Callum Johnson faces Willbeforce Shihepo for the Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight title – and wants to win his first pro title for his Dad at the Manchester Arena on September 24, live on Sky Sports.
Johnson is looking to add the Commonwealth title to his 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal as he looks to convert his 15-fight unbeaten record into hardware, starting with his clash with the experienced Namibian, who took Arthur Abraham the distance in Germany, and with 17 KOs from 23 wins, provides a dangerous examination of Johnson’s title credentials.
Johnson’s desire to land his first pro crown and begin his quest for World title honours is further fuelled by his late father Paul, who passed away earlier in the year.
“He remains my biggest inspiration,” said Johnson. “We started this journey together when I was 12 years old and I am determined to finish it for him. His memory is only going to motivate me even more.
“Since I won gold at Delhi we always talked about what it would be like to win Commonwealth gold and a Commonwealth title. To complete the set, it sounded good. If Dad is looking down on me then this is my chance to show him we did it.
“Shihepo is the exact type of opponent I need to be facing right now, I need a stern test and he is that man. He has boxed former World champion Arthur Abraham and he done well against him – Abraham was a long standing world champion and very tough, so he’s mixed with the very best.
“I feel very confident ahead of this fight. I’m excited for this test and it’s one I’ll come through with flying colours.
“I thought this opportunity would come a bit a sooner than it has, after my amateur background I did expect to be challenging for domestic titles a bit sooner. But it’s come at a strange time for me personally, with everything I’ve had going on with my dad passing away. It will be nice to have the Commonwealth double of Gold medal and belt after fight night.”
Johnson’s clash with Shihepo is part of a huge night of action in Manchester as Anthony Crolla meets Jorge Linares in a blockbuster unification battle for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight titles.
John Ryder defends his WBA International Middleweight title against Jack Arnfield, Isaac Lowe defends his Commonwealth Featherweight title against Tshifhiwa Munyai, unbeaten Light-Heavyweight Hosea Burton will be in title action Conor Benn tastes his fifth night of action in the paid ranks with an appearance first at The O2 in London on September 10.
Tickets are on sale now priced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 and available from the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com or by calling 0844 847 8000. VIPs tickets are exclusively available through www.matchroomboxing.com priced at £250.
Face value tickets for September 24 will also be available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.