Last week, veteran US heavyweight contender and former world title challenger Kevin Johnson caused something of a stir by stating how he is now a Russian citizen. 43 year old “Kingpin” then caused another stir, this by donning a t-shirt with Vladimir Putin’s face on it as he weighed-in for his fight with unbeaten prospect Mark Petrovsky in Moscow.
Now calling himself Kevin Vladimirovich, Johnson dropped a six round decision in his first fight as a Russian citizen. The scores were somewhat odd, with one judge having the fight all-even at 57-57, and the other two officials both scoring the fight at 60-54 for 24 year old Petrovsky.
Johnson, who has faced a whole number of big names during his long career, falls to 36-22-2. Petrovsky, who had a decorated amateur career with him winning a gold medal at the 2021 AIBA World Championships, is now 6-0 and he is being moved fast as a pro.
It will be interesting to see how far Petrovsky, a skilled southpaw, can go, while it will be interesting to see what Johnson does next. Johnson is rarely stopped and he knows how to look after himself in there. It seems a cert “Kingpin” will fight on, and in Russia, where the fans have really taken to him. Johnson says the quality of living is so superior in Russia compared to back in the U.S.
“I am 100 percent, no joke, 100 percent Russian,” Johnson told reporters in Moscow. “I am looking to move here to Moscow and become a full resident here to pursue my career.”
But can Johnson get himself back in the win column with his next fight, whenever it is and whoever it is against?
During his long career, Johnson has shared a ring with the likes of Vitali Klitschko (against whom he challenged for the WBC heavyweight title in 2009, losing a lopsided decision), Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz, Daniel Dubois, Filip Hrgovic, Derek Chisora, and other big names.