LIONELL THOMPSON MOVING UP THE LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT LADDER
Press Release:Press Release: Press Release: 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.
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.
Thompson won his first 12 professional fights, highlighted by a win by decision in 2011 over Abdullah Ramadan, who had defeated two-time world champion John David Jackson. But then he lost two in a row.
"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 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."
A year ago, Thompson took a fight against Nicholson Poulard (17-3), former world light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal's brother. Thompson lost a ten-round split decision (97-93, 39-97, 94-96), fighting in Poulard's backyard, and four months later he made an ill-advised decision to fight rising star Sergey Kovalev on only two-weeks 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 [promotional] 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 11th in Huntington, New York, once again as an underdog matched against the show promoter's undefeated prospect, Yathomas Riley (8-0), Thompson made a name for himself in the 175-pound division.
Riley was a blue-chip amateur, a 2006 National Golden Gloves champion who came close to qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. 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.
Against Riley, Thompson boxed his way to a solid eight-round decision (79-73, 77-75 twice). "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. Outside the ring, he is only one class shy of earning a degree from Buffalo State College, majoring in health and wellness.