VIDEO: James Toney vs Vassiliy Jirov – Classic Fight Review

James Toney and Vassiliy Jirov engaged in one of the most memorable cruiserweight championship contests during the relatively brief history of the weight class.

On April 26, 2003 at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, former two division world champion James “Lights Out” Toney challenged IBF cruiserweight champion Vassiliy Jirov. The undefeated 29 year old champion was making the 7th defense of his title against the 34 year old challenger. Toney’s best years were believed to be behind him at middleweight and super middle, but he was on an 11 fight winning streak since making the transition into the cruiserweight/heavyweight threshold, and Jirov was a career cruiserweight but he entered the ring following a 14 month stretch of inactivity, his longest to that point.

Even though this fight was happening at cruiserweight, it took place a little over a month after Roy Jones Jr had won a lopsided unanimous decision against John Ruiz to win the WBA heavyweight title. So one of the big expectations going into this one, was that the winner might be headed for a showdown with Roy for heavyweight glory. All of this added to the magnitude of the already inherently intriguing cruiserweight showdown.

The fight itself was an absolute war of attrition. At the conclusion of 12 incredible action packed rounds, Toney was awarded a unanimous decision with two judges scoring it 117-109, and the other having it 116-110. But the action itself felt a little closer than the official cards suggests, and this one was a battle where Toney sealed the deal with a dramatic knockdown in the 12th and final round, and that is what this fight will be best remembered for. That, and the incredible battle produced by this captivating clash of contrasting styles.

This edition of Rummy’s Corner will provide a brief round by round recap, including video highlights and original commentary, reviewing this classic cruiserweight championship boxing match. For one man’s take, please watch and enjoy the video.