IBF number eight light heavyweight Callum “The One” Johnson 17-0 (12) insists he has nothing to fear from knockout artist and IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev 12-0 (12) as his world title opportunity edges closer.
Although the fight is not yet signed, negotiations are still ongoing with the British and Commonwealth champion confident that he will get the next shot at the highly-regarded Canadian-based Russian.
“These opportunities don’t come around every day and, when my promoter Eddie Hearn showed me the letter from the IBF offering the fight, I jumped at it,” Johnson exclusively told Sky Sports. “I’m in the game to be in the biggest and best fights possible. I’ve dreamt of winning a world title since I was a kid so I’m not going to turn down this chance because he [Beterbiev] is this apparent beast. I believe I am a beast as well and can beat him.”
Beterbiev has been in devastating form since turning pro five years ago, knocking out all but two of his opponents in under four rounds. In his last outing in November the 33-year-old won every round against Germany’s Enrico Koelling 23-2 (8) before knocking him down twice in the twelfth and final round to keep his 100% knockout ratio intact. With the win Beterviev claimed the vacant IBF world championship.
“I’ve boxed big, ferocious, Russians before in the amateurs and I know how they fight and what they do. I know they might not be as big and bad as Beterbiev but you have to be in it to win it and I’m confident I can beat anyone on my day,” said Johnson.
“I know a lot about him, we was in the amateurs at the same time, I used to watch him and he’s always been the force that he is. At the same time, we’re all human, I don’t fear any man so all the talk of how big and strong he is, his power, it’s all very well and good, but at the end of the day, he’s human. I don’t fear him.”
The 32-year-old from Boston, Lincolnshire, caused a boilover in his last fight on the Dillian Whyte versus Lucas Browne undercard in March when he stopped the highly-fancied Frank Buglioni 21-3-1 (15) in a single round. It was his first fight in 18 months.
While he waits for a date to be finalised, Johnson is content to tick over in the gym.
“I’m just training and waiting for a date. They’ve spoke about September but it could be later on in the year, I leave that down to the team,” he said.