Author: Johnston Brown - My two pennies worth

Massive boxing and English football fan from South East London, England

Ritson & Kelly Continue to Shine

Lightweight Lewis Ritson (16-0, 10KOs) won the British title outright after demolishing undefeated Irishman Paul Hyland Jnr (18-1, 7KOs) within a round at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, England.

The 24-year-old lifted the roof off the Metro Radio Arena when he entered the ring to Blaydon Races which is a Geordie folk song.

With the crowd hyped up from ‘The Sandman’s’ intro it was time to get down to business.

Ritson was in his normal destructive mood as he walked through shots to floor his opponent three times in the first round before the fight was waved off to the delight of the passionate home fans.

Another young rising star has been born and promoter Eddie Hearn was delighted with his protégés performance. He said: “He’s won the British title in four rounds in three defences.

“We don’t know where this story ends. He doesn’t know what he has got but I haven’t heard an atmosphere like that for a long time.

“European titles, world titles, we dream big. There’s a lot of work to do but we are going to give it 100%.”

Ritson was a welterweight in the amateurs which explains why he is such a monster at lightweight. I can’t see many 135 pounders domestically wanting to step in the ring with him.

Scotsman Ricky Burns was on the same card in Newcastle when he picked up his 42nd victory in 50 professional fights. Burns is not one to avoid anybody so there is every chance of a meeting with Ritson in the near future.

Other candidates are Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell who would also be perfect opponents that would draw a huge crowd to St James Park.

If you know anything about English football then you know that the Newcastle United fans are the most loyal in the country. So filling the 52,000 capacity stadium would not be an issue.

With the backing of Matchroom boxing and the geordie faithful behind him this down to earth kid has the potential to go to the very top.

The lightweight division is one of the best around today with two pound for pound kings currently ruling in Vasly Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia so Ritson has a mammoth task ahead of him to pick up a world title.

Where Ritson is exciting to watch his North East compatriot Josh Kelly (7-0, 5KOs) entertains the crowd with his outstanding footwork and excellent boxing skills. ‘Pretty Boy’ Kelly became the welterweight commonwealth champion when Kris George (14-2, 8KOs) retired in round seven after a dominant performance.

Kelly has already faced seasoned pros in only seven fights stopping five inside the distance. The 24-year-old is being moved at a dramatically fast pace and is already considered by many as the best welterweight in Britain.

After picking up the commonwealth title he will be knocking on the door of a top 20 place in the world which is pretty incredible considering he hasn’t reached the ten fight milestone yet.

Like with Ritson, Kelly is in another stacked division were some of the very best in the world compete. Look no further than Terrence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr as a guide to the standard he needs to reach.

Two young and different fighters from the North East of England in two of the best divisions in world boxing is something to get excited about. Granted it is still very early days but these two shining stars have an incredible fan base that even Loma, Garcia, Crawford and Spence Jr would be jealous of.

Joshua-Wilder: Are you a Pessimist or Optimist?

Breaking News this morning came from the Wilder camp that he has accepted the offer made by Team Joshua to fight on British soil this year.

The WBC heavyweight champion did not make the official announcement in an interview or press conference but of course on social media:

“BREAKING NEWS for all you Anthony Joshua fans… The $50m offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available.

“Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose.”

What’s your view on the latest statement from Wilder? Is this fight really on? Are Joshua and Wilder ready to rumble or is this just another publicity stunt? Are you a pessimist or an optimist?

The Optimists

If your a glass half full type of guy then this news will be music to your ears. Wilder fans will be in a frenzy right now so if your like me I would keep their views and perspectives at a distance. Otherwise you may find yourself shouting insults at your portable devices. As referee’s always say just before the sound of the first bell, “Keep it clean fellers”.

Shelly Finkel then backed up Wilder’s announcement:

“We have agreed to the terms that Eddie (Hearn) has put out to us for a fight in the UK.

“Deontay sent an email to Joshua on Sunday night and I sent one today to Barry Hearn and Eddie telling them that we officially accept the offer to fight under the terms they gave us and to send us the contract.”

Even Wilder’s trainer Jay Deas has seconded the Wonderful Wilder and Fantastic Mr Finkel’s statement:

“They offered and we accepted. We offered $50m, which is what he said he wanted and then he turned it down.

“Then they came back with a much, much, much smaller offer for Deontay, which would have been even less than Deontay would have made in the United States, and wanted him to still travel to the UK for the fight. And we said yes.

