Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson – Preview & prediction
By Jim Dower: Callum Johnson (17-0, 12 KOs) has his work cut out for him tonight when be faces what could be the most dangerous of the 175 pound champions in IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KOs), and heavyweight Jarrell Miller fights old timer Tomasz Adamek on Matchroom Boxing USA promoter Eddie Hearn’s DAZN streaming platform at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
Beterbiev vs. Johnson & Miller vs. Adamek will be televised on Sky Sports in the UK, and streamed on DAZN in the U.S. The fight card likely won’t be seen by a lot of boxing fans in the U.S because the price is still high at $10 per month. If Hearn would drop the price to $5 per month and if he would add fighters that the U.S fans are interested in watching, he might be successful in getting a lot of new subscribers to DAZN.
Johnson, 33, is up against it in fighting Beterbiev instead of a softer opponent that he can mow down like he’s been doing since he turned pro. Beterbiev is the kind of guy that you don’t want to slug with. You’ve got to box Beterbiev if you’re to have any chance of defeating him.
Johnson and Beterbiev will be trying to steal the show from headline welterweight Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme. That might not be hard to do though, because Vargas and Dulorme aren’t championship level fighters. Beterbiev is the real thing, and we don’t know how good the 33-year-old Johnson is at this early point in his eight-year pro career because he still hasn’t fought a world class opponent yet. Johnson comes into the fight with Beterbiev tonight with his only notable victories coming against Frank Buglioni and Willbeforce Shihepo. Those are not the cream of the crop when it comes to talent. They’re more like 2nd tier journeyman level guys.
”I am not in this game to turn down an opportunity like this. I know I am fighting a real good fighter, he’s a feared man but I fear no one” Johnson said to skysports.com in maintaining that he has no fear of Beterbiev.
It’s good that Johnson didn’t turn down the fight with Beterbiev, considering that he might not get another chance for a long, long time. Turning down the fight with Beterbiev would have been a wrong career move. The problem that Johnson has is it doesn’t get any better than this. The other champions at 175 are just as tough in Eleider Alvarez, Adonis Stevenson and Dmitry Bivol.
Johnson wants to pull off a big upset against the 33-year-old two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev to show the boxing world that he’s for real, and not just a pretender. Johnson wants to make Beterbiev sorry that he picked him out to defend his title against The best way for Johnson to do that is for him to beat him tonight in a convincing manner.
Beterbiev is the favorite to win tonight, and he has a way of taking the judges out of the equation with his punching power. This fight might boil down to whether Johnson can get to Beterbiev early enough in the fight before he gets his offense in gear. Beterbiev hasn’t been all that active in the last three years due to injuries and promotional problems and he’s got a lot of ring rust on him that will be hard for him to hide against Johnson. However, Johnson has ring rust too, so it’s a fight that could come down to which of them has prepared better.
Miller, 30, needs a victory over Tomasz Adamek tonight to put him in position to fight for the vacant WBA ‘regular’ title against Fres Oquendo. Miller (21-0-1, 18 KOs) needs the World Boxing Association heavyweight title for him to work a deal to face IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua in a unification fight next year. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is just looking for an excuse to make that fight, but he needs Miller to do his part in defeating Adamek tonight and then later Oquendo to become the WBA champion. Miller is going to try and use his nearly 100 pound weight advantage tonight to crush the 227 pound Adamek. At heavyweight, it doesn’t matter whether a fighter weighs more than his opponent. The 214 pound Deontay Wilder is a perfect example of that. Despite being much lighter than guys like Anthony Joshua, who weighs in the neighborhood of 245 pounds, Wilder is the bigger puncher by far.
Without the WBA title, Miller doesn’t have the credentials to make for a big fight against Joshua in the UK or the U.S. The American fans haven’t see enough of Miller to get on board his express to want to see him fight Joshua or WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. The U.S fans only know that Miller is fat, he throws a lot of punches, and he gets hit a lot when he faces decent opposition. Gerald Washington almost knocked Miller last year after hurting him in the 5th round. Miller can’t afford to get hurt by Adamek tonight in a similar manner, because the Polish fighter has the kind of talent and power to finish him off if he gets him hurt.
Jessie Vargas needs to beat Thomas Dulorme to keep building for a title shot against WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter. Vargas is 0-1-1 since returning from a one-year layoff after losing his WBO welterweight title to Manny Pacquiao in 2016. Vargas is likely two or three fights away from getting a match against Porter. But he needs to look good tonight in beating Dulorme. Vargas has the experience and talent to win tonight, but he’s coming off of an unimpressive 12 round draw against Adrien Broner last April. Dulorme is in the same class as Broner talent-wise, and he’s live dog tonight to beat Vargas. If Vargas runs out of gas in the second half of the fight tonight, Dulorme may win. You can’t rule out a controversial decision in Vargas’s favor if the fight goes to the scorecards. Hopefully, that’s not the case because Hearn doesn’t need his DAZN card tonight to be tainted by a controversial decision in the headliner fight between Vargas and Dulorme. If the judges are going to mess up a fight, they need to do it with one of the undercard fights that goes under the radar screen of the boxing world.