By John Evans
Mark Thompson’s first outing under new trainer Anthony Farnell ended in disappointment on Saturday night as the Rochdale-born 31-year-old suffered a controversial fifth-round stoppage at the hands of light-middleweight prospect Jack Culcay in Hamburg, Germany.
Thompson, now 24-2 (14), began the fight brightly and was boxing well behind his jab when he found himself under fire towards the end of the fifth round. Culcay, 13-0 (9), unloaded a series of punches, but Thompson appeared composed and avoided the vast majority of the blows before referee Polish Leszek Jankowiak inexplicably jumped in to stop the contest. Thompson didn’t help his cause by choosing to cover up rather than retaliate yet as early stoppages go, this one was a dandy.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Farnell told BoxingScene after arriving home from Germany. “We thought the first five rounds would be hard, but then we’d take over but I thought he (Thompson) was doing well from the beginning to tell you the truth. He (Culcay) was an amateur world champion getting outjabbed. Mark was out-jabbing and out-boxing him. The stoppage was unreal really — unbelievable.
“He got hit with a right uppercut, but I think Culcay threw about twenty shots and only hit Mark with two of them. The referee was on Mark’s case because the guy hit Mark around the back of the head in a clinch and the referee didn’t say anything. Mark hit him on the back of the head and the referee pulled him. It was bad.”
Before the episode is written off as sour grapes from the Thompson camp, Farnell is keen to point out that they weren’t alone in being baffled by the bout’s early conclusion. He also revealed that Thompson won’t be getting an opportunity to right the wrong.
“I’ve not watched it on TV yet, so I’m not sure if they showed it, but Mark jumped on every corner post and waved to the German crowd and they were all singing, clapping and going mad. Culcay waved to the crowd and all the Germans booed him! We were talking to Culcay and his manager afterwards and asked if we could have a rematch and they said, ‘No chance’. Culcay said to Mark, ‘I’m sorry but I’m not the referee — it shouldn’t have been stopped’, in broken in English. He’s quite a nice guy.”
Farnell is keen to stress the Thompson need not worry too much about the reversal. It was their first time working together and Thompson showed more than enough to suggest he can make an impact on the British scene and make the most of any opportunities that arise.
“Mark’s going well. I told him not to be too downhearted because although it’s a loss, it’s not really a loss because everybody knows what happened,” he said.
“Nobody expected him to do what he’s done. A load of his fans came over with us and said they’d never seen him box like that and use his jab. Mark said that he was just getting into it. He’ll have a week off and get back in the gym, he’s not hurt or anything. The German’s want to see him again so we’ll just see what comes up now.”