Lionell Thompson on a Mission to Move Up the Rankings

MIAMI (May 16, 2013) —  Rejuvenated by back-to-back victories over favored fighters, light heavyweight Lionell “Lonnie B” Thompson is back on the right track, and still following his dream.
A decorated amateur out of Buffalo, Thompson (14-2, 9 KOs) is now living in Miami and planning to use the invaluable experience he’s gained as a sparring partner for Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Lucian Bute, Troy Ross, Issac Chilemba and David Lemieux.
“I’m the best-kept secret in boxing,” a confident Thompson said.  “I know it’s only sparring, but I’ve more than held my own against world champions and top contenders.  I’m like Marvin Hagler.  He kept winning but didn’t get recognition until he beat Tommy Hearns.   
“My problem was that I needed the right people behind me.  I had bad management but not anymore with my new manager, Kevin Dever. All I have to do is train and focus on my fight, not worry about getting enough money to live and eat.  I’m just going to keep winning; Kevin has some ideas in mind for me.  Others may think I’m only a stepping-stone but I will be world champion one day.”
Dever took notice of Thompson in Palm Beach, where Lionell was Bute’s sparring partner.  “It was only sparring but I saw how quick he was and the way he was connecting with his punches,” Dever explained his peaked interest.  “I was even more impressed when I talked to him.  He’s bright with a college background and very respectful.  If brought along right, after a few more fights with experienced opponents, I really believe he’ll be world champion.”
Thompson won his first 12 professional fights, highlighted by a win by decision in 2011 over former world champion Abdullah Ramadan, who had defeated two-time world champion John David Jackson.
A year ago, Thompson took a fight against the show promoter’s fighter, then top 10-rated Nicholson Poulard (17-3), former world light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal’s brother.  Thompson lost a 10-round split decision (97-93, 39-97, 94-96), fighting in his opponent’s backyard, and four months later he made an ill-advised decision to fight rising star Sergey Kovalev on only two-week notice.   Thompson was stopped for the only time in his career, losing by third-round technical knockout.
“He won’t be doing that anymore,” Dever noted.  “He’ll have a minimum six-week training camp from now on.  He was rushed too soon.  He’s a free agent.  If a promoter offers us a good deal, great, but, if not, we’ll do things ourselves.”
Fighting once again as a “B” side opponent, as well as in his opponent’s hometown, Thompson bounced back this past February, when Chuck Mussachio (18-2-2) failed to answer the bell for the third round.
In his last fight on May 11 in Huntington, New York, once again as an underdog matched against the show promoter’s undefeated prospect, Yathomas Riley (8-0), Thompson reestablished himself as a force to be reckoned with in the 175-pound divisions. 
Riley was a blue-chip amateur  – 2006 National Golden Gloves champion who came close to qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team – whose pro career was derailed because he was unjustly incarcerated for two years.  Thompson, though, also has a rich amateur pedigree having been rated as high as No. 2 in the US, as well as being a five-time New York Golden Glove and three-time Empire State champion.
Thompson boxed his way to a solid eight-round decision (79-73, 77-75 twice), in which the boxer and his manger both felt, realistically, should have been 79-73 across the board.  “He lost the first round but then showed his smarts in the ring,” Dever added. “Riley was tough and he wasn’t going to get knocked out.  Once Lionell realized that, he boxed his way to a good win.”
Thompson’s career has a new lease on life.  He should be moving back up in regional ratings after beating Riley (right now NABA #11, USBA #13 and NABF #16) and outside the ring, he is only one class shy of earning a degree from Buffalo State College, majoring in health and wellness.
At this rate the flashy 27-year-old may not be boxing’s best-kept secret much longer.

Ross Aiming to Checkmate Hernandez

Only a few days to go before IBF Cruiserweight Champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (26-1, 13 KOs) is hoping to defend his title against mandatory Troy Ross (25-2, 16 KOs) at Stechert Arena, Bamberg in Germany. At today’s press conference promoter Kalle Sauerland promised that the bout will be fought out at the highest level. “It’s one of the best match-ups this weight division has to offer!”

IBF-mandatory challenger Troy Ross agreed, stating, “Yoan Pablo Hernandez has some great boxing abilities and a powerful punch. He seems like a nice person but my all-around game is just better than his is. Boxing is similiar chess. And after I checkmate Hernandez I will be the new IBF World Cruiserweight Champion!”

Christopher Amos, the coach of 37-year-old Ross, is confident that his prodigy will take the belt of Hernandez: “In 2010, Troy lost a fight against
Steve Cunningham for the vacant IBF Title. Back then he lost the fight due to an injury to his eye. Afterwards, nobody wanted to fight him. They all feared the risk of losing against Troy. That’s why we didn’t get a second chance to fight Cunningham. That’s why I have a lot of respect for
Hernandez. At least he has the guts to face Troy Ross inside the ring.” Amos gave one bold argument why he believes Ross is going to end up being
the winner: “Skills pay the bills!”

After hearing that, Hernandez seized the moment and told the gathered press that his skills are superior to Ross. “I fought some world class opposition and ended up beating them. I know that Ross has some speed as well as a mean punch. But what can I say – I am not that bad either, to say the least.” The 27-year-old southpaw continued to speak about his preparation for the fight. “After I broke the metacarpal bone in my left hand during the fight against Steve Cunningham in February, it took some time before I was able to finally train properly again. Now, everything is all right and I got trough sparring without any problems.”

His coach Ulli Wegner seemed pretty relaxed himself before the fight. “Pablo is like Sven Ottke. Not often I have coached a fighter who can analyze and optimize his work out on the fly. He has an outstanding attitude to the sport of boxing. That’s what is going to pay the bills come Saturday night,” said the 70-year-old coach.