John Thompson: “I’m Not Losing Sleep Over Liam Smith”



New Jersey super-welterweight John Thompson IV bulldozed his way to a world title opportunity this Saturday by icing touted LA prospect Brandon Adams with a single spectacular left hook in May.

But the 26 year old landscape and portrait artist insists that it’s his mesmerising skills that will see him land the vacant WBO title when he swaps leather with Liverpool’s Liam Smith at Manchester Arena.

‘That knockout just happened naturally. I do have strength but I certainly don’t rely on it. First and foremost, I’m a pure boxer; smart, intelligent, adaptable,’ stresses the self-managed 6ft 1in stylist who has lost just once in 18 paid starts.

‘Victory will be the start of John Thompson dominating the junior-middleweight division, picking up all the belts that Floyd Mayweather left behind. I intend to be considered number one at 154, the best I can possibly be.’

Though a well rounded and articulate individual, the former United Airlines employee has been scrapping for as long as he can remember.

He explains: ‘I grew up in Newark, New Jersey which was a pretty rough town with a lot of street gangs and stuff but it was also a pretty cool place. There’s a lot of very talented people who come out of there.

‘My father John Wesley Thompson III had been a fighter and he started me out at the boxing gym when I was just four years old. Under my father’s tutelage, I had the first of my 111 amateur fights aged six and went on to win several Silver and Golden Gloves titles plus the prestigious Ohio Fair tournament. In 2009 I boxed on the US national team. All told, I won 89 amateur fights beating the likes of (current WBA welterweight king) Keith Thurman and Glen Tapia.’

For professional purposes the deep thinking Thompson uses the ring handle of ‘Apollo Kidd’.

‘It’s Kidd with two d’s,’ he stresses.

‘I’m not a child but I’m still youthful at heart. The Apollo comes from the Greek god of music, son of Zeus and Leto, a very talented individual, as am I. The (nick)name also honours the 1969 US spaceship that landed on the moon. ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!’ That’s me. I don’t just box for my own glory, I hope to open doors for everybody else. I view myself as a motivator, innovator.’

And it is not only inside the prize ring that this creative individual tries to put things down on canvas. Though the Denis Porter coached fighter abdicated from his position with UA in the summer of 2014 to allow greater focus on his boxing ambitions, he continues to moonlight as a  painter and his company Divine Artist has provided art work for the likes of Andre Ward and Miley Cyrus. 

‘I started drawing in the third grade, then later attended the Cicely Tyson School of Performing Arts in New Jersey where I found my own structure, developed my own route,’ he says. 

After ditching his singlet and head guard in June 2011, the slick and crafty stylist motored to 14 wins (five quick) whilst apprenticing in the fight clubs of America’s east coast. However, in a January 2014 crossroads clash with Brooklyn’s unbeaten Frank Galarza, he was rubbed out inside two rounds.

‘The first round went greatly for me but I came out unprepared for the second and got caught by a good punch. In top class that’s all it takes,’ reflects Thompson who was then dormant from the ring for 13 months.

‘But the year lay-off was nothing to do with me thinking about quitting. I simply got injured in a ‘hit and run’ when a jeep smashed into my motor cycle.’

He finally resurfaced this February as an unfancied late notice entrant for the ESPN network’s Boxcino tournament where a brace of point wins moved him into the final against Adams. He rose from a first round knockdown to take care of business in dramatic fashion.

 ‘Boxcino provided a perfect opportunity for me to redeem myself,’ says Thompson whose last seven opponents have lost just five times in 88 starts combined.

‘Prior to the Galarza loss and lay-off the contenders were scared to chance themselves against me. But because of the way I lost, I guess they assumed I didn’t have a chin. Did everybody think I wasn’t working to correct my mistakes in the interim?!’

‘The knockdown against me was nothing. The referee administered an eight count when I tripped on the rope. He later apologised to me for his mistake.’

While Saturday’s spat with ‘Beefy’ Smith represents his first pro start outside the USA, Thompson is no stranger to the UK and will land in Manchester with his own small pocket of support.

He explains: ‘My best friend married a lady in Scotland but he passed three years ago. I’m godfather to their child. I’ve visited them 11 times and they’ve adopted me as part of their family. They’re all coming to the fight to support me and I expect to perform.

‘I saw the big response that Ricky Hatton got from the Manchester fans but I’m certainly not worried about fighting there. I view it as a positive opportunity for me to broaden my fan base, show the world what John Thompson IV is all about.’

Having scrutinised the unbeaten Smith, ‘Apollo Kidd’ anticipates an almighty battle but nevertheless expects to return through customs with the WBO belt packed neatly into his luggage.

‘I’ve seen tapes of Liam box and I’ve heard him speak. He won’t underestimate me. He knows he’s in for a fight,’ he says.

‘He’s an okay boxer, a pretty basic, come forward type. On Saturday, I expect to see the fittest, best Liam Smith against the fittest, best John Thompson. But I’m certainly not losing any sleep over this guy!’

