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Callum Johnson vs. Seanie Monaghan on March 9


By Tim Royner: Fresh off his fourth round knockout loss to IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev last October, Callum Johnson (17-1, 12 KOs) will be returning to the ring next month to face #10 WBC contender Seanie Monaghan (29-2, 17 KOs) in a 10 round fight on an Eddie Hearn promoted Matchroom Boxing card DAZN at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, New York.

Both fighters are coming off losses, so it’s pretty important that they win.

Johnson, #15 IBF, was competitive in his last fight against Beterbiev for three rounds. Things fell apart for Johnson in the 4th round when Beterbiev lit him up with power shots, and quickly got him out of there. However, Beterbiev was dropped in the 1st round after getting caught by a big left hand from Johnson. Beterbiev continued to struggle in the second round when he tried slugging with him. Beterbiev was more hurt in the second than he was in the opening round. Unfortunately for Johnson, he didn’t try and finish the job.

In the main event on the March 9 card, World Boxing Association World light heavyweight champion Dmmitry Biovol (15-0, 11 KOs) will be defending against Joe Smith Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs). Smith Jr. is a similar type of hard puncher as Callum Johnson. Like Johnson, Smith Jr’s defense porous, which will likely be his undoing against the 28-year-old Bivol. Also on the Bivol-Smith Jr. card is WBO light welterweight champion Maurice Hooker (25-0-3, 17 KOs) defending his title against Mikkel LesPierre (21-0-1, 10 KOs) in the chief support. That’s not nearly as interesting a fight as the Bivol vs. Smith Jr. fight, but it’s company with the Callum Johnson vs. Sean Monaghan fight, which also isn’t a great fight.

“I was gutted in the Beterbiev fight. I was gutted because I felt the occasion maybe got to me, but I still had good moments in the fight, and I’ve learned a lot from it,” Johnson said to “I know that if a second shot comes my way, I will be more than ready for it…Sean always puts everything into his fights, and he badly needs this win, just like I do, so there should be fireworks,” Johnson said.

It’s going to take the 33-year-old Johnson a long time before he’s given another world title shot unless he beats someone highly ranked that can get him pushed to the top of the IBF’s rankings for a mandatory spot. Johnson is currently ranked #15 by the IBF. It could be 2 to 4 years before Johnson is in position to fight for another world title. He’s not likely going to get another world title shot anytime soon.

Given Johnson’s age, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to make it to another title shot without getting beaten along the way. It would be Johnson’s best interest for him to be matched as tough as possible right now while he’s still relatively young. If Hearn chooses to put him in with soft opposition, which he’s seemingly doing by matching him against Monaghan, then it could take too long for him to get ranked highly.

Monaghan lost his last fight against Sullivan Barrera by a lopsided 10 round unanimous decision on November 3 by the scores 99-91, 98-92 and 99-91. Monaghan was destroyed by Marcus Browne by a second round knockout in July 2017. Monaghan wasn’t ready for the speed, power and the talent of Browne in that fight. That was Monaghan’s first career loss, and it was a real eye opener to show how far off he is from the top of the division in the talent department. At 37-years-old, Monagahan is going to need to speed things up himself if he wants to get a title shot.

Although Monaghan is ranked #10 by the World Boxing Council, he’s not going to be given a title shot anytime soon unless he starts beating some of the better fighters that he’s matched up against. A win over Johnson would be a big boost for Monaghan to get him pushed up the WBC’s rankings so that he can get in position for a crack at WBC champion Oleksander Gvozdyk while he’s still the champion. The worst thing that could happen to Monaghan is for Browne to fight Gvozdyk and beat him. If that happens, Monagahan can forget about getting a title shot in a voluntary defense by Browne, because he already destroyed him. Under those conditions, Browne’s not going to fight Monaghan again unless he’s the WBC mandatory.

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