“The reason we did is because Deontay is investing in himself. He wants this for the fans and he wants this for his legacy and he knows that being the undisputed heavyweight champ of the world will give him the financial gain as he proceeds.

“Even though we would have liked a better deal, Deontay said yes.”

Brilliant! Just Brilliant! Roll on September, October or November what ever month they have agreed to do the fight. You have played us all along you sneaky, sneaky little gits!

The Pessimists

For the Scrooge’s of the game this is nothing more than a publicity stunt from Team Wilder. Discussions have been ongoing for what feels like an eternity with the same old boring news being released every week just to keep us keen boxing enthusiasts interested.

On June 9 Eddie Hearn told a national newspaper that Anthony Joshua’s next contest will be announced in the next 48 hours. In an exclusive statement Hearn said;

“The Povetkin deal is virtually done, it’s close.

“The Wilder one is not, but we’re talking to him every day. It’s just a case of if we can get that done. Joshua would like to fight in September. The Wilder fight doesn’t really work in September, mainly because of the Canelo Alvarez fight. If Joshua fights Wilder [next] it will be October or November in the UK. If he fights Povetkin it will be in September. It will either be Povetkin then Wilder or Wilder then Povetkin. But if it is Povetkin next, then Wilder will definitely be signed before we go into that fight.”

48hours on and we hear nothing until Wilder makes an announcement past that deadline on social media? This is a publicity stunt from Team Wilder because they already know that the Povetkin deal is done.

Even rival British promoter Frank Warren was quoted saying – after the pathetic Fury performance – that the deal between Joshua and Povetkin is more or less done:

“I think Anthony Joshua is fighting Alexander Povetkin in September, so he will not fight until next year now and I think Wilder has got a mandatory.”

What ever side of the fence you sit on make sure you listen in on the Billy C Boxing show today for their views and opinions.

I would rather keep my views private so without giving too much away, “Bah Humbug”.

Hooker becomes the fourth American to win a World Title on British soil

On the night Tyson Fury (26-0, 19KOs) made a winning return back the ring Terry Flanagan (33-1, 13KOs) lost to American Maurice Hooker (24-0-3, 16KOs) to take the vacant WBO super-lightweight title at the Manchester Arena.

This was the fourth time an American has won a world title on British soil in the last 18-months after he emulated compatriots Gervonta Davis, Errol Spence Jr and Caleb Truax.

The 28-year-old Hooker from Dallas, Texas stayed on the back foot for the first half of the fight using his extra 9-inch leavers to keep Flanagan at distance.

When the Mancunian was on the balls of his feet and ducking under the jab to work the body he was causing his opponent problems. Unfortunately too many times he was getting caught regularly on the way out.

In the seventh Flanagan was able to get close enough to land a big left hand as Hooker neglected is jab. But after two head collisions the Englishman came out worse with a cut above his right his eye and forehead.

Not too be disgruntled from the cuts Flanagan continued to be the aggressor but staying flat footed only made it easier for the American to find the target.

Some rounds were hard to call so both fighters would have known deep down that the last two could be vital to the outcome of the fight.

In my opinion it was Hooker that got the better of the exchanges in the last two rounds which got him the victory. The split decision was not a surprise but the variation of the scorecards were. One judge had it 117-111 to Flanagan and the other two 115-113 and 111-117 to Hooker. No mater how wide two of the scorecards were the outcome was the right one.

Fury return 

Tyson Fury made his long awaited return after almost three years away from the ring against Sefer Seferi.

The self proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ spent the first round clowning around with not much else after until a fight broke out ringside amongst the crowd.

When Fury did decide to up the tempo in the fourth his Albanian opponent opted out and retired in his corner before the start of the fifth.

Fury will return on August 18 hopefully against a proper opponent at least then we will be able to assess where he is at then.

Another great fight night at the Historic York Hall

York Hall has this wonderful ability to bring the best out of fighters and once again it showed the boxing faithful why it was so important that this legendary building was saved from demolition in 2004.

JD NXGEN is guided by Mathroom Boxing and is a bill that allows exciting young talent to headline small hall nights rather than being buried deep in a big names undercard.

The ‘Mecca’ of British Boxing was the perfect venue for a card sacked with London’s finest protégées. Knowledgeable boxing fans packed themselves into the small historic home of boxing on Wednesday to cheer on their favorite.

With the balconies drooped with supportive flags, beers flowing at the bar near where the fighters enter the ring and a chorus of songs echoing around the arena it was time to get down to business.

