All Or Nothing For Carl Johanneson
13.07.07 - Nothing has been easy in the career of British super featherweight champion Carl Johanneson, who first joined the professional ranks just over seven years ago in the small American town of Baysboro, North Carolina. Although the 28 year old challenges European champion Leva Kirakosyan tonight on a Frank Maloney promotion at the Metrodome in Barnsely, England, Johanneson has fought an uphill battle all the way to reach this high point.
Article posted on 13.07.2007
Fighting his way up from the depths of obscurity in a foreign country, the Leeds born Johanneson made it to the big time three years into his pro career in a contest against fellow unbeaten prospect Koba "The Cobra" Gogoladze at the State Theater in Detroit, Michigan.
The bout was featured on Showtime's ShoBox program and seen by a massive number of American boxing fans but disaster struck when Johanneson was sent reeling around the ring on spaghetti legs early in the fight enroute to suffering a knockdown.
A lesser fighter would have quit then and there but Johanneson rallied back to drop Gogoladze and boss the lanky Philadelphia based Georgian southpaw the rest of the way.
Despite turning the tables on his opponent, Johanneson ran out of time in the eight round contest and the Yorkshireman couldn't overcome the early deficit, losing his first bout by a bitter split decision.
Gogolaze went on to show his quality, losing only to world class lightweight contender Almazbek "Kid Diamond" Raiymkulov since then and ironically will be facing Johanneson's greatest UK rival, Alex Arthur, for the vacant WBO super feather crown next weekend in Cardiff, Wales.
Undeterred, Johanneson resumed his American campaign and shortly thereafter ended the career of ex-IBF super flyweight champion Harold Grey in January, 2004.
Two months later, Johanneson staged a successful return to Britain, winning the WBF crown by forcing seasoned two time British title challenger Carl Greaves' corner to retire their fighter after three brutal rounds.
After two defenses of the WBF belt, Johanneson met highly dangerous Armenian born Leva Kirakosyan at Crystal Palace in London.
Kirakosyan had previously fought quality opposition as much as full two weight classes higher, going the eight round distance with future IBF light welter champion Juan Urango and knocking out two time European light welter title challenger Giuseppe Lauri two rounds quicker than multi weight world champion Ricky Hatton had managed to accomplish.
The Armenian strongman had also proved to be a force as a lighter weight fighter, giving ex-British super feather kingpin Michael Gomez an absolute battering in Manchester before being forced to quit in the sixth due to a closed eye, just two months before facing Johanneson.
Kirakosyan lived up to his billing as a dangerous KO artist by hammering Johanneson to the canvas for a devastating first round knockout win in London in December of 2004.
After taking half a year off to recover, the Leeds battler got back on the horse and within nine months had flattened five opponents in thrilling fashion, putting himself in position to contest the vacant British title against leather tough Wembley based Irishman, Billy "The Kid" Corcoran.
The Johanneson - Corcoran clash was a ferocious back and forth affair that saw both men give and take torrents of punishment during every second of the highly compressed action.
In the gripping fourth round, each combatant was shaken but after a stumbling Corcoran fielded a big shot from Johanneson, referee Ian John-Lewis called a halt to the proceedings and declared Johanneson the new British super featherweight champion.
Johanneson has followed up that career best victory with two title defenses over the last year; a dominating sixth round punch out of Bradford's Femi Fehintola and a most recently, forcing sharply skilled boxer Ricky Burns of Scotland to slug it out in close quarters and dropping the challenger three times via spearing body shots to win a wide points decision this past February.
Having demonstrated his mastery of the super feather division in the UK, the British champion has convinced promoter Frank Maloney that he's ready to take the next step up and vie for the European title.
Johanneson, 26-2 (18), enters his rematch tonight against Kirakosyan, 25-4 (16), with a mind full of revenge but the 28 year old will likely be unable to bull his way through the European champion as he has done with domestic opposition and will have to box clever if he is to catch and hurt the lethal Kirakosyan.
At 33 year of age, Kirakosyan could have difficulty making the 130 lb division weight limit and may be ripe for the taking but the French based banger has won all 11 of his fights since losing to Gomez three years ago and will feel that he is always just one punch away from knocking out Johanneson once again.
Frank Maloney Promotions presents "The Ultimate Quest for Revenge" at the Barnsley Metrodome, Barnsley on Friday, July 13, 2007. Tickets are priced at £70 and £35 and are available by logging onto www.frankmaloney.com or by calling the Box Office at 0871 226 1508. The fight is also televised live on Sky TV. For any further press information please call 0208 6914165.
Press Release composed by Curtis McCormick for www.frankmaloney.com
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