder if a 41 year-old man needs a little more time to recover. Nevertheless, if he has indeed signed, he and his camp must feel confident about their chances. Certainly can't say Thompson is not trying to make the most out of his late-career run.
If the fight is sanctioned, the winner would become the top contender for Wladimir Klitschko's IBF belt.