British light-heavyweight Callum Johnson will get a second world title opportunity in January.
The 36-year-old, trained by Joe Gallagher, will challenge WBO champion Joe Smith Jr, according to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger.
Johnson, who re-signed for Frank Warren in April, has picked up two wins under the Queensbury Promotions banner since then against Emil Markic (W TKO2) and Server Emurlaev (W MD10) respectively.
The ESPN story revealed that both fighters have agreed to terms to face each other on January 15 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York which will be a home fight for the champion from the Big Apple.
Johnson, ranked 9 with the WBO, first challenged for a world title three years ago in Chicago. The memorable four-round battle against IBF champion Artur Beterbiev demonstrated the Brit’s power when he put the Russian down in the second session. Johnson had been down in the round prior and was then dropped late in round four but failed to beat the count. The loss is Johnson’s only defeat in a 21-fight career (20-1, 14 KOs) which has seen him win British and Commonwealth titles at 175lbs.
Smith Jr (27-3, 21 KOs) picked up his world title against Maxim Vlasov in April when the pair fought for the belt vacated by Canelo Alvarez. A close-knit encounter ended with the American getting his hand raised after a majority decision verdict. Now, the 32-year-old from Long Island, NYC will defend his title for the first time against Johnson.
With each man carrying the type of power that can end a fight quickly this is one world title fight which will surely be must-see television.
Main image: Dan Mullan/Getty Images