October 7th, 2018: By Aaron Cooper
Despite his best efforts and emotions leading into his first world title challenge. England’s Callum Johnson was stopped by Artur Beterbiev in the fourth round of the main event in Chicago.
It looked as though it might be a short nights work for the IBF world light-heavyweight champion. He made Johnson eat the canvas at the end of the first round. Much was made about Johnson’s power before the beginning of the fight. He showed exactly why in the second. As Beterbiev looked to finish off Johnson, contesting in only his third fight since September 2016. Beterbiev too tasted canvas as Johnson connected with a looping left hook.
The third round turned into a slugfest that left Johnson battered and bloody. His bravery was commendable. The fight would not go on much longer. A short right dropped the Englishman again, though Johnson did make it to his feet, the referee chose to step in. Saving Johnson for another day.
The challenger was magnanimous in defeat:
“I don’t want to make any excuses, but I can fight better than that.
“I came close in that second round but the better man won and he finished the job off, so fair play to him.
“It’s not dented my confidence at all. In fact, I think I might have needed that and believe me, I am coming back stronger and better than ever and I can’t wait to get back in there”
Johnson’s power has been proven at world level. At thirty-two is not old for a man at 175-pounds. It is hard to see him stepping back down to domestic level, where he has proven himself a cut above.
For Beterbiev, surely a unification bout. Perhaps against Dmitry Bivol beckons.