Johnson back in the gym

Bahamian professional boxer Tureano Johnson returned to the gym last week, trying to stay active ahead of his next bout, whenever that will be. He is awaiting word from the relevant authorities as to when professional boxing will resume, and also from his promoter as to when he will get back in the ring. He remains hopeful of fighting later this year.

Like many other professional athletes who are in the country, Johnson has permission to resume his training.

“We as athletes do feel a sense of neglect, though many other factors, even on our part, has played a part in how we have been treated. We are grateful and very much appreciative to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis for being so thoughtful about athletes like me whom some wouldn’t have thought of in terms of what we bring to the table of the economy of The Bahamas,” Johnson said.

The right-handed boxer’s last fight was in July 2019 when he won the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) middleweight title, taking down the previously undefeated Jason Quigley of Ireland. Johnson was clearly the better fighter that night as he aggressively took the fight to Quigley, forcing Quigley’s corner to retire.

Johnson’s win-loss-draw record now stands at 21-2-1 and he has 15 knockouts.

Despite being somewhat limited in his training camp, Johnson said he is making the best out of the situation. He is anticipating that when the borders are reopened and flights resume, the fights will return in short order.

It was not easy getting into the gym for Johnson, who has been an ambassador for The Bahamas for many years both as a professional and an amateur. He said he was met with some resistance.

“One person made it very difficult to use the government facility,” Johnson said. “There was even talks that he stated that I had to pay him. Certainly, if any payments should be made, it should be to the ministry of sports and more so to the NSA (National Sports Authority).”

Bahamas Boxing Federation (BABF) President Vincent Strachan said the money would have been used to compensate the person opening and closing the gym, seeing that Johnson requested to use the gym at 6 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“Nobody wanted to charge Tureano to use the gym,” Strachan said. “That suggestion only came up based on the time that he said he wanted to train which was outside the regular training time.”

Strachan added that he was ensuring that the gym was secured after Johnson finished his workout as the equipment in the gym is expensive. He said he did not want to leave that responsibility to Johnson.

Eventually, the Olympian was allowed access to the gym with the assistance of NSA General Manager Quinton Brennen.

The Bahamian was slated to take on Russian Madive Magobed on April 4 but that fight had to be put off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson is confident of a victory whenever the fight is held.

“The WBA (World Boxing Association) number one contender status is on the line. The winner will face current WBA Champion Ryota Murata of Japan. Not to overlook any opponent, but I stand a better chance of winning, given that all preparations are met. Magobed is another undefeated fighter as my last opponent Jason Quigley was. I am not just the favorite to win, but the better fighter in all grounds and levels. The same as with Murata of Japan. I’m in a better place in my career and health – stronger, faster and more clever. I’m not just a threat to the division, but the one who is most dangerous. I’m taking on all fighters. I am ready,” Johnson said.

The power hitter fights under Golden Boy Promotions, which is run by former world champion Oscar De La Hoya. Johnson has his own management team headed by his wife Natania Johnson. He is coached by American Andre Rozier of Havoc Boxing in New York, and locally he trains under the watchful eyes of his sister, Bahamian coach Kayla Johnson. His supporters include his daughter, Tattiana Johnson, his mother and father, Erwin and Ikenna Johnson, the remainder of his family and friends, Jesus Ju Isdidorro of Cuba and Renaldo Minus.

Johnson said he also does virtual training and wears a face mask when he goes for a run, adhering to the social distancing protocols in place here in The Bahamas.

“Like it or not, our prime minister is our leader and we must pray for him, not condemn. Let’s be mindful of one another’s health and safety. It is time to focus on being more creative and innovative – create an earning from at home. Let’s show our resilience to not just withstand, but overcome and recover quickly from this difficult time,” Johnson said.

The week, he will continue his training as he looks to get in fighting shape for a chance to drape the Bahamian flag over his back once more.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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