by Johnny Walker
Anglo-Irish heavyweight giant Tyson Fury was disappointed recently when a scheduled fight with unbeaten Russian Denis Boytsov fell through, and he was adamant that he would still face someone a cut above the journeyman-level types he’s been matched against recently.
To that end, Fury (19-0, 14 KOs) has settled on American Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson (28-2-1, 13 KOs), who he will meet up with in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on December 1.
Johnson had been a rising heavyweight until he met up with WBC champion Vitali Klitschko back in 2009. Johnson spent most of that fight hiding in the ropes, unwilling to engage with the champion: in the process, he earned himself the derisive nicknames “Queenpin” and “Safety Pin” in a lopsided unanimous decision loss.
Johnson’s most impressive showing since that debacle was a win this past April over Australian contender Alex Leapai, who he stopped in round nine.
“Johnson is just the kind of opponent that I want at this stage of my career,” Fury says.
“We needed a world class fighter and we have got one, and when I take him apart the world will sit up and take notice.”
Fury also couldn’t resist taking a dig at his UK rival David Price, who recently stopped the beyond washed up Audley Harrison in one round and who is now scheduled to take on 45-year-old Matt Skelton on November 30.
‘I’m not going around getting opponents out of graveyards, fighting guys well past their best like some other heavyweights in Britain, I’m taking on Kevin Johnson who has fought for a major world title and been the distance with Vitali Klitschko,” Fury boasts.
“I am getting closer to a shot at Klitschko myself and I’m going to show Vitali why he has to fight me because when I do a number on Johnson and get him out of there I’ll have done a better job than Vitali did on him.”
Johnson, of course, sees things differently.
“I give Tyson all the credit in the world for stepping up to the plate and taking the fight,” Johnson says.
“This is the biggest fight of my career since my world title fight against Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and I look forward to giving the fans what they deserve, an action packed, explosive and exciting fight.
“Tyson is a helluva fighter but he’s never seen anything like the ‘Kingpin’ up close and personal. I’m on a mission to claim the heavyweight title and Tyson Fury is in my way.
“I’m not Dereck Chisora or Neven Pajkic. I’m the real deal and Tyson will find that out on December 1. Don’t blink, its going to be a short night.”
Both Fury and Johnson are loquacious characters, so the press conferences for this fight alone should be worth the price of admission.