Powerful middleweights Sergiy Derevyanchenko (10-0, 8 KOs) and Tureano Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) will square-off in a middleweight world title eliminator that headlines a special Friday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes on August 25from Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. Photos by Gary Crow/PBC
Derevyanchenko – 159-pounds
Johnson – 159.8-pounds
Centeno – 158.8-pounds
Aleem – 158.8-pounds
The winner of the Johnson vs. Derevyanchenko fight will be the International Boxing Federation mandatory challenger to IBF middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. However, it remains doubtful that the Johnson-Derevyanchenko will ever get a chance to fight GGG, as he still has a risky fight ahead of him against Saul Canelo Alvarez on September 16. The winner of that fight will likely look to face WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders. Golovkin wants to move up in weigh if he keeps winning.
Both guys are roughly the same level in terms of age. Johnson has looked incredibly good since he turned pro. It’s hard to believe it’s taken him this long to get close to a title shot. The bad news is even if he beats Derevyanchenko on Friday night, he still is looking at 1 year before he gets a title shot unless the IBF orders the Canelo-Golovkin winner to fight him.
Derevyanchenko is kind of slow, but he has heavy hands. He would be really up against it if he were to fight Golovkin. He might give Golovkin some problems if he could handle his punching power, which I doubt. Golovkin could beat Derevyanchenko with his jab alone like he did against David Lemieux.
Friday night’s winner earns a future date with the winner of the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight, with the WBC and WBA title belts on the line. Johnson and Derevyanchenko are the top two contenders to Golovkin in the IBF rankings.
“This is the biggest, most meaningful fight we’ve ever had in the area,” Holden said. “One of these two guys right here, if they win their next two fights they won’t have to work another day the rest of their lives. These boys know it, too. They’re going to lay everything on the line.”
Johnson, a 33-year-old who is originally from the Bahamas, could barely contain his enthusiasm when he stepped to the podium.
“I’m so excited,” Johnson said. “This is an awesome opportunity. I’ve been training hard and I’m 100 percent ready. I have the utmost respect for Sergiy, but I’m going to take care of him tomorrow night. Expect an awesome fight tomorrow night. I can’t tell you if it’s going to go a few rounds or the whole way, but I can guarantee you there’s going to be a bomb-dropping explosion that I can’t wait to experience.”
A former Ukrainian Olympian now fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, the 31-year-old Derevyanchenko noted he’s ready for his biggest challenge to date.
“I feel good,” Derevyanchenko said with assistance from a translator. “This fight is important for me. I know Johnson is a good fighter, but I am ready 100 percent.”
In the other televised bouts, Immanuwel Aleem (17-0-1, 10 KOs) meets Hugo Centeno (25-1, 13 KOs) in 10 rounds of middleweight action for the WBC Silver championship, and Austin Dulay (10-0, 7 KOs) takes on Carlos Padilla (16-5-1, 10 KOs) in lightweight action.
Charles Conwell and Kenzie Morrison represent the Four State Franchise on Friday night’s card.
A former Olympian, the 19-year-old Conwell (4-0, 4 KOs) takes on 34-year-old Andres Calixto Rey (7-6, 5 KOs) of Mexico in a four-round junior middleweight bout.
“It’s an honor to be on a card of this magnitude,” Conwell said. “I’m just ready to give Miami, Oklahoma, a great show. On paper, I guess it’s a step up for me. I try to grow with each fight.”
A local fan favorite, Morrison (11-0-2, 10 KOs) will tangle with veteran Roberto White (6-8, 6 KOs) of Salisbury, North Carolina, in a six-round heavyweight scrap.
“I don’t know a whole a lot about him, but I know he’s a southpaw and this will be my first time against a southpaw,” Morrison said of his 47-year-old opponent. “I’ve been training hard on the things I need to do to make sure things go my way. I feel good and I’m good to go.”
Morrison added fighting in an outdoor setting will be a new experience.