By RENALDO DORSETT
AS the newest fighter in Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions stable, Bahamian middleweight Tureano Johnson will have two of his most sought after targets training together in preparation for bouts this fall.
Johnson, ranked fourth by the IBF (18-1, 13 KO), is slated to face Eamonn O’Kane (14-1-1, 5 KO) at Madison Square Garden, New York, on October 17. The fight will be on the undercard of the HBO Boxing Pay-Per-View, highlighted by the highly anticipated Gennady Golovkin versus David Lemieux bout.
In preparation for the bout, O’Kane, the third ranked boxer in the IBF’s Middleweight division, will reportedly join the Golovkin camp to train with the Russian title holder.
The winner of the Johnson/O’Kane bout will become the mandatory challenger to the IBF title currently held by Lemieux.
O’Kane is currently training in Big Bear, California, and has sparred with regular stablemates along with the high profile “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
Upon announcement of the fight, O’Kane took to Twitter to guarantee a win.
“I’m pleased to announce I will be winning my mandatory position for the WBA & IBF titles October 17 Madison Square Garden #AttitudeIsEverything,” he said.
Golovkin and Lemieux have long been targets of Johnson since his fifth round TKO over Alex Theran last January in his debut of Roc Nation Sports.
With just one fight under his belt under Roc Nation Sports and inactivity since the Theran bout, Johnson made the move to Golden Boy Promotions.
Gary Shaw co-promotes the dangerous Johnson for his next couple of bouts, but has sold his contract to Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy outfit. “Tureano is a great fighter and will beat O’Kane,” he said to ESPN.com. “He will go on to win the world title.”
Johnson, 31, said the move was necessary if he was to progress in his career at the pace he desired.
“At this point in my career, it is important for me to stay focused on my goals which are to fight, to provide for my family, to make my country proud, but ultimately to do what I was born to do – to become a world champion.”
Since he began making waves at the professional level, he has made it clear that his intention was to rise quickly up the ranks.
“I’m ready to fight Gennady Golovkin, Miguel Cotto, Jermaine Taylor or any other champion out there,” he said following the match against Theran. “These are the types of fights I would like to pursue. David Lemieux is also on my hit list. I’m here to take over this division. Everyone knows I should be undefeated so I’m going to leave no doubt about it every time I step in the ring.”
With his change in promoter, Johnson has also decided to revamp his whole team, bringing in a new trainer and manager.
“With a new team, trainer (Tyrone Jones), manager (Garcia O Staley Sr of Titanium Sports & Entertainment) and promoter in Golden Boy, I would say I have made a golden decision,” Johnson said. “The legacy lives on.”
“Tureano Johnson has proven himself to be a top contender in the middleweight division,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said at the fight announcement.
“This year, the middleweight division has catapulted itself back into the forefront of boxing with a calibre of talent reminiscent of legendary fighters like Carlos ‘Escopeta’ Monzon, ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler and Bernard ‘The Alien’ Hopkins. Johnson has demonstrated his ability to become a champion and with Golden Boy Promotions at his side, he has the opportunity to grow into a top middleweight of this era.”
Johnson is currently ranked at No. 8 in the WBC, No. 12 in the WBA and No. 12 in the International Boxing Federation.