1. CARL THOMPSON challenged South African Sebastiaan Rothmann for the marginal IBO world cruiserweight title on February 6, 2004. The fight was chief support to a light-heavyweight title bout between Clinton Woods and Glencoffe Johnson (the latter won on points to take the vacant title).
2. A LARGE crowd packed out the Ponds Forge Arena in Sheffield as Thompson fought for the fourth consecutive time in the steel city. It was Rothmann’s fourth visit to the UK, after defeating Rob Norton, Mark Hobson and Crawford Ashley, all inside the scheduled 12-round distance.
3. ROTHMANN came in to the fight on the back of a tough fought decision win over veteran Jorge Fernando Castro – the first successful defence of his world title.
4. THOMPSON came in four pounds heavier than his opponent at 200lbs. The challenger had lost the title in question to Ezra Sellers back in 2001 and many believed he could win it back using his explosive power, causing a stoppage.
5. ROTHMANN was a slight favourite but there were doubts surrounding his right hand. Many experts deemed it useless after it was shattered in a victory win over Garry Delaney in 2002.
6. THE fight, broadcast live on the BBC, saw Rothmann use his greater height and reach to control the first four round, picking his shots, almost with an air of cockiness. The bloodied Thompson was eventually dropped to one knee after a stinging uppercut late in the session.
7. HOWEVER, as the man known as “The Cat” seemed to be fading desperately, he unleashed a big right that sent Rothmann stumbling in the fifth, the referee ruling it a knockdown.
8. THE bloodied Rothmann, though still hurting, managed to regain control in the following rounds and by the end of the eighth the challenger looked out on his feet.
9. IN the ninth Rothmann could sense victory. With Thompson backed up the South African connected with two big rights. One more punch would surely finish the fight. To every ones shock that punch came from Thompson as a desperate huge right scored a thrilling win for the Mancunian.
10. THOMPSON would go on to successfully defend his title against young British prospect David Haye. It would be the last time Rothmann would fight in Britain.
Douglas: “What had been a wonderful childhood dream come true became a nightmare…”
Holyfield: “Mike looked at me and I looked at Mike, I made it clear that whatever he did, however he played, I would do it all night…”
Lewis: “All of a sudden Tyson turned into King Kong. Where did that guy come from?…”
Williams: “It was the second or third round when I just thought, ‘Forget it, I’m going to war with you.’…”
McBride: “Thank God he had the mouthpiece in, or I’d be the only guy in Ireland with just one nipple…”