Saturday, June 22, 2024  |



Antonio Tarver resumes training

Fighters Network

Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver informed on Thursday that he has returned to training in Miami after having suffered a fractured thumb on his left hand that forced him to pull out of a Sept. 29 heavyweight bout against Johnathon Banks at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.

The clash was supposed to end a 10-month ring absence for Tarver (30-6, 21 knockouts), who still is hoping to face Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs) in mid-December.

“I’m back training here in Miami with Orlando Cuellar again, so we’re just pushing, man. We’re trying to reschedule my fight right now. I’ve heard that it could be on Dec. 13, and then I heard potentially Dec. 11. So it’s kind of looking like mid-December,” said Tarver, 45, a southpaw, whose hand had been fitted with a cast on Sept. 17.

“But the hand is healed, and as far as my X-rays, everything is 100 percent right now. I worked, today, for the first time, with both gloves on, I was hitting the bags and hitting the mitts. I didn’t try to go crazy, but I just wanted to see how it felt. There is no soreness and no swelling or anything like that, so I think that we’re going to have a full recovery.”

Tarver had his most recent fight last November, a fourth-round stoppage of Mike Sheppard that ended a 17-month ring absence. Tarver had returned to action for the first time since June 2012, when he tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid drostanolone following a draw-turned-no-contest with Lateef Kayode.

A 1996 Olympic bronze medalist, Tarver is best known for winning two of three bouts against Roy Jones Jr., including a second-round stoppage victory in their second meeting. Tarver also owns wins over ex-light heavyweight titleholders Glen Johnson, Clinton Woods and Montell Griffin.

“I’m just going to take some time off and I’m not going to go again probably until next Monday or Tuesday, and I’ll try to go a little harder but take my time. I don’t want to re-injure anything or have any setbacks,” said Tarver.

“I think that it’s going to be Johnathan Banks, man. I think that he’s going to be the perfect guy. We’ve both had long layoffs, so there won’t be any need for a tuneup. We’re going to just tune up on each other. I’m going to be ready to do what I do.”