By Dan Ambrose: Sergiy Derevyanchenko (11-0, 9 KOs) stayed unbeaten with a 12th round knockout over #1 IBF Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) in an IBF middleweight eliminator bout on Friday night at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma.
Derevyanchenko, 31, knocked Johnson down with a left hook to the head in round 12. The referee halted Gary Ritter then stopped the fight. The official time of the stoppage was at 0:40 of round 12. This was one of the most grueling televised fights of 2017. I can’t remember seeing anything nearly as hard a fight for both competitors as tonight’s Johnson vs. Derevyanchenko.
2008 Olympian Johnson never let up for a second. Johnson kept plowing forward like a smaller version of Mike Tyson. It was incredible to see, as he was taking a lot of punishment from Derevyanchenko. The thing that Johnson had in his favor was superior stamina. Derevyanchenko was taking huge gulps of air constantly, and clinching at any chance he could get.
There was definitely a lot of holding from the Ukrainian. That’s something that he’s not going to be able to get away with if he ever fights Gennady Golovkin, because he won’t just let Derevyanchenko tie him up repeatedly in order to get rest breaks like he was doing against Johnson. That’s really where Johnson lost the fight. If he could have stopped Derevyanchenko from his constant holding, he would have worn him down and likely knocked him out, because his stamina is not so good.
With the win, Derevyanchenko is now the mandatory challenger to IBF middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. If Golovkin loses to Canelo on September 16, then it could be him that inherits Derevyanchenko as his mandatory. Never the less, there’s no telling whether either of those guys are going to want to fight Derevyanchenko. There’s no money in fighting the 2008 Ukrainian Olympian, and it would likely be a very tough fight for both of them due to his power and his tough chin.
This was a really hard fight for Derevyanchenko, as he took a lot of heavy shots from the 33-year-old Johnson along the way. Derevyanchenko got the better of most of the early rounds. However, Johnson was able to come back strong in rounds 6 and 7 to land some nice body shots and uppercuts that slowed the attack of Derevyanchenko.
The shots seemed to tire Derevyanchenko a little, and also the face pace that Johnson was setting. However, Derevyanchenko did a lot of holding to catch his breath and prevent Johnson from fighting on the inside. This really helped Derevyanchenko, because he was never going to be able to fight hard for three minutes of every round the way that Johnson was trying to force him to. Derevyanchenko didn’t have the engine for that kind of fighting. Johnson wasn’t trained to keep punching while being held. If Johnson knew how to fight while being held, he could have stopped Derevyanchenko from tying him up so frequently. Derevyanchenko was roughly clinching 8 to 10 times per round to limit Johnson’s inside work.
In round 8, Derevyanchenko hurt Johnson was a hard left-right combination when he backed against the ropes. Derevyanchenko then unloaded with a flurry of shots with Johnson expertly ducking most of them. Derevyanchenko punched himself out while trying for the knockout. Johnson came on strong and finished the round well.
By the 9th, Johnson had bad swelling around both eyes and he was looking beaten up. Derevyanchenko really worked Johnson over in this round with jabs from the outside, and combinations to the head on the inside. When the two fighters were in a clinch, Derevyanchenko often hit Johnson while breaking apart from the clinch. It looked like cheap shots on Derevyanchenko’s part, but it was legal, because the referee didn’t pull them apart. Johnson needed to be on his guard a little bit better.
Johnson took some major shots from Derevyanchenko in round 10 that would have knocked out most fighters in the middleweight division. Johnson took the punches, and kept steaming ahead. Johnson increased the tempo of his attacks in this round, and he was able to hit Derevyanchenko with some really shots. At one point in round 10, Johnson hit Derevyanchenko with 3 straight uppercuts to the head that connected cleanly. Johnson then followed up with 2 big rabbit punches to the back of Derevyanchenko’s head that he took really well.