The three main stars of the night Ted Cheeseman (14-0, 9KOs), Reece Bellotti (12-1, 11KOs) and Lawrence Okolie (9-0, 7KOs) all produced performances that pumped up an already lively crowd.

Bellotti loses unbeaten record

Unfortunately for the predominantly London crowd it was the Watford fighter Bellotti that lost his ‘O’ against Mancunian Ryan Doyle. A loss for the featherweight is no big deal and he will learn more from this loss then the 12 fights before.

It was an absolute barnstormer of a fight until once again anxious referee Howard Foster waved off the fight prematurely following a right hand from Doyle that put Bellotti down in the fourth round.

Both fighters decided to have a tear-up instead of attempting to box clever. Not smart on the Londoners part especially against a more natural 130 pounder but York Hall does have this tendency to get into a fighters head. They seem to naturally want to impress the fans and take risks.

Bellotti made too many mistakes against Doyle which led to the stoppage. He continued to walk in straight lines with no head movement which resulted in him getting tagged far too often.

His distances were poor but when he found his range he looked impressive. Doyle threw a right hand that connected with the top of Bellotti’s head which rocked him before he hit the deck but Howard Foster waved off the fight before he was given the chance to recover his senses.

I’m almost certain the 27-year-old will look for a rematch but he will need to be more cautious. Congratulations to Doyle who was able to prove that he is a better fighter then many including myself gave him credit for.

Okolie becomes Commonwealth Cruiserweight Champion

The main event of the evening went according to plan and featured 25-year-old Okolie against Luke Watkins. ‘The Sauce’ entered the ring with fellow Londoner and unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to the delight of the crowd.

The East Londoner controlled the tempo of the first two rounds using his extremely long reach while throwing solid right hand shots to the head and body. Luke ‘The Duke’ was unable to get beyond the huge frame of Okolie to cause him any trouble.

In the end it was a massive right hand that floored Watkins for the first time in the third but to his credit the Swindon fighter got back to his feet only to walk into a barrage of punches which inevitably ended the fight.

Many pundits have compared the Hackney fighter’s awkward and unpredictable style with American heavyweight Deontay Wilder. I have to agree with those comments to some extent but the former Olympian has already made improvements in only nine fights and will continue to improve unlike the WBC champion. Okolie has more than his right hand and uses his frame to good effect but he definitely looks very unorthodox like Wilder.

‘Big Cheese’ continues to shine

Super welterweight Ted Cheeseman produced another excellent display when he stopped Paul Upton in the fourth round. The Bermondsey boy blasted his opponent down to the canvas three times before the fight was finally waved off.

Eddie Hearn is looking to secure a Commonwealth title shot for the 22-year-old in his next fight. I would like to see the Londoner step up another level and face guys like Sam Eggington and Liam Williams who may still hold the commonwealth title?

The rest of the card

Danny Dignum (6-0, 2KOs) came through his toughest challenge to date when he picked himself off the canvas twice against Anthony Fox to win by one point 57-56 in the super-middleweight division.

Middleweight Felix Cash (9-0, 6KOs) went the distance against Francis Tchoffo to get the nod 80-71.

Craig ‘Spider’ Richards (12-1, 6KOs) knocked out Ivan Stupalo in the third round of a scheduled six in the light heavyweight division.

Kazakhstan welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov (2-0, 1KO) recorded his second victory against Zoltan Szabo.

Bantamweight Sean McGoldrick (6-0, 2KOs) defeated Craig Derbyshire and Louie Lynn (2-0, 1KO) of the featherweight division knocked out Ricky Starkey in the second round.

Wednesday Night Boxing

This evening Matchroom boxing presents a JD NXGEN bill that includes three highly rated prospects at the ‘Mecca’ of British boxing, York Hall, Bethnal Green.

In the cruiserweight division we have a very intriguing match-up between two undefeated fighters in British No.2 Luke Watkins (13-0, 9KOs) and No.4 ranked Lawrence Okolie (8-0, 6KOs).

Commonwealth champion Watkins has accumulated 65 rounds in 13 bouts with a 69% knockout ratio and a combined opponent record of 99-85-4.

Hackney-born Okolie is looking for his second title in only his ninth fight after picking up the continental version of the WBA strap when he defeated another prospect Isaac Chamberlain earlier this year.

The 25-year-old has fought 25 rounds in 8 pro fights with a knockout percentage of 75 and a combined opponent record of 48-46-1.