Flangan v Magdaleno and Smith v Thompson headline a stunning night of championship boxing with a further SIX big title fights: Jack Catterall defends his WBO Intercontinental Super-Lightweight title against Jarkko Putkonen; Luke Blackledge defends his Commonwealth Super-Middleweight title against Lee Markham; Tom Stalker and Craig Evans clash for the Vacant WBO European Lightweight Championship; Jimmy Kelly and Martin Fidel Rios collide for the Vacant WBO Intercontinental Super-Welterweight Championship; Adrian Gonzalez and John Kays face off for the Vacant WBO Intercontinental Super-Featherweight Championship; Ryan Burnett and Gagi Edisherashvili square off for the Vacant WBO European Bantamweight Championship.  On the undercard 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist and Indian boxing sensation Vijender Singh makes his professional debut, plus Jack Flatly makes his pro-debut and finally Dale Coyne completes the card. 

Remaining tickets for World War III are available from, Manchester Arena on 0844 847 8000 and Eventim on and 0844 249 1000.

The Channel Of Champions, BoxNation, will televise live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 415. Subscribe at or watch online at or via iPhone, iPad or Android. 

 *Tickets subject to booking fee.

Photos: Boxcino 2015 Finals Weigh In


ORANGE, Calif. (May 21, 2015) – ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” final broadcast features two outstanding fights in the heavyweight and junior middleweight divisions that will decide the 2015 Boxcino Champions.

Below are photos from Thursday’s weigh in from the Boxcino Finals that will take place on Friday at the Omega Products International Outdoor Arena in Corona, California.  The show begins at 10:00 ET on ESPN 2 as the finale of ESPN Friday Night Fights.

The Boxcino 2015 tournament is promoted by Banner Promotions.  Friday’s show is promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions.



Heavyweight finals–Andrey Fedosov (l) and Donovan Dennis


Jr. Middleweight finals. John Thompson (l) and Brandon Adams



Andrey Fedosov



Donovan Dennis


John Thompson


Brandon Adams

Photos by Emily Harney / Banner Promotions

Undercard Announced for may 22nd Boxcino 2015 Finals On ESPN2



ORANGE, Calif. (May 19, 2015) – ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” final broadcast features two outstanding fights in the heavyweight and junior middleweight divisions that will decide the 2015 Boxcino Champions.

The 10-round junior middleweight final showcases Boxcino tournament veteran Brandon Adams (16-1, 12 KOs) of Los Angeles against the smooth boxing skills of John Thompson (16-1, 5 KOs) of Newark, New Jersey. The finalists will compete for the Boxcino crown on Friday, May 22, from the Omega Products Outdoor Arena in Corona, Calif. Also on the line – the NABA Interim Super Welterweight title, and the WBO Intercontinental junior middleweight belt.  

Tickets for the Boxcino Finals are priced at $50, $70, & $100, and are available for purchase online at or by calling 714-935-0900.

The double main event features heavyweight talents Donovan Dennis (14-2, 11 KOs) of Davenport, Iowa and Andrey Fedosov (27-3, 22 KOs) of Russia in a 10-round fight to determine the 2015 Boxcino Heavyweight Champion. Dennis-Fedosov will also fight for the WBA Fedelatin and WBO Intercontinental heavyweight titles. 

The Boxcino Tournament is Promoted by Banner Promotions and televised on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” (ESPN2 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT).  The show on Friday is co-promoted through Thompson Boxing Promotions and Banner Promotions.

The undercard features crafty super bantamweight Isaac Zarate (10-1-1,1 KO) of Los Angeles against Fernando Fuentes (5-4-1, 1 KO) of Hemet, Calif. Outside of the two televised bouts, the 8-round fight between Zarate and Martinez is among the most eagerly anticipated fights of the night.

“Zarate is one of the most exciting, young boxers in the 122 lb. division,” said Ken Thompson, president of Thompson Boxing. “He won’t blow you away with power, but his hand speed and work rate are definitely worth the cost of admission.”

“I’m looking forward to a great night of boxing,” said Artie Pelullo, president of Banner Promotions. “It’s a great card all around, and the Boxcino finals will be fan friendly fights where two new world title contenders will emerge.”

Zarate, a southpaw, makes life difficult for opponents by using an unlimited energy supply to launch punches from all sorts of angles. He’s elusive in that he darts in and out of danger spots, which makes landing combinations on him a difficult matter.

“I try not to stay in the same spot for too long,” said the 23-year-old Zarate. “By moving and changing the pace, my opponents typically can’t time my movements.”

In other action, Colombian lightweight Andres Figueroa (5-0, 3 KOs) faces fellow prospect Angel Martinez (5-1-1, 1 KO) of San Antonio, Tex. in a 6-round fight.

Humberto Rubalcava (1-0, 1 KO), a Riverside native who turned professional in April, faces super bantamweight Richard Tallmadge, who will be making his pro debut (4-rounds).

A pair of young welterweights in Eridani Leon (2-1) of Mexico and Isaac Freeman (1-1, 1 KO) of Los Angeles square off in a 4-round bout.

Also, Canadian junior middleweight prospect Cody Crowley (3-0, 2 KOs) will fight an opponent to be named later (4-rounds).

Opening the event is undefeated super bantamweight Adam Lopez (11-0, 6 KOs) of San Antonio going up against the veteran Miguel Tamayo (16-12-2, 14 KOs) of Mexico (6-rounds). 

The Omega Products Outdoor Arena is located at 1681 California Ave., Corona, CA 92881 and can be reached at 951-737-7447. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. PT. and the first bout begins at 6:15 p.m. PT.

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