It is around a year since Jordan Thompson sought out the help of renowned trainer Tony Simms’ after surviving a torrid ending to his unanimous decision victory over Vasil Ducar.

The pair have only had one fight together - a sixth round stoppage of Luke Watkins in April - but they have gelled well. Now, they need to put everything they have worked on into practice.

Thompson (15-0, 12KO’s) gets the opportunity of a lifetime this weekend when he faces IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight champion, Jai Opetaia (22-0, 17 KO’s) in London.

Standing 6ft 7in tall, athletically gifted and ferociously dedicated, ’The Practitioner of Artistic Violence’ possesses all of the raw materials required of a top class boxer. Thompson, 30, has had a stop start career but now, after almost eight years as a professional, he is confident he has found the perfect trainer to put the pieces together and build him into a world class fighter.

We don’t have much of a sample size so far but Thompson did look like a much stronger, more robust fighter against Watkins. In an ideal world, Thompson and Simms would have loved a few more months to work together but boxing isn’t an ideal sport and opportunities like this don’t come around very often.

Opetaia starts as a massive favorite given the impressive nature of his title winning effort over Mairis Briedis in July 2022 but if Simms can tighten up the fundamentals and provide Thompson with a solid base, those natural athletic gifts may just bear fruit.

“I just think it’s come from the training. There were fundamentals that Tony wanted to get into me early. One of those won me the fight with Watkins actually, that left hook to the body,” Thompson told

“There’s lots of stuff we’ve been working on but where I think Tony has been great is that he hasn’t tried to change me too much. He’s just tried to add to the toolbox and make me into that complete fighter. I think the strength and fitness is just down to some unbelievable strength and conditioning work, unbelievably consistent training. That’s the first time I’ve ever had constant structure and routine. It paid off big time.

“I felt a lot more confident in my structure, my frame and even my presence [against Watkins],” he continued. I think that showed in the style I was fighting in. Confidence comes from preparation so knowing just how thoroughly I’d prepared I was very, very confident going into the fight. I was confident in my body, my fitness and my in boxing. My skillset and my mindset, everything was very strong. It was amazing. I was in a really good place.”

Simms is a understated trainer, preferring his fighters to take the spotlight but he has a long, undoubted track record of success. Thompson is mixing with the likes of IBF super featherweight champion, Joe Cordina, John Ryder and Conor Benn. It is a demanding environment but one he is thriving in.

“You have to earn your stripes and you have to show everybody that you aren’t there to mess about,” he said. “You’re there to put the graft in. At the end of the day you have to be a team player and the people you’re with in a boxing gym are almost your family. Even though it is an individual sport but - especially when you’re in camp - you’re spending the majority of your time together. You’ve gotta put yourself out there. It’s a testing gym, trust me. It’s hard going.”