The IBF is citing “inactivity” as the reason James Toney will not receive a shot at their title on December 11 against Wladimir Klitschko.
Since making his heavyweight debut seven years ago, Toney has campaigned in the press for a shot at either Klitschko, referring to them by insulting nicknames like “The Bitchko Sisters.” Several fight talks have fallen through before, and this time Toney lays the blame solely at the feet of Wladimir, claiming that the Ukrainian champion has enough leverage with the title organizations to push the fight through.
“You know the Klitschkos run these sanctioning bodies and this is Wladimir’s way of not fighting me once again,” Toney told FightHype.com. “I definitely feel like I’m being blackballed. You put your life on the line in this sport and these are the thanks you get?”
Toney currently holds the fringe IBA heavyweight title, but has not fought since scoring a 2nd round KO over journeyman Michael Greer in September 2009. The 42-year-old veteran was written off by many as a legit contender following his rematch loss to Samuel Peter in 2007, and later posting lackluster split decision wins over lower-level opposition in Danny Batchelder and Fres Oquendo.
Wladimir Klitschko holds both the IBF and WBO heavyweight titles. He’s made six joint defenses since 2008, winning five by knockout. His last was a mandatory defense against #1 contender Samuel Peter, who he dominated and TKO’d in 10 rounds on September 11. Although Toney is not currently ranked by either the IBF or WBO, there is a possibility that Wladimir Klitschko can still move forward with the fight as a voluntary defense, or non-title match.
At press time, Wladimir Klitschko could not be reached for comment.
Most fighters balk at being told anything by the boxing sanctioning bodies. But the Klitschkos are very anal about holding onto those championship belts. Between them, they hold every major title except David Haye’s WBA strap. So unless Wladimir can get a potential Toney fight sanctioned as a title match, the likelihood is he’ll pass.
Part of me doesn’t want to see this fight happen (for Toney’s sake), but I’d understand. It’s essentially a stay busy fight for Klitschko, and there’s no other top fighters out there to face on such short notice. Bouts with David Haye and Alexander Povetkin already fell through this year. Tomasz Adamek has his own tune-up bout in December. And other aging names like David Tua don’t offer much interest considering their performances in recent bouts. Toney can still sell a mismatch to the public, as evidenced by the interest he garnered for his doomed MMA venture against Randy Couture.
I still think this fight may come off, and if it does I hope Toney isn’t embarrassed in there. It would be quite sad to see a once great defensive fighter, who’s never been knocked out in his 21 year career, slowly beaten down by Klitschko jabs and right hands before being stopped.