Willie Thompson (6-4-1) is delighted to be back fighting in Northern Ireland. The Ballyclare welterweight is looking forward to a good old fashioned domestic tear-up over eight-threes with Lurgan’s unbeaten puncher Ryan Greene (4-0) on September 17 at the Kings Hall, Belfast.
The Northern Ireland Area title – last seen in 2007 when James Gorman defeated Gary Hamilton for the light-welterweight version – will also be making a welcome re-appearance.
“It’s a great honour to be fighting for the Northern Ireland Area title and it’s definitely coming home with me,” buzzed Willie. “I’m still up in Breen’s gym, training away and getting great sparring with Joe Rea, Stephen Haughian and a younger boxer who’s on his way up.”
“I don’t know much about my opponent Ryan Greene and they say he’s a puncher. Stephen Haughian’s sparred with him and he said he comes forward a lot so we’ll see what happens. Ryan is a southpaw so maybe I’ll get sparring with Paul McCloskey or another southpaw because they can be difficult to fight.”
Willie reeled off an impressive run of wins after turning professional but his career has been relatively stop/start since the unbeaten record was popped by former British welterweight champ Michael Jennings. Thompson even linked up with ex-referee Paul Graham, who has turned his hand to promoting over in Scotland. Taking short notice scraps, all away from home, made Willie think twice and return home to continue his career.
“I’m finished with Paul Graham now,” he confirmed. “Boxing away from home was tough and I thought I won three of the four fights that I lost. When you’re the away fighter you nearly have to take the opponent’s head off with a sword to win.”
“I dried out for 36 hours before one fight and it was heavy going. I’m a natural welterweight and I wanted Greene to budge down in weight for this fight, but he couldn’t so I’ll move up [to light-middleweight] to meet him.”
In October last year, Thompson held no reservations about stepping in with reigning British light-welterweight champion Ashley Theophane, a man who has carved out a reputation as a quality sparring hand in American gyms.
“Theophane wasn’t that great and I did six rounds with him no problem,” said Willie. “I was suffering with the weight loss issues in that fight but I put my hands up, I lost the fight but I was genuinely weight drained. Putting all that aside I’m really glad to be back home and fighting in Northern Ireland again.”
The Hennessy promoted bill at the Kings Hall Belfast is topped by appearances from newly crowned British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and Sheffield’s former WBC light welterweight champion and Prizefighter finalist Junior Witter (39-5-2) against Lurgan’s Stephen Haughian (21-2-1).