Although Watkins does have slightly more experience he is 4-inches shorter then Okolie who also has a longer reach.

Okolie’s awkward style and long leavers will cause the 28-year-old problems but he does possess a solid right hand. The Swindon fighter has stopped nine of his thirteen opponents so it could be a matter of who lands first.

I’m expecting the usual fast start from Okolie so it wouldn’t surprise me if this one ends earlier. Watkins will need to weather storm and hope he lands a clean shot if he is to stand a chance. I’m picking the former Olympian Okolie to win by stoppage in the middle rounds.

Reece Bellotti (12-0, 11KOs) makes the third defense of his Commonwealth featherweight title against Ryan Doyle (16-2-1, 8KOs). The Watford-born fighter is gradually becoming a top contender in the 126lb division which is stacked with some excellent talent in Britain and Ireland.

Currently ranked at No.6 in the UK the 27-year-old has an impressive 98% knockout ratio after 58 rounds of boxing in just 12 fights. His combined opponent record stands at 140-182-13 which may not look great on paper but he has fought some tough journeymen which has given him valuable experience.

‘Bomber’ is up against a guy that has fought predominantly at the 130lb limit but has failed to successfully make the grade when stepping up in class. Manchester-born Doyle is a ranked outsider but is 2 inches taller and will probably come in bigger than Bellotti. Unfortunately I don’t see that making much difference as I can only see one winner and that is Reece Bellotti picking up his twelfth career stoppage.

In the super-welterweight division Bermondsey boy Ted Cheeseman (13-0, 8KOs) is also in action against undefeated Londoner Paul Upton (15-0, 3KOs). The 22-year-old is currently ranked at No.5 in Britain after only 13 fights he has fought 63 rounds with a knockout ratio of 62% and a combined opponent record of 152-104-13.

Fresh from a unanimous decision victory over the durable Carson Jones I can’t see Cheeseman slipping up against Upton. The one dangerous aspect will be that the 29-year-old is more of a natural middleweight which could pose a slight threat. But I’m going for a Cheeseman to win via stoppage.

Also on the bill we have exciting middleweight Felix Cash (8-0, 6KOs), the Kazakhstan with a big future Daniyar Yeleussinov (1-0, 1KO), Southpaw Danny Dignum (5-0, 2KOs), Sean McGoldrick (5-0, 2KOs), Louie Lynn (1-0, 1KO) and Craig ‘Spider’ Richards (11-1, 5KOs)

Looking forward to a quality night of boxing. Enjoy Ladies and Gents!

Eddie Hearn: At the moment, we are fighting Povetkin.

Eddie Hearn has made the clearest indication yet that Alexander Povetkin will be next for Anthony Joshua and not Deontay Wilder.

“At the moment, we are fighting Povetkin,” Hearn told Boxing News.

“We want to fight in September but September doesn’t work with Wilder because of Showtime.

“If we fight Wilder it would probably be October, November but if we fight Povetkin it will be September.

“All I can say is that I think this fight will get signed but it’s whether we fight Povetkin first.“

It’s been the worst kept secret that Wilder has verbally agreed that WBC No.1 challenger Dominic Breazeale will be his next opponent. This would explain the delayed negotiations between team Joshua and Wilder’s advisers and not the venue.

The WBA have put the pressure on Matchroom Boxing to get a deal agreed with Povetkin’s team or risk the fight going to purse bids. Which would be a disaster for Hearn and Joshua considering the amount of clout the Russian has behind him.

The likelihood of big Josh facing his 38-year-old mandatroy challenger next has increased day by day with time is running out for an undisputed heavyweight contest being finalised.

Hearn issued a deadline last week and Bary Hearn did meet with Shelly Finkel on Friday. Bary Hearn told Sky Sports exclusively, “I think the bluster is gone and we’re now at the stage where there’s real decisions to be made in the next few days. I’m very happy to say I’ve done my bit.

“Eddie and his team take over, as always, and the last word comes from the man himself. Wherever we go, it has to have the approval of AJ, because he’s the main man.”

Eddie Hearn has been looking at possible venues for both fights issuing this latest update: “Wembley Stadium is a venue being considered and so is the Olympic Stadium (West Ham FC) and Twickenham (England Rugby Stadium). Dates could be September 15 or 22. But Hearn did note “But the 8th is available at Old Trafford (Manchester United FC).

“That’s 15 weeks away now so to do a Wilder fight, you’d want to give it the build up it deserves. If Povetkin is September then Wilder probably won’t happen until February. That would mean we would probably go to Cardiff.

