Local boxer returns to the ring Saturday on quest to become heavyweight champ
Local boxer Vincent Thompson returns to the ring Saturday, resuming his quest to become professional heavyweight champion of the world.
The undefeated fighter, who likes to be called "Vicious Vincent," takes on Kelsey Arnold (4-7-2) in "Battle of the Boat 82: Fight Night at the Playboy Mansion," at Emerald Queen I-5 Casino in Tacoma on June 4.
Thompson, 28, of Federal Way, last fought March 19, dispatching Ryan Shay easily in a second-round TKO.
His present opponent, Arnold, has not been shy in taking on quality matchups. In his first 13 pro fights, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Arnold, a Lexington, Tenn., resident, has faced 10 unbeaten competitors. He lost his last fight to Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz, Jr. (8-0, 6 KOs).
"Kelsey Arnold is a straight-forward, rugged-type of a guy who has never had an easy fight," said Sam Ditusa, one of Thompson's trainers. "That being said, it's no wonder why his record is upside down. But I can assure you that everyone associated with Vincent Thompson has the utmost respect for the ability of Kelsey Arnold and we view him as a dangerous opponent."
Since his last fight in March, Thompson (7-0, 2 KOs) has been working resolutely with his other trainers, West Seattle High graduate Jack Stafford and Federal Way resident Calvin Thompson, Vincent's dad.
Thompson works out at the gym Monday through Friday. His regimen includes crunches, pushups, shadow boxing, heavy-bag and mitt work as well as sparring three days a week, sometimes Saturday. He runs three to five miles a day.
"He's in great shape," Stafford said. "He's good for six rounds with anyone."
When Stafford dons the chest protector for mitt-work, he says jokingly, "I'm telling you I feel every shot. It hurts.
"Cal (Vincent's dad and a former New York City amateur boxer) is a great mitt man. He can take Vincent's punches well."
Ditusa, Vince's other trainer, said, "Vince has been very impressive in his workouts leading up this fight. From a technical standpoint, he has been working his head more and bobbing and weaving his way in.
He will probably come in about 240 pounds for this fight ... his (physical) condition is excellent."
Now that that all the hard work is done, all Vincent Thompson can do now is wait, like a soldier waiting to go into battle.
"It's nerve-wracking, the time just before a fight," Thompson said on Wednesday. "I'm nervous; not scared, just jittery. After all, it's the big stage."
"I'm glad it's over," added Thompson, relating to all his strenuous pre-fight preparation the past two months. "I can kick back now and let my body chill. I'm ready to relax."
Promoter Brian Halquist, who signed Thompson to a contract in January, said, 'Vincent has all the tools to be a dominating heavyweight in his sport. His speed and power were on full display in his last bout.
"He has improved dramatically every time he steps inside the ring. The sky is the limit for him."
Also on the card Saturday night is Tacoma heavyweight Jonte Willis (7-0-1, 3 KOs). He faces Qualicum, B.C. fighter Shane Andresson (10-3, 6 KOs). Willis, a former 2007 Tacoma Golden Gloves champion, is nicknamed "Rock Steady." He is the cousin of former NFL star Patrick Willis and his trained by 2000 U.S. Olympics coach Tony Mustin and former pro lightweight and light-welterweight champion Greg Haugen.
"Fight Night at the Playboy Mansion" begins at 7 p.m. On hand for the fights will be TV star Bridget Marquardt and Playboy Playmates Stacy Fuson, Hiromi Oshima and Pilar Lastra.
Tickets are $35, $55 and $100 and are available the Emerald Queen box office (1-888-831-7655) and at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.ticketmaster.com.