Camps finalize heavyweight rematch

The deal between heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and mandatory challenger Tony Thompson was agreed to a few weeks ago when the purse bid was called off, but now the deal is done and Klitschko's K2 Promotions made the formal announcement Thursday that they will meet July 7 at Stade De Suisse in Berne, Switzerland.

Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs) will be making his 12th title defense in a rematch against Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs). The fight will come almost four years to the day since Klitschko knocked out Thompson in spectacular fashion in the 11th round of what was also a mandatory defense in 2008.

The fight will be carried live in the United States by premium cable network Epix and streamed live on EpixHD.com.

Since the loss to Klitschko, Thompson, a 40-year-old southpaw from Washington, D.C., has won five consecutive fights, all by knockout, to again become one of Klitschko's mandatory challengers.

"I have been waiting a long time for this rematch," Thompson said. "Last time I had (a knee) injury which I suffered in training. In Berne, I will complete what I missed out on four years ago. I will knock Klitschko out and take all his belts to the U.S."

Klitschko, 36, a native of Ukraine who splits time living in Germany and Florida, is coming off a dominant fourth-round knockout of former cruiserweight champion Jean-Marc Mormeck on March 3. While Mormeck was vastly undersized against the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Klitschko, Thompson is at least his size -- 6-5 and 250 pounds.

"Thompson is a strong and difficult opponent fighting southpaw," Klitschko said. "He has a very good technique and gave me one of the toughest challenges in my career. Through his height it is a fight at eye level and I know that he has gained a lot of confidence through his winning streak.

"I am looking forward to defending my titles in Berne, where my brother (and fellow heavyweight champion) Vitali fought in 2009 with great support of the Swiss crowd."

Although Klitschko was winning by wide margins -- 99-91, 98-92 and 98-92 -- on all three scorecards in the first fight with Thompson at the time of the knockout, Thompson was more competitive with him than any of Klitschko's other opponents in the defenses he has made during his current reign.