“We wanted September because there was the possibility of places like Wembley.

“But if you go October or November then it becomes Cardiff, where we have done two fights on the bounce.”

Clearly Joshua wants the fight and has left the ball in Wilder’s court to make a decision on whether he wants it now or next year. Hearn continued, “I really do think the Wilder fight will happen but it’s just whether or not it’s next.

“It won’t be any more than the one after Povetkin, that’s the maximum wait.”

I’m guessing a contract may well be signed but only IF they both win their fights against Povetkin and Breazeale first. This is a massive gamble by both camps as defeat could blow everything out of the water. I’m sure they will both have rematch clauses in place so defeat would not be a complete disaster but it would delay the fight even further plus lose a bit of glamour with the boxing faithful.

Eddie Hearn: Povetkin deal close

Eddie Hearn has urged Team Wilder to accept their recent offer of fighting Antony Joshua in Britain or risk losing out to Alexander Povetkin.

Hearn has been in discussions with Povetkin’s World of Boxing team about a WBA mandatory challenge in parallel with Wilder’s representatives.

“I don’t like making deadlines because sometimes it gets people’s backs up but at some stage soon we have to make a decision,” said Hearn.

“We are close to closing a deal with Povetkin with (Andrey) Robinsky and World of Boxing and once the deal is closed, there is no Deontay Wilder.

Bary Hearn is currently in New York and is expecting to meet with Shelly Finkel in hope of thrashing out a deal.

“Wilder has had the latest offer from us for the last two weeks which was our improved offer and we are still talking to them and in fact, my dad is out in New York at the moment, and he might meet Shelly today,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

“They have our offer so they have to accept it or move on. It’s not a case of if you don’t accept this offer the fight is dead, we will just fight Povetkin and carry on our negotiations to the next one.

“It has to be the next one, or the one after that. Joshua wants to fight. We’ve got an opportunity to go in September and Josh is keen to fight in that month and if Wilder wants it, it’s there.

“But I do still believe Wilder will take this offer.”

Povetkin’s team are waiting in the wings to strike a deal if Wilder does not accept the latest offer.

“I’ve got a very good relationship with Ryanbinskiy and Vadim and I am very honest with them,” Hearn said.

“They know exactly what’s happening here and they know they can’t stop the Wilder fight but also, we’ve got a situation where they need to know what they’re doing. We are talking at length on the deal and we will reach an agreement for the fight.

“It is a very, very difficult fight, the Povetkin fight. He’s lost once, to Wladimir Klitschko who did everything he could to try and stop him but couldn’t do it.

The Latest Episode of Joshua-Wilder

At the beck end of last week and beginning of this week rumors circulated that mandatory WBA challenger Alexander Povetkin was threatening to call on purse bids for a fight with Anthony Joshua.

Well those rumors seem to have been accurate with the WBA issuing a deadline for both sides to come to an agreement.

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn made a public statement this week: “We’ve got a situation with Povetkin where probably next week they’ll (WBA) call for purse bids then it takes another two weeks, something like that for the purse bids,” said Hearn.

“I think realistically two weeks is the absolute deadline.

“We’re speaking very frequently, and to be fair to Deontay he understands.

“It’s not like he’s moaning about it. He always felt that he’d have to come to the UK and like I said they made a strong offer,” Hearn added.

“Some of the points, or some of the clauses in that offer weren’t acceptable, some were.

“We could have talked about them but it was just a decision from the team that the first one should be in the UK.

“We want to go in September and that’s either going to be, most likely at this stage, Wilder or Povetkin.

“Both are tough fights. By the end of this week I want to be in a position to know if Wilder wants the fight.”

It does seem that the WBA and Team Povetkin have become impatient – which is very understandable – with the drawn out delay from both camps to get this fight signed.

The unified world heavyweight champion has made it crystal clear that he wants the first fight to take place in the UK. I don’t think many boxing experts or ‘real’ boxing fans would begrudge the Londoner’s stand on this decision especially as he deserves the right to fight for undisputed supremacy on British soil.

After all it is Joshua that has managed to pick up four world titles whereas Wilder has just sat on his WBC title for quite a while now without pushing himself into any unification fights.

Last week Hearn gave the reasons why Joshua wants the first fight in the UK: “One for the fans and two he feels like he’s earned that right.”

