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Callum Johnson wants Beterbiev rematch

Artur Beterbiev

By Charles Brun: Callum Johnson is still unhappy that he blew his chance to beat Artur Beterbiev last year after dropping him in the 2nd round in their fight in October 2018. Callum and his promoter Eddie Hearn believe that he would have stopped IBF light heavyweight champion Beterbiev if he’d jumped on him after knocking him down with a left hook during an exchange in round 2 at the Wintrust Arena, Chicago.

Johnson didn’t go after Beterbiev after buzzed him badly in round 2. Although Johnson loaded up on several huge shots in round 3, he missed badly with them, and he didn’t go all out the way he needed to. You hate to say it, but Callum was too conservative with his offense, and he paid the price for it in losing by a 4th round knockout.

In the 4th, Callum got sloppy and walked into a big right hand from Beterbiev dropped him on his tracks. Callum tried to get back up, but was too hurt to continue. There was no coming back from that shot from Beterbiev.

The timing is bad for Callum Johnson to ask for Beterbiev rematch

Johnson (18-1, 13 KOs) says he wants a rematch with IBF/WBC champ Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs), and he would take the fight if offered to him. Unfortunately for Johnson, Beterbiev is tied up right now with him needing to face his IBF mandatory Meng Fanlong (16-0, 11 KOs) next in early 2020. After that, Beterbiev will likely face WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol in a unification fight.

There’s a small chance that Beterbiev could fight WBO champion Sergey Kovalev if he beats challenger Saul Canelo Alvarez on November 2. Callum should have pushed for a rematch with Beterbiev a long, long time ago instead of talking about it now 12 months after the fact.

Callum has been inactive for 7 months

What hurts Callum’s chances of getting a rematch with Beterbiev is the fact that he’s only fought once since then in beating Sean Monaghan by a 3rd round knockout last March. Callum should have fought at least one or two additional times since the Monaghan fight.

Fighting once a year isn’t going to get the job done for Callum. What’s even more troubling is the fact that he doesn’t even have a fight scheduled. So what we’re likely looking at is Callum fighting in early 2020, which means he’ll have been out of the ring for nearly a year by the time he fights again. Callum has been his own worst enemy with him being inactive for long stretches during his nine-year pro career. He should have at least double the amount of fights that he has during his career, but he’s been unable to stay active.

Johnson says he’s capable of beating Beterbiev

“It seemed like no one was fancying that Beterbiev would win. They were all favoring the newer kid [Gvozdyk],” said Callum Johnson to IFL TV. “I can’t pronounce his name, but I said, ‘there’s no chance Beterbiev won’t win that fight.’ I think a lot of people instead of giving me a lot of credit for how I did in that fight, I got stopped in 4 rounds, but while it was happening, no one knew what was going to happen. But people were dismissing him without giving me credit. Beterbiev is a beast. I’d love to,” said Callum Johnson when asked if he’d like to fight a rematch against Beterbiev.

“People might think I’m crazy, and offer him no challenge. I know for a fact that I’ve got the strength and the power and the skills to do it. That wasn’t the best of me that night, and I think I let the occasion get to me. I’ve got no excuses. I was beaten by the better man, and he is the better man. He’s a monster, but I do have it in me to win that fight. I can’t say I want to fight for a world title in my next fight, because I’ve got to earn it. Whoever I need to fight I’ll fight,” said Callum,

In terms of punching power, the 34-year-old Johnson has the ability to defeat Beterbiev. But other than that, Beterbiev is the better fighter, and has the superior boxing skills. Once Beterbiev stopped slugging with Johnson, he cruised to victory in that fight.

Beterbiev dropped Johnson in round 1

In the first round, Beterbiev dropped Johnson with a left hook to the head. Callum got tangled in the ropes, and Beterbiev took advantage of the situation by nailing him when was disentangling himself. The referee Celestino Ruiz  did Callum no favors by failing to help him when got his head caught in between the ropes. He should have arguably stopped the action, and helped free Callum from the ropes. Instead, the referee stood back and watched as Callum extricated himself from the ropes, and was nailed by Beterbiev the moment he was free.

In the third round, Beterbiev took the action to the inside, started to work Callum over with triple and quadruple hooks to the head. As the round ended, Callum looked in bad shape. He was bleeding badly from a cut over his left eye, and both eyes were bruised. Beterbiev had done all that in just 3 rounds.

Hearn willing to match Callum against Beterbiev again

“We’ll take the fight,” said Eddie Hearn about Callum being willing to take rematch with Beterbiev. “Bivol, Beterbiev and who else? He had Beterbeiv gone, and he just didn’t step on it, because it was his first time and his first experience. He could have knocked him out that night. Whenever he’s ready to go early next year,” said Hearn.

It’s nice that Hearn thinks that Johnson ALMOST had Beterbiev out of there, but he didn’t get the job done. What Hearn should be doing is keeping Johnson active. At 34, Johnson can’t afford to be fighting just once a year. He looked great in his last fight against Monaghan last March. There’s no excuse for Callum not being put back in the ring by now against one of his Matchroom Boxing stable fighters. Joshua Buatsi would be a good option for Johnson to fight.

Hearn is really high on Buatsi, and talking up his chances of winning a world title. Thus far, we haven’t seen Buatsi fight anyone with talent. It’s unclear what Hearn is waiting for. He needs to put Buatsi in with Callum to see what he’s got. If Buatsi loses, then Hearn can dump him, and move on to sign more polished fighters. Right now, Buatsi looks very raw, and he may not possess the talent to ever amount to anything beyond the domestic level. Callum would be a good yardstick to see if it’s worth it for Hearn to invest anymore time with Buatsi. Further, if Hearn can’t keep Callum busy, he needs to think about finding a promoter that can keep him active. If Callum fights just once a year, his career will probably over with in the next 4 fights.

“Whoever he wants me to fight, I’ll fight,” said Callum.

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