After a commanding win over Sean Monaghan earlier in the month, what does the future have in store for one of the UK’s most exciting prospects at light-heavyweight.
When Callum Johnson returned from a two-year hiatus to fight Frank Buglioni in March of last year, few expected the Lincolnshire man to blast “The Wise Guy” out in one minute 31 seconds. While he had previously shown potential to mix it at British/Commonwealth level when knocking out Willbeforce Shipeho in the ninth at Manchester Arena back in 2016, his explosive performance against Buglioni suggested he had lost none of his ability during his time out of the ring.
Defeat to Beterbiev spurring Johnson upwards
Promoter Eddie Hearn wasted no time in fast tracking him to World level to fight Artur Beterbiev in Chicago for the IBF title. Johnson may have suffered a fourth-round knockout loss that night, but the result failed to tell the whole story.
Johnson sent his man down to the canvas with a crushing left-hand mid-way through the second round. Beterbiev beat the count but the Brit ought to have finished the job there and then, subsequently admitting the occasion probably got to him.
He made no such mistake with Sean Monaghan in New York on March 9th. Having dominated the early exchanges and ahead on all scorecards, Johnson dispatched the American with the minimum of fuss at the end of the third to potentially set up a rematch with his Russian foe.
While that bout will make plenty of appeal, there’s domestic options for him in a bustling division full of bright stars headed by the popular Joshua Buatsi. However, The Sports Report points out that this clash seems unlikely at this stage with the Londoner under the same promotional banner and a World Title would probably need to be on the line to see that fight. Johnson has also ruled fighting Hosea Burton who is a stablemate and close friend.
Yarde a potential route
The Anthony Yarde fight could be more interesting. The Ilford man looks set to challenge Sergey Kovalev for his WBO World Title with Yarde recently made his mandatory and, if he comes through that fight, he’s sure to want a big domestic showdown.
The sticking point could well be the rival networks they fight on. With the potential rematch between Fury and Wilder suffering as a result of network interference, Johnson will be hoping he can get this fight, should it ever happen, over the line.
However, with Buatsi likely to be the focus of Sky’s attention, it’s possible Hearn could let his fighter go on to a BT show, particularly if there’s a World Title on the line (as seen with the upcoming Galahad/Warrington fight).
At this stage it’s unclear who is next for Johnson, but what he doesn’t lack is options in a wide-open division.