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Callum Johnson to face Igor Mikhalkin for EBU European light-heavyweight title

The two will fight on the Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin undercard at the Manchester Arena on May 2, live on Sky Sports Box Office

Callum Johnson is eyeing a world title fight
Image: Callum Johnson will be eyeing the European title

Callum Johnson will take on Igor Mikhalkin for the vacant EBU European light-heavyweight title on the Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin undercard.

The Whyte vs Povetkin fight at the Manchester Arena on May 2 will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office, and will feature Johnson's quest to claim the European title, having previously been British and Commonwealth champion.

He will be taking on Mikhalkin, a 34-year-old Russian, who has won 23 and lost two of his pro bouts.

Johnson will return to the ring for the first time since March last year, when he defeated Seanie Monaghan in New York.

Igor Mikhalkin has won 23 of his 25 fights
Image: Igor Mikhalkin has won 23 of his 25 fights

The American's only defeat came in his world title bout against Artur Beterbiev but he has won his other 18 pro fights.

"He's a good tough fighter," said Johnson. "It's a tough fight for me, he's a solid southpaw, he's been European Champion before and he lost to Kovalev when Kovalev was still top of his game.

"I'm expecting a very hard fight but it's a fight that I'm looking forward to and I'm confident I can win.

"2019 got off to a flying start. I got a good win out in America and I impressed a lot of people with that performance.

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Dillian Whyte says it's a great learning opportunity as he prepares to take on Alexander Povetkin

"It's a shame that I got injured because I think 2019 would have been a brilliant year for me. It didn't turn out to be my year but we go again.

"To win the British, Commonwealth and European titles will be a fantastic achievement and I'm confident of getting the win on May 2."

Mikhalkin said: "I'm happy that I can showcase my skills against a tough opponent in the UK.

"I know that Callum will come into our fight in very good shape and he has already shown he can trouble the best fighters in the world.

"I believe that I have what it takes to beat Callum, I've held the European title before and made a number of successful defences. This is my belt and I'll be taking it back to Russia after May 2."

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