Tony ‘Hulk’ Johnson is set to go toe to toe with bareknuckle boxing’s biggest hitters.
The 32 year old from Texas meets Josh Burns at the O2 Indigo on Saturday, September 8 – and says their scrap can’t be any harder than sparring WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
“That was the hardest 10 rounds of my life,” he said. “Deontay hit me so hard, but he couldn’t knock me out – and he knocked out all his other sparring partners.”
Johnson has a 3-0 record as a pro heavyweight boxer, but is best known for his career in the cage.
He has won the King of the Cage title and scalped top fighters such as Alexander Valkov and Tim Sylvia.
“I’ve always wanted to try bareknuckle boxing,’’ he said. ‘’It’s a growing sport and I want to be part of it.
“I want to be busy. The goal is to do MMA and bareknuckle boxing, but if I can make a career out of bareknuckle boxing, that’s what I will do.
“I was a grappler when I started MMA, but I’m a striker now. I have confidence in my boxing skills.”
The interim world championship is on the line when Johnson and Burns square up.
Champion Michael Terrill has until the end of the year to defend his belt – or the winner of Johnson-Burns will be upgraded to full champion.
Burns gets his shot after reversing a loss to Luke Atkins – and has more BKB experience than Johnson.
“I know it’s going to hurt,” said ‘Hulk, “but there’s not a massive difference between bareknuckle and MMA. There’s not a lot of padding in the MMA gloves.
‘’I’ve seen a few of Burns’ fights and it looks like he can give and take punishment.
“It should be a good fight.”