Light heavyweight Lionell "Lonnie B" Thompson (14-2, 9 KOs) continues on his personal path of retribution this Saturday night as he takes on Ryan "The Irish Outlaw" Coyne (21-1, 9 KOs) at Resorts International Hotel & Casino, Superstar Theatre, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Thompson vs. Coyne is the 10-round co-feature on a Main Events-presented event, "Road To Redemption," airing live on NBCSN and headlined by a heavyweight clash between Amir "Hardcore" Mansour and Kelvin "Price Is Right" Price.
"I'm ready to destroy this kid," 28-year-old Thompson said. "I'm excited and looking forward to Saturday night. I can't wait to fight. I've learned how to be a professional boxer. I'm sky-high and in top-top shape. I take every opponent seriously. I respect Ryan Coyne but he has been built-up and protected. I've heard a lot of people are picking Coyne or that it's a 50-50 fight at best. A lot of people don't know how good a fighter I am but they will Saturday night. I'm going to give fans the type performance they really want to see. I'm stepping up to prove myself.
"I've been working with southpaws the past seven months and it worked out perfectly because I'm fighting a lefty, Coyne. I've been sparring with young, hungry fighters and even some cruiserweights. I'm covered. I want to thank my promoter, Main Events, and NBCSN for this opportunity. I'm focused and will dominate until he quits on the stool, or clip him and leave him unconscious on his back."
A highly-decorated amateur boxer out of Buffalo, Thompson won his first 12 professional fights, highlighted by a win by decision in 2011 over former world champion Abdullah Ramadan, who had defeated two-time world champion John David Jackson, before his pro career was derailed after suffering back-to-back losses to then top 10-rated Nicholson Poulard (17-3) and current World Boxing Organization (WBO) 175-pound world champion Sergey Kovalev.
Fighting in his opponent's backyard of Quebec on May 19, 2012, Thompson lost a 10-round split decision (97-93, 39-97, 94-96) to Poulard, whose brother is Jean Pascal, for the vacant North American Boxing Association (NABA) title.
Four months later, Thompson made an ill-advised decision to fight rising star Kovalev on only two-week notice. Thompson was stopped for the only time in his career, losing by third-round technical knockout.
"I clearly won the fight with Poulard," Thompson explained. "Even people from Montreal had me winning 8-2. Unfortunately, things didn't go my way but I can live with that loss. I'm a fighter and took the Kovalev fight on two-week's notice. Now, he has a world title belt. I took a chance and he beat me fair and square. I like tough fights to test myself. It was a good learning experience for me. I saw what I was doing wrong and have made corrections. I'd love a rematch with him someday.
"I had promotional and managerial problems back then. Main Events is my first American promoter, Kevin Dever my manager. They take care of my career now. Other promoters thought that I was too small to be a light heavyweight, but I came down from 235 pounds. If I could make it at 168, I would, but I'm naturally big with big legs. I walk around at 195 but can make light heavyweight."
Fighting once again as a "B" side opponent, as well as in his opponent's hometown, Thompson bounced back from his two aforementioned losses this past February, when Chuck Mussachio (18-2-2) failed to answer the bell for the third round. Up next for Thompson was an eight-round fight May 11 against the show promoter's undefeated prospect, Yathomas Riley (8-0), a blue-chip amateur and 2006 National Golden Gloves champion who came close to qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. Thompson's stock rose with a convincing win by unanimous decision (79-73, 77-75, 77-75), eventually leading "Lonnie B" to a promotional contract with Main Events.
"After this fight we're going to shut up the doubters who haven't been sold on Lionell," Dever added. "I talked to almost every promoter and Main Events is the only one that believed in us. So, now it's time to reward them. Coyne is a highly-rated fighter (WBA #8) and I jumped at the opportunity for Lionell to fight him. Lionell will fight anybody in this division and I hope, after Saturday, we'll be right back in action and not have a long layoff. Saturday night everyone is going to see boxing's next star."
Over the past few years, Thompson has also gained invaluable experience as a sparring partner for world-class fighters such as Chad Dawson, Carl Froch, Lucian Bute, Troy Ross, Issac Chilemba and David Lemieux.
"I really don't have anything bad to say about Coyne," the college educated Thompson concluded. "I'm sure he's coming to fight. He can run at me, box, whatever; I'll be ready for whatever he does."