Joe Gallagher has a stable of fighters who do not turn down challenges so it wasn’t too much of a surprise for him when Johnson agreed to fight Beterbiev.
When asked by World Boxing News in an exclusive interview if he gets inspired by training fighters who have that mentality, he replied: “100% but I think that’s the same as Liam Smith and the Canelo challenge. Liam Smith wasn’t vacating a belt. He went go on then, I’ll meet you head on.”
“Anthony Crolla – we got Jorge Linares. Crolla didn’t hang on holding the belt up saying I’m not fighting him, three-time world champion blah-blah-blah. No, he went I’d love a bit of that, too right I want to test myself against the best in the world and that’s the mentality.”
Gallagher continued to say: “So what we lost, the lads know themselves where they are and they went in and shared the ring. Callum Johnson is cut from the same cloth, he was thinking Frank Buglioni I’ll have a bit of him, I’ll beat him and he did.”
“Callum was saying, ‘Artur Beterbiev, they’re all raving about him, let’s see how good I really am, I’m 32 and I’m not getting any younger, I want a world title shot let’s go and give it a go. If I win – brilliant, I got the power in both hands to do it.’
Johnson showed he was a level above by dealing with Frank Buglioni in 90 seconds. To find if he belongs at world level, he’ll challenge one of the most feared light heavyweights of today who holds a 100% KO record
“All the fighters who finished their careers they realize they gave it their all, they fought the best and knew where their level was. By not challenging yourself against the best and keeping yourself back, not pushing yourself you will never know.
“If he doesn’t win so what at least he took the challenge and this is what makes boxing such a great sport – we all love the Rocky movies because everyone loves an underdog.
“Different fairytale stories (can happen) and it’s giving it no chance or a chance. It’s a level playing field in the ring and all it takes is one punch to change someone’s life and it has done that for Callum Johnson since Frank Buglioni.
“Who’s to say that history doesn’t repeat itself in October, he can become a world champion and if he doesn’t he went and gave it a shot.
“Liam Smith lost to Canelo and so what he went in there and fought, Crolla fought Linares, they tested themselves against the elite in the world and that’s what Callum Johnson is doing.”
Chandler Waller is a staff writer for World Boxing News. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerWaller