By Scott Gilfoid: Following his 2nd round knockout loss to undefeated heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua (13-, 13 KOs) last Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, UK, 35-year-old American Kevin Johnson (29-7-1, 14 KOs) has decided to call it a career and retire from the game.
Johnson dropped a big hint that he may have come into the fight with some kind of injury that effected his right arm because he said he was helpless to block Joshua’s left hooks. As it turns out, it was Joshua’s right hand that did the most damage in the form of rabbit punches while he was flurrying on him in the 1st round after Johnson made the mistake of retreating to the ropes.
Without the ability to block Joshua’s left hooks, Johnson valiantly made a last stand in doing the best he could to block the incoming artillery from Joshua. Eventually, Joshua landed enough shots to where Johnson slide to the canvas like an old ship sinking beneath the waves. Johnson arose and beat the count, but it was painfully obvious that he wasn’t going to survive the next round.
“Young kid, strong kid. It just makes you evaluate,” Johnson said to IFL TV. “When it’s your time, it’s your time. I think it’s my time to get out of the game. That’s it for me. I’m not playing. I’m not going to sit back and stay around and suffer losses to the young fighters when I’m a seasoned fighter. When you experience a loss like that it’s time to get out of the game. [Joshua is a] young kid, a strong kid. I look forward to watching him on the big screen as he goes on the climb the rankings. I can’t really comment on his power because I had to take it. Had he known that I couldn’t block any of his left hooks, he would have been knocked me out with a left hook. I couldn’t even put my hand up. So that’s it. All I could do was bend over to my right and hope he doesn’t throw that many hooks and his arm gets tired, but it’s time to get out of the sport for me,” Johnson said.
It’s unclear why Johnson couldn’t put his hand up to block left hooks. It sounds like he might have come into the fight with an injury. If this is the case, then we got to give Johnson a lot of respect in taking the fight without him being 100 percent healthy. We also have to wonder how Johnson would have done had he been healthy for the fight. If he could have blocked Joshua’s left hooks, and used his right hand to throw his long shots. I was wondering why Johnson wasn’t throwing any right hands in the fight, but perhaps this is the reason why he could only throw jabs and retreat to the ropes.
This is a pretty sad news. Johnson has been around in the game since 2003, and he won some good fights during his career. He fought for a world title in 2009 against former WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, and he was able to make it the full 12 round distance in losing a 12 round decision. That fight gave Johnson a good payday. Johnson would later beat the likes of Alex Leapai, Albert Sosnowski before suffering controversial losses to Christian Hammer and Manuel Charr. In recent years, Johnson was beaten by Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora.