Gallagher wants Callum Johnson to receive accolades if he beats Artur Beterbiev
By Tim Royner: Trainer Joe Gallagher wants underdog Callum Johnson to be given rightful praise if he beats undefeated IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev this Saturday night in their fight at the WIntrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
#7 IBF Johnson (17-0, 12 KOs) is getting the fight against the 33-year-old Beterbiev due to the other top contenders rejecting the fight. Beterbiev is the type of intimidating champion, who has seemingly been scaring off the other top challengers from facing him.
The Matchroom Sport promoted Johnson has nothing to lose though, as he’s getting up there in age at 33, rarely fights, and would be looking at a potential of having to wait years for a world title shot if he didn’t accept the fight against Beterbiev.
Beterbiev vs. Johnson will be streamed on DAZN this Saturday, October 6. The main event on the card will see former WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas facing journeyman Thomas Dulorme. Also on the card is unbeaten heavyweight contender Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller (21-0-1, 18 KOs) fighting 41-year-old former two division world champion Tomasz Adamek. That fight has mismatch written all over it. Miller, 6’4”, is too big, too strong and too young for Adamek.
”Callum Johnson will complete the ‘biggest success story of 2018’ if he defeats Artur Beterbiev in this weekend’s world title fight,” said Gallagher to skysports.com. “We see chinks in Beterbiev’s make-up, and they have in Callum Johnson. It’s who is going to land first, who has the game-plan.”
Gallagher didn’t touch on the holes in Beterbiev’s game that he and Johnson have spotted, but it would seem that the Russian fighter’s stamina issues, and slow hand speed is what they spotted in looking for flaws in his game. Beterbiev is also a slow starter. He started off slowly in his fights against Enrico Koelling and Alexander ‘Woody’ Johnson. If Johnson can jump on Beterbiev early from the very start, he might be able to blitz him in the first two rounds. Beterbiev’s bad habit of starting slow could hurt him in this fight. But the longer the fight goes, the more it favors Johnson. He looks like the younger fighter of the two, and he’s been working out steadily even though he’s not been very material.
Johnson will be taking a step up in facing Beterbiev. In Johnson’s last fight, he defeated British Light heavyweight champion Frank Buglioni by a 1st round knockout last March. In Johnson’s previous fight, he beat Willbeforce Shihepo by a 9th round knockout in September 2016 to win the vacant Commonwealth light heavyweight title. Johnson didn’t fight at all in 2017. Based on Johnson’s inactivity, he doesn’t rate a title shot against Beterbiev. For his part, Beterbiev hasn’t fought in a year since defeating Koelling by a 12th round knockout to win the vacant IBF light heavyweight title. Beterbiev has had promotional problems since then that has kept him out of action. Beterbiev did not look good in the first 11 rounds against Koellin. In the 12th round, Beterbiev came alive to KO Koelling.