WBA/WBO/IBF/IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and his opponent, top-rated contender Tony Thompson hosted an international Media Conference Call discussing the upcoming Klitschko-Thompson II world heavyweight championship rematch, which will take place Saturday, July 7, at the Stade de Suisse in Bern, Switzerland, and will be televised live in the U.S. exclusively on EPIX, the multiplatform premium entertainment service.
EpixHD.com will stream the fight live as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans. The telecast and the live stream will begin at 5:00 p.m. ET / 2:00 p.m. PT.
As has become the custom, EPIX will once again present the closed-captioned simulcast of this world championship rumble on its jumbotron in Times Square in New York City (Broadway between 44th and 45th Sts.)
Question: What is different about this time around? Why would fans or anyone believe that this fight's going to end any differently than the first one did?
Tony Thompson: Well I don't know why the fans would, but I know why me and my team -- you know everybody in my team knew I had an injury in the first fight, it's hard enough to fight Klitschko with two legs, but I really was on one leg.
I had a torn meniscus in my knee. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to train throughout training camp or you know prepare for the heavyweight championship of the world. I think this time, we were able to prepare.
And, you know, with a healthy body we actually have a legitimate shot – I can’t help what anybody else thinks if I have a legitimate shot -- but we know and so that's all that matters to me.
Q: Tony, if you win the fight you become the first American heavyweight champion in quite a long time, since Shannon Briggs had the title of -- briefly. Is that in your mind? Does it matter to you? How proud would you be if you could be the one to accomplish that? Can you talk to us about that aspect since it's basically on July 4th weekend.
Tony Thompson: Obviously it's going to be big for me -- for my family -- for the United States. You know I'm hoping, I realize I don't have the support of a lot of the United States fans, they haven't been given somebody they can get behind wholeheartedly for a long time I am hoping after this fight they will.
You know, they going to see that I'm going to be a guy -- I might not have, you know, the biggest punch of fighters out there, I don't have the greatest Holyfield body. Matter of fact, I've got the early 1990s Larry Holmes body.
So, you know, I got the radio face -- not the pretty face. I understand their unwillingness not to come to this right now. But, you know, when they see my honest effort what they will see is a guy who is going to give an honest effort up in there every time. I’m coming in there to win every time, you know, make no mistake of that.
And -- and for the United States to see a guy like that willing to go into the heat of the battle and actually fight this guy who's been a great champ for so long, I think that's going to convince a lot of 'em to come on inside, especially after they see -- they see the great victory I'm going to pull off.
Q: Tony, I was just wondering if you could kind of detail, what was wrong -- what the specific injury was going into the first Klitschko fight and when it started to hamper you and kind of how it hindered your training and all that, and -- and specifically how it injured you in the fight, as well?
Tony Thompson: Well, I had a torn meniscus in my right knee. So, you know, it hampered me in terms of I couldn't do all the road work and all the extra work you have to do to prepare for a guy like a Wladimir Klitschko.
I've always told people if you cannot master a (conditioning) you have no chance. And that just proves to be (inaudible) be the truth.
I mean, obviously going in the fight I was so hyped up about fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world I ignored the (knee) pain. You know, I tried to do my best in terms of training. I sparred hard. My team knew I sparred hard. But when it came down to it, you know, my leg got tired early in the fight. I wasn't able to push off.
Anybody that saw the punch stats knew I outlanded Wladimir. I kept going up in punches landed. I was the only guy that consecutively in three different rounds, you know, went higher and higher in terms of the punches that I landed on him. And that has never been done in his career.
But the problem that happened to me (inaudible) didn't have the power to drive through those punches. I didn't have the two legs to stand on to actually sit down on those punches and deliver them with heavyweight-type force.
You know, you put me in better conditioning, with more strength on my legs and still being able to touch him as often as I did. And I'd like to see, you know, how the results could be different. You know, nobody going to be able to convince, you know, yes, I'm a light-hitting heavyweight, but I'm still 240-plus pounds. And I don't care if you've got a guy hitting you 240-plus pounds multi -- multi times in any round, you know, anything could happen.
And (inaudible) to see me with two legs up under me the difference.
Q: How's training camp? And what do you think you'll see that's new from Tony Thompson in this rematch?
Wladimir Klitschko: Training camp is going along well. I just got back from my workout, and got on this conference call. I think that the coming fight with Tony Thompson is going to be very challenging and very exciting, and I just want to (inaudible) everyone and all the boxing fans to watch this fight because it's going to be definitely not an easy job for me.
