"Vicious" Vincent Thompson returns to ring
Updated time and place
"Vicious" Vincent Thompson returns to the ring Thursday night, resuming his quest to become heavyweight champion of the world.
The undefeated Federal Way fighter will square off against Yohan Banks (5-7-3, 3 KOs) in a six-round bout on the Fight Club OC card beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the The Hangar on the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Thompson (11-0, 2 KOs) last fought in May on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights," beating Joell Godfrey (14-7-1, 6 KOs) in eight rounds.
In the interim, Thompson's managers and trainers Calvin Thompson, of Federal Way, and Sam Ditusa, a Normandy Park resident, patiently pursued the best boxing management firm they could find to handle their fighter -- after parting ways amicably with Tacoma-based Brian Halquist Productions last year. Calvin Thompson is Vince's father.
They finally found the right fit in Roy Englebrecht Promotions, based in Southern California. Thompson signed a five-year promotional contract last month and will be fighting six times next year.
"To have the opportunity to sign and promote Vincent Thompson at this point in his career is an honor for my company," said Roy Englebrecht on Fightnews.com. "I believe Roy Englebrecht Promotions now has two of the top five heavyweight prospects in the country in Vince Thompson and Alexander Flores (10-0, 8 KOs) and the sky is the limit for both fighters."
It has been a long wait for Thompson.
"It's been a rough year for me," Thompson said today by phone from his Federal Way home. "I've been out of the loop, wondering why no one would pick me up. This is a great opportunity for me."
Thompson, 29, has been splitting workouts between Vision Quest in Auburn and Ring Demon Gym in Tukwila to prepare for his fight with the 37-year-old Banks, a former San Jose State University football lineman.
"The workouts have been great, featuring a mix of big guys and fast middleweights," Ditusa said Saturday. "Rust is always a concern ... (but) I'm pleased where we're at."
Ditusa said Banks is "big, strong guy who can punch real well."
Ditusa compares Banks to Japanese heavyweight Masataka Takehara, a 240-pounder who Thompson easily beat last year in an eight-round bout. Thompson frustrated Takehara with his hand speed and solid defense. Takehara was unable to put together much offense at all against Thompson.
"I would like to see Vince use speed early and sit down (with hooks) to the body when the situation permits (against Banks)," Ditusa said.
Banks, at 293 pounds, lost his last bout on a referee technical decision in the fifth round to Razvan Cojana (4-1) in Temecula, Calif., three months ago.
In May, Banks upset previously unbeaten Skyler Anderson (16-1-1) on a second-round knockout.
"Banks is a former football player, real strong. He's a cautious fighter, conservative," Thompson. "He likes to throw bombs. But you know me, I move too well to get caught. I move real slick for a heavyweight."
Thompson said he plans to go the body "way, way more" than he has in the past. "I'm going to stay right in the pocket more too, bobbing and weaving ... I'm not going in there to hold and lean. I'll be going in for the kill and show the world who I am."
Thompson's dad Calvin will once again be in his corner. He missed Vincent's last fight because he had to go on a business trip overseas for the company he works for, Boeing.
"It was difficult without him my last fight," Thompson said."My dad always gives me a boost, gives me confidence, when he's in my corner."
During his layoff, Thompson trained in Austria in June, sparring with No. 1-ranked and world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound Klitschko is 59-3 (50 KOs) as a pro.
"After two days, Klitschko didn't want to spar with me anymore," said Thompson, a southpaw. "That made me confident. I took his best shots and he couldn't drop me. I rocked him, too. He (Klitschko) said, 'your style does not match my next opponent's.'
"I told you before I went there (Austria) that I was not going to be his punching bag, that he was going to have to earn every hit."
Opponents facing "Vicious" Vincent Thompson best beware. You are in for a fight.
The eight-bout card will be streamed live on the Fight Club OC site: www.fightcluboc.com. Fans can click on "Fight Club OC TV" to get the feed. It is free, but you must register first.