Lenroy Thomas – 10 facts about Joy Joyce opponent for David Haye vs Tony Bellew show
Key information about Lenroy Thomas, who defends his Commonwealth heavyweight title against Joe Joyce on the May 5 Tony Bellew vs David Haye II show in London
1. Born in Jamaica, as one of six siblings, 33-year-old southpaw Lenroy Thomas moved to the US in 1998, now resides in Florida and trains under Kenny Porter, father of welterweight star, Shawn Porter, in Las Vegas.
2. The Joe Joyce match, at the O2 on the David Haye vs Tony Bellew rematch bill, will be his 28th professional fight. With a record of 22-4-1 (10), three of his defeats have been by stoppage/KO, but is unbeaten in his last four and under Porter.
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3. This may be his first fight in London, but it is his third in the UK. Thomas outpointed Doncaster trier Dave Allen for the vacant Commonwealth belt last May, then the pair had a one-round technical draw in March after the Brit was ruled out with a severe cut caused by an accidental head-clash. Both contests were in Sheffield.
4. Dan Birmingham was Thomas’ coach heading into the first Allen fighter but was unable to travel to the UK. Porter stepped in at short notice and the pair have been together since. Allen has even stayed in Porter’s home during camp.
5. Porter joined Thomas on his man’s first trip back to Jamaica in almost 20 years, as the duo spent Thanksgiving there last year.
6. Thomas was inspired to become a boxer by the 1999 heavyweight unification match between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, which took place on Lenroy’s 14th birthday.
7. He sparred Anthony Joshua ahead of the latter’s IBF title-winning effort against Charles Martin, in 2016.
8. Thomas has also sparred the other heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, last year. He praised Wilder’s power and Joshua’s ring IQ.
9. A deeply religious man, Lenroy has previously lived on the street and spent time in prison. After moving to the US to live with his father, aged 13, the pair argued often and Thomas was ultimately kicked out. After rough nights on roads and in a dumpster, stealing food to survive, Thomas was invited to move in with a kindly lady whose lawn he mowed.
10. Before the first Allen fight, Thomas says he was still working at KFC, making a paltry (or poultry) $8.75 an hour.