Former 6ft 7in Brit tennis giant is now top boxer and fighting for first world title | The Sun
JORDAN THOMPSON hopes to serve Britain up a wildcard world champ with Grand Slam power tomorrow.
The 6ft 7in Mancunian was a rising tennis star before switching over to focus his long whipping limbs on professional punching.
With 15 wins sliding under the radar – without so much as a domestic title under his belt – the cruiserweight is suddenly shooting for the IBF world title up against Australia dangerman Jai Opetaia.
And the beanpole banger reckons his sensational overhand right – honed from years on the court – means he holds plenty of aces going into the shootout.
“100 per cent my background in tennis has helped create the power in my punches,” he told SunSport ahead of the Wembley arena show.
“It sounds crazy but there are a lot of similarities between boxing and tennis because of the individual nature, the loneliness, the physical and mental toll.
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“My power has come from that repetitive banging of the ball, over and over again, from different angles, transferring my weight, bringing it up from my legs, through the hips, the core and into the shoulders and arms.
“And right at the end there is that whipping motion you would want in every shot or punch.
“Power is something I have always had, in both sports, I have always been heavy handed from a very young age.
“My fastest recorded serve was 138mph, so yes, when people say I can whack, I can whack.”
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While 30-year-old Thompson was hitting backhand slices and delicate lobs, teenage Opetaia was winning the 2011 junior world championships and going to the London 2012 Olympics aged just 16.
In July 2022 the 28-year-old Australian suffered a broken jaw in his world title shot at Mairis Briedis and still managed to bite down on his gumshield and grab the belt with a unanimous decision.
Because of those vastly different paths to West London, untested Thompson is a 5-1 longshot in a two-horse race.
But he’s sick of well-wishers and back-patters sending him off with no hope.
He explained: “A lot of well meaning people have told me it’s a no-lose situation, that I just have to give a good account of myself – I think they’re taking the p***.
“I will always give a good account of myself, that is the absolute bare minimum but I am a winner and win is what I am going to do.
“I am not here to just enjoy the moment, I am here to cease it, grab it with both hands, as well as the belts.
“I have to believe in myself, even with no amateur pedigree or experience, I am headlining a show for a world title but I believe this is just a stepping stone to even bigger nights and achievements.”
Sadly being tall, dark and handsome does not make Jordan the family superstar – as little sister Francesca likes to remind him on social media.
The West End star jokingly ranks her big bro rock bottom among the three siblings for looks but he only has compliments for her.
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“My little sister is the real family super-talent,” he said. “Despite her bad jokes she is starring in the Lion King show right now and can sing and dance, she is a shining light who has inspired me.
“My little sister and even my little brother have motivated me, set the example sometimes, so this is for them and all of the other people who have helped me.”
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