Stevie Johnston challenges world champions
LAS VEGAS (February 16, 2006) – Two-time World Boxing Council lightweight champion Stevie “Lil’ But Bad” Johnston (38-3-1, 17 KOs) wants to go back to the future, so to speak, and rule the lightweights like he did between 1997 and 2000, or, better yet, be the recognized class of the super lightweight division. Johnson, 33, captured the WBC lightweight championship twice between 1997 and 2000, and had seven successful title defenses..
Article posted on 16.02.2006
In 2000, Stevie lost the WBC belt to Jose Luis Castillo and three months later they fought to a draw in which Johnston originally was declared the winner by majority decision, but a scoring error was revealed resulting in a controversial draw.
“When I was world champion,” Johnston said, “I was young and didn’t take training seriously. I won on skill. I have a second chance now and I’m a better fighter today. I want any of the 140-pound champions. I deserve another world title shot after all I’ve been through, out almost 2 ½ years after my car accident, with three good wins since I came back trained by Buddy (McGirt). I’ve been doing all of the right things and now all I want is one more shot.”
The crafty Johnston, rated No. 9 by the World Boxing Association, currently owns the IBO and NABC super lightweight titles. Stevie’s list of victims during the course of his 12-year career as a pro includes Sharmba Mitchell, Jean Baptiste Mendy, Saul Duran, Cesar Bazan, James Page and Angel Manfredy.
“Stevie Johnston is in a league of his own,” his manager Jim Rider claimed. “No fighter at 135 or 140 pounds is anywhere near the level of Stevie Johnston. He wants to take the belts from all of the title-holders. They can run and hide, but sooner or later they’re going to have to fight Stevie. In only his fifth pro fight Stevie beat a 10-1 James Page, who went on to become the world welterweight champ, defeated future world light welterweight champion Sharmba Mitchell at 31-1 in his 12th pro fight, and knocked out 18-0 Corey Johnson – he finished his career with a 32-2-2 record and his only other loss was to Kosta Tszyu -- in his 14th fight. Stevie also easily won a 12-round decision against Angel Manfredy (28-3-1) when he was good, something (Arturo) Gatti couldn’t do.
”Stevie’s still very special. I think he’s even better now than he was back then. Look at the difference -- he’s pumped, lifting weights, and on a scientific diet. He was a track star and still runs a 5-minute mile. He runs two-miles every morning at 8 AM and another two-miles every night at 6 PM.”
Denver-native Johnston has won three straight since McGirt started training him, including his 12-round decision (118-109, 116-111, 116-111) January 27 against Steve Quinonez, and seven of his last eight fights. Johnston successfully defended his NABC belt and captured the vacant IBO title – the same belt held by light heavyweight Antonio Tarver and super middleweight Jeff Lacy – by beating Quinonez. “I take great pride in being the IBO champion,” Stevie added. “I dropped Quinonez in the first, cut him in the sixth, and after that I gave him a pure boxing lesson. I was the much better boxer.”
Prior to hooking-up with McGirt, Johnston was inactive for more than two years due to life-threatening injuries suffered in a 2003 car accident. “I’m lucky to be alive, never mind fighting,” Stevie noted. “I went through the windshield, woke up in the hospital, and ended-up with more than 100-stitches in my face.”
Stevie Johnston’s Hit List
Ricky Hatton, WBA & IBF Super Lightweight Champion
Johnston: “A real tough fighter. He goes to the body, so I’d do a lot of sit-ups and be in great condition. I’d also attack his body.”
Rider: “His people want him a to fight a brawling Columbian (in his next fight). He’s coming to the United States for the first time; he should fight an American and a boxer – Stevie Johnston! HBO and the public are getting tired of the same brawling opponents these guys all want to fight. Hatton talks about fighting anybody but Stevie.”
Floyd Mayweather, WBA Super Lightweight Champion
Johnston: “Sharmba Mitchell fought Floyd wrong, standing right in front of him. I’d move to the right, go in and out, and out-think Floyd. I was supposed to fight him at 135 when I beat Alexjandro Gonzalez (April 20, 2002), but Floyd moved up to 140. Now I’ve moved to 140 and he’s going to 147.”
Rider: “Stevie was Mayweather’s mandatory at 135 and he moved up to 140. Now he’s running from Stevie to 147.”
Miguel Coto, WBO Super Lightweight Champion
Johnston: “I’d love to fight him. He’s tough and I’d have to be in tip-top shape. I’d bring in a lot of guys like him to spar. I’d just out-box him.”
Rider: “We offered to fight him before and were turned down. The offer’s still good, but he doesn’t want to fight Stevie.”
Jose Luis Castillo
Johnston: “I can still make 135 for him if the money’s right. (Johnston weight 136 in his last fight.) I won our second fight; I out-boxed him. The TV’s were off, all the people went home, and then I was told in my locker room that one judge miscalculated the scoring and the fight was a draw.
Rider: “Stevie already beat Castillo once, but he was robbed. They both had the same promoter for that fight. The lights are out, everybody had left, and then a scoring error was discovered? That wouldn’t have happened under any other circumstance. It was the promoter’s star that lost and then got a draw. Stevie would fight and beat him again right now.”
“The biggest difference in the new Stevie Johnston since Buddy started training him is that Stevie concentrates on the body and then goes to the head,” Rider explained. “That’s a 180-degree turn. He hasn’t been in a physical fight since coming back from his car accident. (James) Crayton’s face looked like pizza, the Russian (Vladimir Khodokovski) and Quinonez went to the hospital. After each of those fights Steve’s face looks like it does today – no marks. He blocks so many punches that I don’t think the judges see ‘em clarly. They hear it and think he was hit, but Stevie is so quick he doesn’t even look like he was in a fight.
Johnston is promoted by Silverhawk Boxing, managed by Rider Boxing, and trained by Buddy McGirt. For more information about Johnston or Silverhawk Boxing go to www.silverhawkboxing.com.
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