Friday, April 1, 2016


Nickname: "The Punching Postman"


   New Jersey's James Anthony Thornton worked full time as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service, earning him the name "The Punching Postman".  He turned professional June 15, 1983 at the Playboy Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.  He scored a first round technical knockout over Steve Waters, and then ran off a string knocking out his first 7 opponents.

   He continued to win and passed his first big test with a 10th round tko over highly regarded contender Cecil Pettigrew (21-10-1, 14 ko) in a main event at the Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.

   August 25, 1987 Thornton took his 17-0, 16 ko record into the ring against respected trial horse Stacy McSwain and for the first time in his pro career, Thornton didn't win.  But he didn't lose either as the bout ended in a 10 round Split Decision Draw.  One Judge had it 96-95 for Thornton, but he was overruled by the other two Judges who had it 95-95 and 96-96 for a Split Dec. Draw.

   That result didn't hurt Thornton at all, in fact his next fight was for the USBA Middleweight Title against world ranked defending Champion Doug "The Cobra" Dewitt (28-5-3, 17 ko).  The fight ended in a draw on the scorecards and under the rules went to a 13th and deciding "Sudden Death" round.  They fought 3 more minutes, and after 13 grueling rounds the scores were:  124-124 a draw, 125-123, and 124-123 for the winner Doug Dewitt.  Thornton suffered his first defeat, and failed to win his first major title.  Dewitt would go on to win the WBO World Middleweight Championship.

   Thornton now knew he could compete on the world class level, and in his next bout he defeated unbeaten Tyrone Frazier (13-0-2, 7 ko) in a lopsided 10 round unanimous decision.  Two KO victories later, Tony was granted his second chance at the USBA Middleweight Title, this time against Mike Tinley (22-4-1, 9 ko).  The "Punching Postman" shined scoring an impressive unanimous decision victory on scores of: 115-113, 116-111, and 118-109.

   He lost his first title defense against Kevin Watts, and then lost in a bid to regain his USBA title against another future world champion Steve Collins, both losses were by decisions.  After all of these USBA title bouts, Thornton's team decided to make the move up into the Super Middleweight division and his competition level soared.  He was now world ranked and among the top names in the middleweight division but moved from the 160 Lb. to 168 Lb. division very successfully.  In his next 11 bouts he would face contenders and champions including:  Ismael Negron (13-5, 7 ko), Ralph Ward (13-3-1), Dave Tiberi (18-1-3), Karama Leota (23-1, 14 ko), Carl Sullivan (11-2), Eddie Hall (20-7, 11 ko), Merqui Sosa (19-1, 15 ko), and Fermin Chirino (12-5-2, 9 ko).

   It was an impressive run going 10-1, 5 ko in that stretch and it paid off.  He was given a shot at the WBO Super Middleweight Championship.  Sept. 19, 1992, Glasgow Scotland.  In the corner across from him was the undefeated defending Champion - the legendary Chris Eubank (32-0, 18 ko).  Eubank was making his 4th defense of the WBO Super Middleweight Title.  It was a spirited effort from the challenger, but Eubank was just too much for him that night.  After 12 rounds Chris Eubank remained the World Champion via unanimous decision.  The legendary Eubank would go on to make 10 more succesful defenses of that title before losing it to a man that Thornton had faced - Steve Collins.

   As great boxers do, Thornton got right back to work and scored 4 straight victories to put him back into title contention and just 13 months after facing Chris Eubank, Thornton would get his second shot at a world title, against another unbeaten boxing legend - James "Lights Out" Toney (39-0-2, 26 ko).  It was October 29, 1993 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Heavyweight Michael Bentt had just shocked the boxing world with an unexpected first round knockout win over Tommy Morrison.  That was the only upset of the night, as Thornton lost a unanimous decison to James Toney on scores of: 112-116, and 110-118 x 2.

   Tony bounced back with a win over Lenzie Morgan, and then knocked out world ranked Darren Zenner (14-1-2, 7 ko) in the 2nd round to win the vacant USBA Super Middleweight Title Belt.

   Tony Thornton's final pro bout came on Sept. 30, 1995 and what a way to finish, facing the legendary Roy Jones Jr. (29-0, 25 ko) for his IBF Super Middleweight championship.  Thornton was stopped in round 3 by the man who was considered the "Pound for Pound King" at the time.

Tony Thornton ended his career with an outstanding record of 37 wins, 7 defeats, 1 draw, winning 26 by knockout.  He was a USBA Champion in two different divisions, and faced 3 Hall-of-Fame legends for their world titles.  He did this while holding a full time job as a Mail Carrier!  The hard working, "blue collar" boxer who was often mistaken for Marvin Hagler because of his bald head and aggressive style will always be remembered as a fan favorite of the ring.

Click here to see:  Tony Thornton's complete Pro ledger

If you'd like to see Tony "The Punching Postman" Thornton in ring action, I have the following bouts available on DVD:

1. STEVE COLLINS          [L-12] {USBA Middle Title} (Rds. 1/2/5/10-12 of 12 ONLY)
2. ISMAEL NEGRON         [tko-by-6]
3. DAVE TIBERI                 [tko-4]
4. KARAMA LEOTA          [tko-2]
5. EDDIE HALL                 [tko-1]
6. MERQUI SOSA             [w-10]
7. FERMIN CHIRINO       [w-10]
8. DANNY MITCHELL     [w-8]
9. JOHN SCULLY             [w-10]
10. WILLIE BALL             [tko-10]
11. JAMES TONEY           [L-12] {IBF Super Middle Title}
12. DARREN ZENNER     [tko-2] {Vacant USBA Super Middle Title}
13. ROY JONES JR.         [tko-by-3] {IBF Super Middle Title} (Thornton's LAST Pro Bout)

For information, contact me: The Boxing Guru




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