In between the 10th and 11th rounds, Derevyanchenko was bleeding from his mouth and the left side of his face looked swollen, as well as his left eye. Derevyanchenko was starting to look beaten up around the face. Mostly though, Derevyanchenko looked tired and red in face from the pace of the fight. Derevyanchenko was exhausted, as he’d never had any fights like this before in his 3-year pro career. Before tonight’s fight against Johnson, the longest Derevyanchenko had fought before was two fights that went 8 rounds against Elvin Ayala and Mike Guy. Neither of those fighters pushed a fast pace like Johnson did tonight nor did neither of them land the kinds of shots that Johnson did.
Derevyanchenko landed a lot of heavy shots to the head of Johnson in round 11, and he had him hurt and ready to be knocked out. Somehow, Johnson was able to duck the combinations that Derevyanchenko threw to try and finish him off. It was great defense from Johnson, who was able to duck shots even when badly hurt. Johnson came on a little bit towards of the round, but he had nothing on his punches. Johnson was tired and worn down from the punishment he’d absorbed. Earlier in round 11, Johnson connected with some big punches to the head of Derevyanchenko., but he took them well and came on strong to dominate the remainder of the round.
At the start of round 12, Derevyanchenko went after Johnson, nailing with shots one after another until he went down on the seat of his pants from a left hook to the head. After Johnson got back up, the referee stopped the fight. It was a good decision. He was hurt and tired, and wasn’t going to win the fight even if he’d been allowed to continue.
Derevyanchenko looks like a good fighter. I think he would possibly beat Danny Jacobs, David Lemieux, Jermall Charlo and Saul Canelo Alvarez. I would definitely favor Golovkin to beat Derevyanchenko. It wouldn’t be an easy fight for Golovkin, but he would be comfortable with Derevyanchenko’s style of fighting and would work him over to the body and head. Johnson had most of his success when punching to the body of Derevyanchenko. That would be the area where Golovkin would need to focus his attention. Derevyanchenko does not like to get hit to the body, and he doesn’t like to fight at a fast pace.
That’s why we saw all the clinching he was doing. Golovkin would go to the body of Derevyanchenko and stop him. Golovkin would also stop Derevyanchenko from holding by stepping back each time he would reach out to clinch. Derevyanchenko needs rest breaks, and he would not do well without being able to hold a great deal. Derevyanchenko would give Canelo all he could handle and likely beat him. However, I don’t think Canelo will ever agree to fight Derevyanchenko. That’s not going to happen, as far as I’m concerned.
If Canelo does ever fight Derevyanchenko, it would occur after 3 to 4 years’ time. In other words, I think Golden Boy would let Derevyanchenko age before they put Canelo in with him. Derevyanchenko 31, so he might not have too many more years before he starts showing signs of fading. Derevyanchenko gets caught in too many more wars like tonight’s fight against Johnson; I can’t see him a long career.
In the co-feature bout, middleweight Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) knocked out previously undefeated Immanuel Aleem (17-1-1, 10 KOs) in the 3rd round. Centeno Jr. landed a perfectly placed left hook to the head of Aleem that knocked him flat on his back, causing the back of his head to bounce off the canvas on impact. the fight was then halted right away.
It was a good win for Centeno Jr., who had been hitting Aleem with the same left hook from round 1. Aleem was able to take the left hand shots well until he got caught while trying to throw a right hand. He wasn’t ready to be hit with a left hook at the time. The win for the 26-year-old Centeno was his second in a row since his 10th round knockout loss last year in June to Maciej Sulecki. The lanky Centeno Jr. has a nice left hook that he catches his opponents with. It’s hard to track the shot because he throws it wide, and lot of guys aren’t expecting a shot coming from that wide of an angle.
Undefeated lightweight Austin Dulay (11-0, 8 KOs) defeated Carlos Padilla (16-6-1, 10 KOs) by a 3rd round knockout. Dulay knocked Padilla down in the 3rd round. In between the 3rd and 4th rounds, Padilla’s trainer stopped the fight rather than sending him out for the 4th to take more punishment. It’s a good thing the fight was stopped, because he would have likely been stopped in that round.