As a fellow Londoner that was music to my ears as we have never had an undisputed heavyweight fight on these shores before plus I’m pleased that Joshua is thinking of his fans when it comes to his decision making. Especially when almost 250,000 of them have paid good money to watch his last three fights.

With the deadline looming and Hearn being modest about on-going discussions with Wilders representatives, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ went public with aspirations of moving down to the cruiserweight division: “What’s up boxing world. You know I just been sitting in my car thinking. I been thinking about once I unify the heavyweight division, moving down to the cruiserweight division, taking over that division.

“I mean there’s never been a heavyweight champion ever go down in weight. I mean just for the fun of it! Just take over the cruiserweight division while maintaining the heavyweight division. What you guys think?”

History suggests that Wilder may well be biting off more than he can chew; look no further than when Roy Jones Jr tried it back in 2013 against Antonio Tarver. I’m guessing this is just another one of his publicity stunts that defers public attention away from the elephant in the room – Anthony Joshua.

While the boxing world were discussing if the American could actually fight under the 200lb weight limit Povetkin was quietly speaking in Moscow about his chances of facing Joshua. The 38-year-old said: “I am the mandatory challenger for the WBA world champion’s belt, which currently belongs to Joshua.

“It is unclear when and where this fight will happen as everything depends on our promoters. However, I believe the fight is more likely to be held in Great Britain this autumn.

“I will begin with my training sessions, when the exact date of the bout is announced,” added the Russian.

The shenanigans of team Wilder seem to only ignite his fans who believe every word that comes out of the repulsive WBC champion’s mouth which at times can be very frustrating.

Just my two pennies worth but I am completely in agreement with the main man Billy C that Joshua verse Wilder will not happen this year. Don’t get me wrong I hope that I’m wrong as I want to see the fight just as much as the next fan.

I can’t help but envision Wilder stalling until Joshua has no choice but to take the Povetkin fight. Once it’s publically announced Wilder will jump straight onto social media and tell the world how Joshua has ducked him.

Johnson up for Beterbiev Challenge

IBF light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12KOs) is probably one of the most avoided fighters in boxing today.

The 33-year-old has been left frustrated with none of the top light-heavys willing to step up to the plate and face the Canada-based champion.

Normally British fighters are willing to take an opportunity of fighting for a world title in a heart beat but even our domestic No.1 Anthony Yarde (15-0, 14KOs) recently turned down the Russian.

Team Beterbiev and the IBF have been urgently seeking an opponent but have constantly hit a brick wall. In the end they decided to offer the British and Commonwealth champion Callum Johnson (17-0, 12KOs) the chance of fighting Beterbiev and the Englishman jumped at the chance of fighting the 175lb recking machine. Johnson said: “These opportunities don’t come around every day and, when my promoter Eddie Hearn showed me the letter from the IBF offering the fight, I jumped at it. 

“I’m in the game to be in the biggest and best fights possible. I’ve dreamt of winning a world title since I was a kid so I’m not going to turn down this chance because he [Beterbiev] is this apparent beast. I believe I am a beast as well and can beat him.”

Johnson, also 33, was almost a forgotten force due to his inactivity but produced his best performance to date when he knocked out Frank Buglioni in the first round earlier this year.

The Commonwealth gold medalist is no mug and should not be taken lightly but he will be facing another devastating puncher in Beterbiev.

Johnson continued: “I’ve boxed big, ferocious, Russians before in the amateurs and I know how they fight and what they do. I know they might not be as big and bad as Beterbiev but you have to be in it to win it and I’m confident I can beat anyone on my day.

“I know a lot about him, we was in the amateurs at the same time, I used to watch him and he’s always been the force that he is.

“At the same time, we’re all human, I don’t fear any man so all the talk of how big and strong he is, his power, it’s all very well and good, but at the end of the day, he’s human. I don’t fear him.”

Although discussions are still ongoing with September being earmarked the Boston-man has no fear traveling overseas to take on the Russian knockout artist. He said: “After my last win, I did initially want a European title shot, but suddenly I got this chance of a lifetime and I didn’t ever consider not taking it.

“I’m not totally sure of the current situation, I think Beterbiev may have a few promotional problems that need to be settled first.

“I’m just training and waiting for a date. They’ve spoke about September but it could be later on in the year, I leave that down to the team.

“I’d like to get a fight in before but it all depends on how negotiations go, when it takes place and what my team think the best thing to do is.

“Having boxed in the USA and Canada many times as an amateur, it’s not something brand new for me, I’ve been there and done it.”

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