Daniel Dubois’ march towards a meaningful title shot will quicken in pace next weekend when he goes in with a seasoned veteran. Dubois will be looking to make a statement in the Leicester Arena against perennial survivor and long-time heavyweight contender Kevin Johnson in an attractive October 6 heavyweight showdown.
Such has been the dull nature of many of Johnson’s performances some have taken to labelling the self-appointed “Kingpin” as “Safety Pin”. The Georgia resident often uses his ring smarts to avoid taking significant punishment rather than attempting to win fights.
Tough and resilient, one thing Johnson has always possessed is a hard and accurate left jab. I was in John Breen’s Gym back in 2009 and watched Johnson sparring Martin Rogan and cruiserweight Terry Dunstan inside the red-hot Belfast club. Johnson’s jab was fast and thudding; you could hear it reverberating off the gym walls as he landed on arms and gloves. His movement was good for a big man too. Unfortunately, he was never quite able to go for broke and introduce these skills into a contest at the highest level.
No stranger to these shores (he was viciously removed by Anthony Joshua in 2015) I later found Kevin a personable individual back in 2012 when he came over with trainer Jeff Mayweather to box Tyson Fury in Belfast’s Odyssey Arena. Despite talking a good game, Johnson was frozen by Fury’s size and athletic abilities and barely threw a punch during a 12-round stink-fest.
That said, the 39-year-old is an excellent step-up for Dubois at this stage of the youngster’s fledgeling career.
“Dubois hasn’t seen anything like me, and the world hasn’t seen anything like the me who has done lots of mental prep,” said Johnson who says he has a new vigour for the sport after the recent death of his father.
“This is a new Kevin Johnson, but with lots of experience. I really want this, I will be bringing my A-Game.”
This heavyweight attraction is one of a selection of solid bouts, taking place in Leicester and broadcasting live on BT Sport. Other notable names will be competing on Warren’s card, entitled “The Time is Now”.
Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies are the main event duo. Sam Bowen is scheduled to defend his British super-featherweight title against an unknown foe at this time, and Leon Woodstock tackles Archie Sharp in a battle of unbeaten fighters.
Nicola Adams also features, and the Leeds flyweight is targetting another impressive knockout as she closes in on a world title fight. Since going the distance on her 2017 debut, Adams has starched all three opponents and is expected to send Isabel Millan the same way in their interim WBO clash.
Mexico’s Millan has mixed in good company, having boxed both current WBC champion Ibeth Zamora Silva and WBA queen Naoko Fujioka in 2017. Tellingly, she lost both of those bouts and had a couple of early losses on the record as well. Competitive and likely to test Adams to some degree, it is expected that Nicola will see her opponent pulled out after taking punishment around the latter stages of the bout.
Mexico’s Arely Mucino currently holds the WBO full strap and Adams’ promoter Frank Warren is confident that he can tempt the 29-year-old over to defend against Adams if Nicola is successful on October 6.