The future continues to look brighter for several members of the Goossen Tutor boxing stable after the results from Saturday night where one fighter captured a world title with an electrifying boxing performance for the ages; another produced a dominating technical knockout victory to earn a mandatory world title shot; an Olympic Gold medalist and rising star registered his most spectacular knockout win to date; and a young Mexican heavyweight knockout artist added another victim to his list in route to the heavyweight championship..
“Super Saturday” for the Goossen Tutor boxers started in Hamburg, Germany when WBO #4-rated heavyweight Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (30-1, 18 KOs) shocked a heavily partisan German home crowd by overwhelming and stopping the WBO #3-rated Luan Krasniqi (30-3-1, 14 KOs) in the fifth round of a WBO Heavyweight Championship Elimination Bout. By virtue of the win, the rangy 35-year old Silver Spring, Maryland southpaw becomes the mandatory challenger to the winner of the scheduled October 13 world heavyweight unification bout between WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov and WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev.
“Tony said from the day the fight was made he wanted to stop Krasniqi and he did,” co-manager Nate Peake said. “He did everything we worked on in the gym and did them to perfection. It was a great victory.”
“I’m in the prime of my career and the best heavyweight out there, American or otherwise,” the 6-5, 248 pound Thompson declared. “Some may think that age 35 is old for a boxer, but with the late start to my career (at the age of 28) and my physical abilities inside the ring, I feel like a 25 year old. And remember, for the last seven years I’ve been dishing out the beatings and getting better with each and every fight.
“Being the mandatory for the Ibragimov-Chagaev winner is thrilling, especially because I believe the bigger the challenge the better I will be, especially if I could get into a fight with (Wladimir) Klitschko. The tall heavyweights such as Klitschko dominate guys with their size, but I measure up quite well with any of them and probably have a longer reach. My style of mixing a potent offense with my “Gold Glove” defensive skills get many fighters frustrated trying to hit me clean and I eventually wear them down and take them out like I did Krasniqi. I’ll let my managers (Peake and NBA star Steve Francis) and promoter (Dan Goossen) do their thing and just point me to the next challenge in the ring.”
Across the Atlantic Ocean on the edge of the Pacific in Carson, California, “Punishment” outworked and out-hit “Pride” as Paul “The Punisher” Williams (33-0, 24 KOs) outgunned defending WBO Welterweight Champion Antonio Margarito (34-5, 24 KOs) to win a unanimous, 12-round decision to capture his first world title in a highly anticipated “Fight of the Year” candidate – billed as “PRIDE ‘N PUNIHMENT” which more than lived up to its billing.
“Man it feels good,” the 25-year old native of Aiken, South Carolina said when asked how it felt to be a world champion. “We have worked on this for some eight years. My game plan was to take control and I knew once I put those early rounds in the bank that Margarito would come on strong like he always does. In the gym we worked on firing back at Margarito after getting hit and not letting him follow up. That was a key to the win tonight. He is a very strong puncher and I was able to keep him off me and limit him to maybe one occasional good shot while I fired back with a lot of shots.”
“I’ve always wanted to have a world champion and I’ve been doing this since 1973,” said Williams’ proud manager/trainer George Peterson. “I came close but never made it to the finish line until Paul brought me there tonight. I always knew he would do it if he put his nose to the grindstone and tonight he prevailed with a great performance. It feels real good.”
As for Williams’ first title defense, “We hope to get Cotto. He and I are the hot men in the weight class right now, as is Mayweather,” Williams candidly stated. “My main focus is to knockout Cotto, but if he tries to avoid fighting me then I want Mayweather. I said all along that my goal is to beat anyone that claims to be the best in the welterweight division. I showed tonight that I am the best welterweight in the world and will fight anybody to prove it. Oscar (De La Hoya) and Shane (Mosley) are right there on my “Punisher List” too. I am the best welterweight in the world and want to fight the best that’s out there. Whatever Mr. Petersen, Dan Goossen and Al Haymon got in mind, I’m game for whatever.”
Another hot Goossen Tutor prospect who posted a big win was Andre Ward (13-0, 8 KOs), who was America’s lone Gold Medal winner at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Since moving up to super middleweight (168 lbs), the pride of Oakland, California has knocked out all three opponents including a devastating stoppage of Francisco Diaz in the third round on the Williams-Margarito undercard.
“That was the sweetest knockout of my career both amateur and professional,” acknowledge the 23-year old Ward, who landed a picture perfect right lead-left hook combination that produced one of those delayed reaction falls to the mat the result of quick, sharp and crisp punches indicative that Diaz never saw what hit him.
Ward’s longtime trainer, Virgil Hunter, was pleased with Ward’s showing and keeps his eye on the ball with the game plan they have in place.
“We know Andre has world class skills; we know he has skills to beat the best,” Hunter assessed. “It’s a matter of time and we try to keep that in perspective before we challenge for a title. In the meantime we take them one fight at a time as discussed with our manager (James Prince) and promoter and I’m sure Andre’s next fight will be another step up in class.”
“I feel that talent-wise I am right there with the best fighters in the world at 168 pounds” Ward said. “But I also know that we have a process in place for my development; to let me mature and to let my weight catch up with my skills. When it’s time to win a title, I want to keep it and remain champion for a long time.”
As for who he wants to fight next, Ward offered that “I know my promoter will like to hear this, you will never hear Andre Ward name drop or not accept a challenge. There are so many good fighters out there so I need to be ready for all of them, especially the ones they put in front of me.”
In addition, undefeated Cristobal “The Nightmare” Arreola (21-0, 19 KOs), who has his sights set on becoming the first-ever Mexican heavyweight champion, took another step toward that goal by destroying Derek Berry. The 26-year old Riverside, California native needed just 56 seconds to record his ninth straight knockout win.
“I just took a chance,” Arreola admitted. “When there was an opening I was going to go for it. I knew I wanted him out early. But as soon as I hit him with a couple of shots, I saw him do a ‘chicken dance’ and I knew he was ready to go. So I just started throwing the bombs and seconds later he was gone.
“Mr. Goossen and Mr. (manager Al) Haymon make the fights, so they’ll tell me who’s next, but I will fight anybody.”
“July 14th was a great day for our fighters,” Goossen acknowledged. “Paul Williams solidified our claim to being the preeminent welterweight in the world. He fought – and beat – a man in Antonio Margarito regarded as ‘the most feared man in boxing’ and one that many top welterweights were accused of avoiding. Williams also showed both his ability and popularity by being a big part of drawing a sold out crowd (8,023) to The Home Depot Center, a figure never approached in any other Margarito event.
“Equally satisfying,” Goossen continued, “was Tony Thompson’s decisive victory over Krasniqi in Germany to back up what we’ve been saying all along: that Tony Thompson is a world champion caliber heavyweight and by the first half of next year, at the latest, will get his opportunity to show the fans his fighting ability to be the best of the current heavyweight champions.
“In Andre Ward, we all got a glimpse of the talent that this future world champion possesses. The lightning swiftness of the combination that ended the fight was reminiscent of the great Sugar Ray Leonard at his best.
“And Cristobal Arreola did what the young Mike Tyson used to do best – look for the knockout once the bell rings and when he hurts them, finish them off in devastating style. He is one tough and exciting hombre and is ready to start making an impact in the heavyweight division,” Goossen concluded.
In the opening bout of the event and a recent signing of Goossen Tutor, Ricardo “El Guero” Cortes improved his record to 20-1-1, 14 KOs (the one loss being a disqualification in a bout he was winning) with a victory over Jose Spearman