Tonight at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA. Bobby “The Celtic Warrior” Gunn and Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson go head to head for the vacant World Boxing Union (WBU) Cruiserweight World Championship.
Whilst Johnson has stepped in at the last minute, following Roy Jones Jr. pulling out just a couple of weeks ago, in order to compete in Russia for the lesser WBUv title, as well as that this being Johnson’s first fight in the Cruiserweight division, you can be sure that the ‘Road Warrior’ will be more than ready for the challenge ahead, as becomes very, very clear when you look at his Championship record.
Originally hailing from Jamaica but now residing in Miami, Florida, Johnson is a seven time Champion, WBC Continental Americas Super Middleweight, IBF Inter-Continental Super Middleweight, WBO Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight, USBA Light Heavyweight, IBF World Light Heavyweight, IBO World Light Heavyweight and IBA World Light Heavyweight champion.
In July 1997 and with an exemplary 32 (22KO) unbeaten record, Johnson’s first championship bout was when he challenged current Light Heavyweight King Bernard Hopkins for his IBF Middleweight crown, unfortunately for Johnson his precious ‘0’ went via an eleventh round stoppage.
It would be nearly two years later before the ‘Road Warrior’ was back in Championship action, this time successfully defeating Troy Watson, on points, to secure the WBC Continental Americas Super Middleweight title.
Six months later Johnson successfully defended the WBC title, with a first round stoppage victory over Marcello Zimmerman.
The following month Johnson was back in Championship action, this time travelling to Dusseldorf in Germany to challenge Sven Ottke for the IBF Super Middleweight crown, it was a close fight but Johnson once again failed to capture the IBF crown – Judges Luca Montella and Arno Pokrandt both scored the bout 113-115 whilst judge Harry Davis scored it 112-116, all in favour of Ottke.
In April 2000 Johnson once again crossed the Atlantic, this time to face Silvio Branco in Padua, Veneto, Italy for the vacant World Boxing Union World Super Middleweight title, once again it was down to the judges to decide the outcome and once again Johnson was to lose out – the scores were: judge Francesco Rega 226-236, judge Dave Stone 221-238 and judge Des Boyd 222-237
Five months later the ‘Road Warrior’ once again booked a transatlantic flight, this time in order to face Toks Owoh at the famous York Hall in London, for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Super Middleweight title, finally Johnson secured an IBF title, by way of a sixth round stoppage of the London based Owoh.
In July 2001 Johnson found himself back in Germany, this time at the Estrel Convention Center in Berlin to challenge Thomas Ulrich for the WBO Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title. This time Johnson made sure he returned from Germany with the belt, conclusively knocking out Ulrich in the sixth.
A few non-championship bouts followed before, on 18th May 2003, Johnson was once again to be in Championship action, when he beat Eric Harding on points to lift the vacant USBA Light Heavyweight Championship belt.
In November Johnson headed across the Atlantic to Great Britain, to face Clinton Woods for the vacant IBF Light Heavyweight title, at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre in Sheffield. After twelve sensational rounds of boxing the bout was declared a draw.
So in February 2004 Johnson once again made the journey to Sheffield, this time the Ponds Forge Arena, to face Woods for the vacant IBF title, this time the judges did declare a winner – Johnson.
Seven months later, in Memphis, Tennessee, Johnson defended his IBF Light Heavy crown, against no less than Roy Jones Jr.
Whilst comfortably leading on all judges scorecards, Johnson ensured a successful defence by knocking out Jones Jr. in the ninth.
Three months later Johnson went toe to toe with another legend, Antonio Tarver, for the IBO Light Heavyweight crown.
After twelve close rounds it was once again down to the judges to call the result, Judge Marty Denkin scored the bout 112-116 in favour of Tarver, judges Chuck Giampa and Melvina Lathan both scored it 115-113 for Johnson.
In the rematch, which took place exactly six months later, on the 18th June 2005, at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee, Tarver regained his crown – judges Bill Clancy and John Rupert scoring the bout 112-116 and judge Rocky Young scoring it 113-115, all in favour of Tarver
Three months later Johnson stopped George Khalid Jones in the tenth round of their IBF title eliminator, however before facing Clinton Woods again for the World crown, Johnson was to beat Richard Hall on points, to win the vacant IBA Light Heavyweight title.
In September 2006 Johnson made his third trip to the UK to face Clinton Woods for the IBF crown, this time at the Bolton Arena in Bolton, with a win for Johnson and a draw, the pressure was all on Woods to bring them on level pegging, which he did, albeit by split decision, judges Roberto Ramirez Snr. and Rick bays scoring in favour of Woods, whilst Mickey Vann scored it in favour of Johnson.
Johnson’s next Championship fight, in May 2007, was once again an IBF eliminator, this time against Montel Griffin, Johnson won it by an eleventh round stoppage.
However it wasn’t the IBF title that Johnson fought Chad Dawson for in May 2008, it was the WBC Light Heavyweight World title, again Johnson was to lose on points, all three judges scoring the bout 112-116 for Dawson.
Johnson’s next Championship outing, for the interim WBC and the IBO Light Heavyweight World title in November 2009, was also against Dawson and once again Dawson came away the winner on points.
