Beterbiev vs Johnson: Callum Johnson can seal best success story of 2018, says Joe Gallagher
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 02/10/18 11:11am
Callum Johnson will complete the 'biggest success story of 2018' if he defeats Artur Beterbiev in this weekend's world title fight, says trainer Joe Gallagher.
The British light-heavyweight makes a significant step-up in class when he challenges Beterbiev for the IBF title in Chicago in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports.
Sky Live: Worlds collide in Chicago
Callum Johnson and Gavin McDonnell dare to be great in world title bids, while Jessie Vargas and Jarrell Miller feature on a sizzling card hitting Chicago.
His father's death and a health scare threatened to end Johnson's career, but Gallagher believes the 33-year-old will eclipse any other sporting achievements this year if he topples the fearsome champion on US soil.
"Callum Johnson pulls this off, all the accolades this year, everything and more should come to Callum Johnson for what he's gone through," Gallagher told Sky Sports.
"There's sporting success stories and this, in my opinion, will be the sporting success story of 2018, if Callum Johnson pulls this off."
Beterbiev pounded Enrico Koelling to a halt to claim the IBF title, extending his destructive record to 12 successive knockout victories.
But Johnson also holds an unbeaten 17-fight record, with 12 stoppages, and is not intimidated by his big-hitting opponent.
"Everyone has a reputation," said Gallagher. "But like Callum Johnson keeps saying to me: 'Same as me, two arms, two legs, got a chin. If I hit him, I'll knock him out'.
"I'm sure Beterbiev thinks if I hit Callum Johnson, I'll knock him out. That's what makes this such an exciting fight.
Callum Johnson has got to go in there and hit him with everything.
"We see chinks in Beterbiev's make-up, and they have in Callum Johnson. It's who is going to land first, who has the game-plan.
"We're not expected to win. There's no pressure on Callum Johnson. There's pressure on Artur Beterbiev. He'll want to make a statement against Callum Johnson. Is he taking him seriously? We don't know. We'll have to find out on the night.
"Callum Johnson has got to go in there and hit him with everything. Hopefully, we hit him enough times that we come out and become world champion."
Watch the action from Chicago with Jessie Vargas vs Thomas Dulorme, Artur Beterbiev vs Callum Johnson, Daniel Roman vs Gavin McDonnell and Jarrell Miller vs Tomasz Adamek, 2am, Sunday, Sky Sports Action or follow it on our live blog at skysports.com/boxing or on the Skt Sports App.