As a painter and artist in his spare time, Newark, New Jersey, boxer John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson IV (11-0, 4 KOs) has created many satisfying works of art. But Thompson will be looking to put his finest work yet on canvas this Friday, May 10, when he takes on Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico’s also-undefeated Giovany Rodriguez (8-0, 5 KOs). The two middleweights will clash over eight rounds in the co-feature of a ShoBox doubleheader Friday at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma.
In the main event, Montreal, Quebec, Canada’s undefeated IBF #3-ranked Dierry “Dougy Style” Jean (24-0, 16 KOs) will take on Los Angeles’ IBF #7-rated southpaw Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis (17-3-2, 6 KOs) in a 12-round IBF eliminator for the mandatory #1 spot at 140 lbs.
24-year-old Thompson combines a day job at an airline, his love for travel, his art and a blossoming career as a professional boxer. “Working at United Airlines allows me a discount on travel,” he said. “Last year, I went to Paris and Scotland. I also have my own business, called Divine Artist. I do portraits and landscapes, even abstract art. My motto is if you can think it, I can put it on canvas. But boxing is in my blood. My father started me in boxing when I was four. It comes very, very naturally for me. It’s so easy for me to feel people out and beat them.”
An old-school technician in the ring, Thompson styles himself after the pure boxers in the sport. “I’m a boxer. That’s the name of the game: to hit somebody and not get hit back. A lot of people get caught up in brawls. I like Floyd Mayweather because he’s a true boxer.”
Despite all his other pursuits, Thompson takes his boxing career very seriously. He trains twice a day at McGirt’s Training Facility in Nutley, NJ, under new trainer, former world champion James “Buddy” McGirt (his father and original trainer, John Thompson III, now serves as co-trainer).
“Buddy has been a great help as part of the team,” the younger Thompson said. “He’s a really cool guy who knows a lot about boxing. My father and I are still very close and Buddy has been able to add dimensions to what he and I were able to build.”
Thompson also says he’s very pleased with manager William Mielnicki and his promoters, Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions and Vito Mielnicki of GH3 Promotions. “William, Greg and Vito have been moving me very well and I am very thankful. I’m very pleased with where I am in my life and career. A lot of people have about four to five fights in two years. I’ve had 11 and won them all in less than two.”
Despite it being his first showcase for a national audience, Thompson says he’s expecting things to go his way. “He’s (Rodriguez) a southpaw, more of a boxer. He’s 8-0. I read he plans on winning, but we can’t both be victorious. I’m pretty sure I’ll win. I’m working on giving him a boxing lesson, but if the knockout comes, it comes. It’s not something you should plan on.”
Thompson is a well-rounded, intelligent man who will see how far his fistic talents take him, but no matter what, will continue to strive to be a role model and leader.
“After I become a champion, I want to start a business and be self-sufficient in my community of Newark. I go Downtown and see less-fortunate people. I want to start a program where I can help people provide for themselves. I want to help people get on their feet. It’s hard out here. I love my family and my coach. I’m very thankful for everything given to me. I have a lot of people to thank for that. I will always try to give back in my life.”