Sunday, Dec 9, 2018
Homenewsletter-sportsJohnson set to take on Lemieux

Johnson set to take on Lemieux

Fight is set for next Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York
Bahamian Middleweight Champion Tureano Johnson, right, is shown after a training session with Coach Andre Rozier. At left is American boxer Curtis Stevens, who gave Johnson one of his two professional losses. Stevens had a controversial victory over Johnson in April of 2014. NATANIA JOHNSON

This could be the last hoorah for Bahamian Middleweight Champion Tureano Johnson.

Determined to get back in the world rankings and earn that elusive world title shot, the Bahamian super middleweight fighter will take on one of the world’s best next Saturday on one of the world’s biggest stages for boxing and professional entertainment.

Johnson is set to challenge Canadian David Lemieux in the co-main event of the Rocky Fielding/Canelo Alvarez card for Fielding’s WBA Super Middleweight Title on Saturday December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA. Johnson’s bout is scheduled for 12 rounds, and if successful, could catapult him back up the world middleweight rankings.

Former World Champion Lemieux (40-4-0, 34KOs) is highly ranked in all of the major boxing organizations, as high as the number one contender in the World Boxing Association (WBA). Johnson (20-2-0, 14KOs) is unranked following his latest setback – a technical knockout loss to Sergiy ‘The Technician’ Derevyanchenko of the Ukraine in August of last year.

“This fight is very important to me,” said Johnson. “I don’t fear my opponent but I do fear losing. David Lemieux is a fighter who has been on the world stage for a while. I’m sure that he is prepared for this fight, but I am prepared as well. We know each other very well. As a matter of fact we both fought on the very same card October 18 of 2015 at the Madison Square Garden. Strangely enough, it was almost me who would have been fighting David. This is a fight that I have been praying for, for a while. God answered my prayers and now this fight is about to take place. My focus is to show that I have grown in the art of boxing and that I have what It takes to be a world champion.”

Lemieux is younger than Johnson, 29 to 34 years, and has more ring experience, but Johnson has the reach advantage, 73-1/2” to 70”, and seems determined to get to the top. He knows that a win over Lemieux could put him in line for that elusive world title shot that he has been yearning for for quite a while now. Johnson is currently training out of Sadam Ali Boxing Center in Brooklyn, New York, under the watchful eyes of Coach Andre Rozier. He fights under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.

“Training camp is going as planned – the weather took some time getting used to, but hey it’s New York so it is expected to be cold here this time of year,” said Johnson. “Training with a new coach is going well. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. Our personalities mix well with each other and our aim and focus is very much the same. There is always pressure competing, so it’s nothing new to me. Fighting away from home was much of a life for me. Of course, the Almighty God has gifted me with this talent and ability and I thank Him daily. I am fighting for my wife, my daughter, my mother and father, my family, friends and my entire country, and of course myself. The last loss I encountered was a gain for me, and has made me a better me. I feel very strong and fast and definitely much more wiser and clever in the ring,” he added.

Johnson is coming off a 16-month lay-off after losing a world middleweight title eliminator bout to Derevyanchenko in Miami, Oklahoma, last year. The last time he returned to the ring after more than a 12-month lay-off was following shoulder surgery after defeating Irishman Eamonn O’Kane in October of 2015. The previous time he returned to the ring after at least a 12-month lay-off, he suffered a controversial stoppage loss to American Curtis ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ Stevens.

“They call it ring rust but I feel fine. Nothing pleases me more than when I go in front of a huge crowd especially at Madison Square Garden in New York. The pinnacle of a professional fighter’s career is to be in front of that audience. I feel like I have something to prove and you will see me show out that night at Madison Square Garden. I’ve had some setbacks in my career, but I’m feeling better than I ever have before. I’m excited to be part of this platform and will take advantage of this opportunity with a victory against Lemieux,” he said.

The much anticipated fight is now less than two weeks away. It is the ultimate middleweight showcase of the evening at what is considered the ‘Mecca of Boxing’, and the undercard will feature some of Golden Boy Promotions’ best rising stars.

Johnson’s opponent Lemieux is coming off a spectacular first-round knockout victory over Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan on the televised pay-per-view undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘Triple G’ Golovkin – Part 2. The native of Montreal, Canada will look to earn another shot at the middleweight crown after this bout against Johnson.

“I’m extremely ready and looking forward to my next fight against Johnson,” he was quoted as saying. “I didn’t take a break since my last fight because I thought that I would be facing Canelo. Training camp has been great. Johnson is a solid opponent. I’m ready for an explosive performance and a great victory to end the year in a great way.”

Oscar De La Hoya, chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of Golden Boy Promotions, said that the middleweight encounter is a fitting way to end the year.

“Golden Boy Promotions will give fans early Christmas gifts this year as we offer yet another great card to close 2018 on a very high note,” he was quoted as saying. “David Lemieux still has his eyes set on Canelo, and that night they will be in the same arena. Lemieux knows that if he loses against Tureano Johnson, he can forget about any shot with Canelo. Also, each of these undercard fights, even the ones featuring Sadam Ali, Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz and Lamont Roach, Jr., could easily be the main attraction of any other event, so fans should not miss out on this great night of action – especially when it’s free for new DAZN subscribers.”

As mentioned, the event will be free to new DAZN subscribers. It will be streamed live on DAZN – which is just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial.

Johnson plans to return home to The Bahamas after the fight and spend Christmas with his family before returning to New York in the new year.

“After this fight I intend on coming home with a victory, possibly go to one of the Family Islands and just relax for a day or two, then go back to the drawing board for my next fight adventure en route for a world title shot,” said Johnson. “I just want to thank everyone who has helped me to get this far, and I will continue to represent them to the best of my ability. I want to extend gratitude to my apostle Phalmon Ferguson and the United Faith Ministries International family for their continued prayers, love and support, the Food Kingdom Take Away, the Community Pharmacy, K.S. Moses, Aktiv Body Rehab, Da Bahamian Dream Sports & Lifestyle Nutrition Store, Magna Concierge Services and all my friends, family and supporters. I’d also like to thank the entire Bahamian public at large for their support. God bless you all and see you soon with a victory.”

Johnson is the WBA’s International Middleweight and World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Silver Middleweight titles holder, and hopes to add a world title to that collection in the not too distant future. The veteran fighter was pounded in his last fight against Derevyanchenko before going down, and is now looking to get back on track.

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