Duva: Don't Count out Kirk Johnson

13.06.05 - Promoter Dino Duva of Duva Boxing says that not only was he very impressed with heavyweight Kirk Johnson's performance, last Friday against Yanqui Diaz, but also with his attitude. "I think Kirk looked really good for someone who has been off for a year," said Duva of Johnson's fifth-round technical decision over Diaz (scores of 49-42, 49-42 and 49-43) at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.

An unintentional head butt forced the fight to end prematurely, but not before Johnson had Diaz down once in round two and twice in round five. "Kirk has always had as much natural talent as anybody out there. What impressed me most was his attitude and the way after the fight he said he wanted to get right back in the gym," explained Duva. "The way the heavyweight division is these days, if he keeps busy, he should be able to get back in the title picture fairly quickly."

The career resurrection of Johnson, now 36-2-1 (26), comes as more good news for the Duva Boxing stable in what is already turning out to be a fantastic year. With several prospects on the verge of world title fights, none more prominent than new heavyweight force Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter, the return of Johnson will give Duva Boxing a 1-2 punch at the top of the division.

"I still believe in Kirk's potential. With him, it was never a question of the physical; Kirk's problems were always mental. I think he has the right attitude now. He's focused and ready to get back in the picture."

Duva says that if Johnson has truly sorted out his difficulties, there is still a tremendous up-side to the big Nova Scotian. "Kirk's only got one real loss and he didn't give himself a chance to win the Klitschko fight," he explained. "He's not that old (32) and he doesn't have that much wear because he hasn't been in a lot of wars."

The next step, says Duva, is to put Johnson in a fight that will catch the eye of the world organizations. "I think we're going to get him back in the ring in August or September against someone a notch up from Diaz. Maybe we'll put him in with a contender to start him back on his way up the rankings. I still have big plans for him if he can keep that positive outlook."

Article posted on 13.06.2005

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