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Tarver: I’m ready for Wladimir Klitschko!

Antonio Tarver Steve Cunningham Wladimir Klitschko TUREANO JOHNSON(Photo credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment) By Scott Gilfoid: No.9 WBA heavyweight contender Antonio Tarver (31-6-1, 22 KOs) came up empty last Friday night in fighting to a 12 round draw against 39-year-old Steve “USS” Cunningham (28-7-1, 13 KOs) in their fight on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike TV from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.


Tarver, 46, came into the fight needing a big win to get him pushed up closer to the top five so that he could lure IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (64-3, 53 KOs) into fighting him. But instead of getting a win, Tarver had to settle for getting a 12 round draw against Cunningham by the scores of 115-113 for Cunningham, 115-113 for Tarver, and 114-114.

Tarver felt that the judges got the scoring wrong for the fight because he felt that he had done more than enough to win a close 12 round decision. Despite failing to get the victory, Tarver doesn’t think it will impact his ability to get a fight against Klitschko. Tarver says he’s ready for the big fight against Klitschko.

“I thought I won a close fight,” Tarver said to the media last Friday after his 12 round draw against Cunningham. “I hurt him a few times. George Foreman didn’t win it the first time around. I didn’t lose. I had a draw. I’m ready for the big fight. That’s it. I’m looking for Klitschko. They know that. The guy [Cunningham] didn’t have no rhythm. He was in there sporadically. Like I said, I boxed his head off. He didn’t hurt me with nothing big. I don’t know what the judges were looking at. I landed all the power shots, and hurt him and almost had him out. I felt I won most of the rounds. I’m still beating these young guys. There’s no need for a rematch. I want the big fight. He was not faster than me. I timed him all night. I thought I won a close decision. Styles make fights. It doesn’t mean that Deontay Wilder can get in there and not get caught with a punch he don’t see, or not get knocked out. You cannot say I can’t beat Deontay Wilder or Wladimir from what you saw tonight. I’m 46-years-old. I don’t have all day. I’m ready for the big fight against Wladimir Klitschko,” Tarver said.

I don’t know how Wladimir will feel about fighting someone as old as Tarver with him coming off of a draw against Cunningham. I mean, if Wladimir was interested in fighting an old guy, he could take a fight against 43-year-old Shannon Briggs, and that’s a fight that would really sell in Germany. Briggs is well thought of in Germany. It’s a fight that would make a lot of sense for Wladimir to make rather than facing the lighter and older Tarver.

Tarver says that “you cannot say I can’t beat Deontay Wilder or Wladimir from what you saw tonight.” Well, I can say that Tarver wouldn’t be able to beat either of those guys from what I saw of the Cunningham vs. Tarver fight. Tarver doesn’t throw enough punches and he waits around too long. He’s just someone looking to land an occasional sneaky shot. If he stands around in an upright manner against Wilder or Wladimir, he’ll get bowled over with a big shot.

Tureano Johnson vs. Eamonn O’Kane added to the Golovkin-Lemieux card

#4 IBF middleweight contender Tureano Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs) will be facing #3 IBF Eamonn O’Kane (14-1-1, 5 KOs) on the undercard of the October 17th fight card headlined by IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) vs. IBF 160lb champion David Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs) on HBO pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Johnson-O’Kane fight will be an IBF 160lb eliminator bout with the winner becoming the IBF mandatory challenger. This means that the winner will become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Golovkin vs. Lemieux fight.

“I’m pleased to announce I will be winning my mandatory position for the WBA & IBF titles Oct 17th Madison Square Garden #AttitudeIsEverything,” O’Kane said on his Twitter.

O’Kane is training with trainer Abel Sanchez at Big Bear, California. However, it doesn’t matter who he trains with and where he does it, O’Kane is in over his head in this fight in my view. I see Tureano Johnson as far too good for O’Kane, and I think it’ll be an easy for fight him. I rate Johnson as a better fighter than Lemieux as well. Lemieux and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions did the right thing by opting not to wait on the Johnson-O’Kane results because then Lemieux would likely be facing Johnson, and that would be a very tough fight for him that he would potentially lose.

“It’s the biggest fight of my life,” O’Kame said via the Derry Journal. “We’re making sure everything’s right as far as training, weight and my conditioning is concerned, so we’re ahead of the game.”

“Tureano is a great fighter and will beat O’Kane,” promoter Gary Shaw said to ESPN.com. “He will go on to win the world title.”

I agree with Shaw. I see Tureano Johnson winning the fight with O’Kane without any problems. However, I don’t see Johnson beating Golovkin. That’s obviously too much of a step up for Johnson, but I think he’ll give Golovkin a lot of problems and be a far tougher test for him than Lemieux.

“Tureano Johnson has proven himself to be a top contender in the middleweight division,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said at the fight announcement. “Johnson has demonstrated his ability to become a champion and with Golden Boy Promotions at his side, he has the opportunity to grow into a top middleweight of this era.”

Yeah, I think Johnson is going to be a good one. He’s obviously going after the wrong belt for him to have a chance of winning a title. If I was De La Hoya, I would position Tureano Johnson to go after the WBA “regular” middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs or WBO champion Andy Lee. I think Johnson would beat both of those guys and he could then stay in his lane without having to worry about Golovkin beating him and taking his title.

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