In February 2010, Johnson was on the IBF Championship trail, beating Yusaf Mack by sixth round TKO, in the final eliminator to face Champion Tavoris Cloud.
Six months later at the Scottrade Center in Saint Louis, Missouri Johnson and Cloud went toe-to toe for twelve sensational rounds and at the end it was Cloud that retained his crown and unbeaten record, after the judges all scored the bout 112-116 in favour of the Tallahassee, Florida man.
In June 2011 Johnson faced Carl Froch, at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the WBC Super Middleweight title, which was part of the Super Six competition, again after twelve sensational rounds of boxing Johnson was to lose out, this time by a majority points decision in favour of the Englishman.
Still competing in the Showtime TV Super Six series Johnson then faced Lucian Bute for the elusive IBF Super Middleweight crown, as before with Carl Froch it was a cracking fight, but in the end it was the Bute coming out on top, winning by unanimous points decision.
In his last Championship bout to date, Johnson once again headed off to ‘old blighty’, where he challenged upcoming British star George Groves for the Commonwealth title at the ExCel Arena in London. Groves retained both his title and his unbeaten record with a clear unanimous points decision.
When Johnson enters the arena at the Sands Casino tonight, to face Bobby Gunn, it will be at Cruiserweight, a division he has yet to compete in. Gunn on the other hand has competed and won Championships in the 200lb division.
Gunn, a former IBA, WBE, IBC Inter-Continental, WBC-USNBC, WBF Americas and NABA Cruiserweight Champion, comes into the fight with a record of 21 wins, 18 by way of stoppage, 4 losses and a single draw.
In his first Championship bout, in June 2005, Gunn beat Jeff Holcomb with a fifth round stoppage, to lift both the vacant WBE and NABC All Americas titles.
Nine months later Gunn was back in Championship action, this time against Shelby Gross for the vacant IBA title. It was a lively affair, with Gross sent to the canvas twice in the first round and Gunn down three times in the third before the match was stopped and declared a no contest.
Gunn then faced Shannon Landberg in September 2006, for the still vacant IBA title, this time the fight came to a conclusion, with Gunn stopping the West Lafayette, Indiana man in the seventh.
In April 2007 Gunn crossed the Atlantic, to challenge Great Britain’s Enzo Maccarinelli for his WBO crown at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, however Gunn was to also face his first Championship defeat, after being stopped after just two minutes and thirty five seconds of the first round.
It wouldn’t be until July 2008 before Gunn was back in Championship action, facing James Morrow for the vacant IBC Inter-Continental and the WBF Americas titles, at the Bernie Robbins Stadium in Atlantic City, Gunn once again emerged victorious, by a fifth round stoppage,
Old foe Shelby Gross was next up – and out – in November, as Gunn successfully defended his IBC title and added the WBC United States (USNBC) crown to his collection by way of a third round TKO.
In February 2009 Gunn successfully defended the USNBC title, as well as added the vacant NABA Cruiserweight title, with a fourth round stoppage of Brad Gregory.
Seven months later Gunn challenged Tomasz Adamek for the IBF crown, only to lose out after being forced to retire in the fourth.
In August 2011 Gunn took part in the first sanctioned bareknuckle fight since 1889, knocking-out Richard Stewart in the third round to be declared Bareknuckle Heavyweight Champion in August 2011.
Four months later Gunn defended the title, with another third round knock-out, this time over Ernest Jackson.
In his last Championship bout to date, in April 2012, Gunn moved to Heavyweight to take on James Toney for the vacant IBU title, once again Gunn was forced to retire, this time due to a broken hand.
With so much Championship experience between Johnson and Gunn, one thing can be assured it will be a cracking fight, but just who is the most likely winner?
If you take it by Championship rounds, you’d have to favour Johnson. If it’s on KO ratio, well that’s an awkward one – Johnson has stopped 36 opponents in his career, Gunn half as many on 18 – however Johnson has fought 72 times against Gunn’s 28 (including the Bareknuckle fights).
Another factor to take into account is that Johnson has only been stopped just the once, against Bernard Hopkins, albeit he was still on his feet, whilst Gunn has four stoppage losses (two by retirement), but then you have to take into account Johnson has mainly fought at Super Middle and Light Heavy, whilst Gunn it’s been Cruiserweight and Heavy.
Hmm, not an easy call to make at all, even with every stat factored in, however there really is a clear winner – the boxing fan – as this match has the hallmark of being a classic, with the genuine possibility of being a very late entry onto the 2013 ‘Fight of the Year’ list.
Bobby ‘Celtic Warrior’ Gunn versus Glen ‘Road Warrior’ Johnson, for the vacant World Boxing Union (WBU) World Cruiserweight title, which will take place at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday 18th December 2013.
Tickets for the XFE promoted “Celtic Warrior Vs. Road Warrior” are available on-line at www.sandseventcenter.com or by calling the Sands box office at 610-297-7400.
The whole event is also available on-line PPV on Go Fight Live – www.gfl.tv – for just $14.99
Please go online to www.wbuboxing.org or www.wbueurope.eu for additional information on upcoming WBU and WBU Europe sanctioned title fights.