By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Just hours away from what he considers a career-defining fight, Tureano Johnson is primed to claim the North American Boxing Federation middleweight title.
Johnson will challenge Jason Quigley of Ireland tonight for the NABF title in the 10-round main event of the Golden Boy DAZN Thursday Night Fights at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
“It is a critical fight and one that will define whether I move on further or whether I will just sit back and think about which path I will take,” Johnson said yesterday during the pre-fight promotion in California. “It is definitely a fight I want and this is a good one for me.”
Johnson, 35, has a record of 20-2-1, 14 KOs and will look to hand the 28-year-old Quigley (16-0, 12 KOs) the first defeat of his professional career.
The fights will be streamed live on RingTV.com and on Facebook Watch via the Golden Boy Fight Night Page beginning at 10pm local time.
Johnson has battled several injuries recently, with just three fights in three years hampered by nagging shoulder issues.
In his last fight, Johnson fought to a surprising eight-round draw against journeyman Fernando Castaneda in February. The judges scored it 77-75 for Castaneda, 77-75 for Johnson, and 76-76.
“I’ve incurred many injuries and many have hindered me in the progress of my career. This has been a well-planned training camp and one that was most beneficial to my health,” Johnson said. “I can definitely say we are 100 per cent healthy for this fight and the planning for this fight in terms of my training camp was the best. To be honest, the opponent was even better, we have a very good fighter ahead of us who is a world champion and he is a very beatable one for me.”
Quigley most recently defeated Mathias Eklund via second-round technical knockout. “In boxing styles make fights and this one plays out that way. This is almost similar to a Marvin Hagler vs Tommy Hearns - I’m the Marvin Hagler that is going to come out victorious,” Johnson said.
Daniel Reed of boxingnews24.com gave a fight preview analysis and concurred that the styles of both fighters should lead to an entertaining bout. “What we know for sure is that power punches will be exchanged, defence won’t be perfect, and neither fighter will back down an inch. This has the makings of a stellar fight action-wise, and a very important fight for the future of the middleweight division,” Reed said.
“If Johnson wants to resurrect his career as a legitimate threat to the top fighters in the division, he needs to be willing to walk through fire to get his shots off, smother Quigley’s offence, and fight at a pace that the young prospect simply can’t match. It’s going to be an all-offence, all-action, drama-filled fight. This is a bout that could determine the rest of either combatant’s career. If he is able to walk through Quigley’s punches and get himself into close range where he can exploit Quigley’s defensive deficiencies to do some good work, he could change his whole career around.
The winner of this fight will likely be in a good position to challenge Ryota Murata for the WBA World Middleweight Title.