And -- and I'm expecting from Tony Thompson to be as aggressive as possible, because that's his last chance for sure to fight for a championship. And I think Tony Thompson knows it pretty well. I think he knows it better than anyone else. Not as good as (inaudible), but he knows what to do and he has been around for a long time. He has been here at training camp in (Austria) and he was a sparring partner for Vitali's fight against Juan Carlos Gomes.
He was my sparring partner in the fight that was a long time ago, 2003, in my fight with Corrie Sanders. I've fought Tony Thompson. So I think -- I think he knows -- Tony knows it pretty good and I believe that he's super-motivated because that's his last chance.
And it's always a tough job to get the title, but it's even tougher to defend the title, or titles in this case. But I'm wanting it, I mean the job that I'm doing, and I -- I'm actually looking forward to the challenge. And to be honest with you, I'm really looking forward to the challenge because that's the man that's coming up to me. I don't need to run behind and chase (inaudible) the ring as it was in (inaudible) fight.
So the man is going -- going to come up to me, which is (inaudible) great. So I'm definitely looking forward to this opportunity to fight Tony Thompson again.
One more thing that I want to say, I didn't choose Tony Thompson to fight. I'm forced to fight Tony Thompson because he's, for all the respect that I want to give him, he has been fighting his way back to the top to become number one challenger in position -- number one at the IBF. And so I have to defend my IBF title and fight him.
Q: Wladimir, when Tony came on and spoke to us just before you got on the call, one of the things he talked about was that in the first fight he claimed that he had a torn meniscus in his knee, hampered his training, and then, of course, hampered him as well in the fight.
I'm wondering, did you notice anything about his knee when you fought him the first time? Do you think it's an excuse? Or what do you make of that? And now he says he's healthy and it will be a different fight.
Wladimir Klitschko: So I will suggest to Tony Thompson to fill out application and to tell in advance what kind of injuries he has this time. So we know in advance what is going on. Because in the first fight, he said to me tete-a-tete, even you know, without press, he said, "Wladimir, I'm going to beat you; I know what to do with you; I'm going to win this fight."
And he was very self-confident. I mean, he was super-confident and there has been nothing spoken about any knee injury.
And I don't want to mention the kind of injuries I have, but however, whatever was there, I think -- I think in anyway he was very tough and he was giving me a good fight. I don't want to take credit for that, but as I said, my suggestion is just fill out application just say you, you know, what kind of injuries he's having right now so we're aware of that.
Q: You said you did not pick Tony to fight. Would you have considered him if you had your choice?
Wladimir Klitschko: I would consider -- I mean, I'm going to be pretty honest and open here. I would rather take some -- some fighters that I hadn't fought. Someone new. But I had no choice. So I have to defend my titles, and I think that to fight Tony Thompson is definitely not an easy job, so it's not going to be a vacation fight for me.
So it's going to be challenging and -- and tough, and I -- and I on one hand. On the other hand, as I said, if you ask me would I choose Tony Thompson or fight someone else, I probably would go for some new names and the fighters that I haven't fought.
But whatever we have, we have here, and I have to -- I have to say something -- something good about Tony Thompson. He has been focusing on this fight, on this rematch for a long time -- because I've been watching all the fights and his comments after the fights. And he was like -- he was always mentioning the name of (inaudible) and he's going to get eventually the rematch.
And that shows that man is determined to make a fight. And now the time -- time passed by fast, four years. Now he's going to be in the ring next week Saturday.
I want to say thank you very much to EPIX to broadcasting for televising fights in the United States. It's a great opportunity for us and you guys are doing such a great job because we do have a lot of fans in the states.
And before talking about the fans, I have to mention to you I'm going to (inaudible) in the ring with tons of fans that are supporting me in this fight there from the United States and all over the world. We had what I think on our Facebook site, we have over 600,000 hardcore fans on the (inaudible) site. And in like five days or seven days, we had an auction to be part of the supporting that was for free. You didn't need to pay the money, with a special application that it (inaudible) on, and your name is landing on my trunks and on my robe.
So I'm going to fight on July 7 in Bern with over 10,000 fans that in this five or seven days have applied this application, and that their names are going to be printed on my trunks and on my robe.
And eventually, after the fight, we're going to auction those trunks and the robe for projects for children in need, in the case of sport and education. And I'm very excited about it because it's something that -- that is also aside from boxing, can, you know, (inaudible) conversations, you know, what the challenger or the champion going to do, you know, in the fight, and we're going to do -- and also Tony Thompson because he's part of it. I mean, (inaudible) in the fight. Without him, it's going to be impossible.
But to have the fans jumping on my trunks and robe, and also thank you very much to everyone that was participated in this auction, and we're going to raise a lot of money for the kids in need.