Not so long ago, the former contender for the world light heavyweight title (up to 79.4 kg), British Callum Johnson, who ended his professional career, gave
interview for local media.
In a conversation, Johnson spoke about the defeat of his compatriot Anthony Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) to the unified champion from Canada Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs), with whom Callum had a fight in the past and was even able to knock down. The Briton expressed his opinion about the age of Arthur and his possible fight against WBA “super champion” from Russia Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs).
– Anthony Yarde made a heroic effort against Artur Beterbiev, your former rival. Anthony didn’t get it. How did you see the fight?
– Yes, I think he did really well, threw a great fight, a few times he even asked Arthur problems. I never watched it live, but it was – wow, it worked really well. Coming back, I also performed well. It seems to me that Arthur is always in control of the fight, he does things so well that you don’t understand it. Either he goes to the left, then he goes to the right, then Yard puts pressure and suddenly finds himself near the ropes under a hail of fire, combinations of Beterbiev. He is very, very smart. His boxing ability and IQ in the ring are greatly underestimated. Everyone talks about his strength, his power, his toughness and everything he does, but his boxing ability is amazing.
– You dropped Beterbiev, he was shocked in that fight, but he fights well when shocked, which is usually not possible for others. I think Arthur is one of the best who fights well when he is shocked. Do you think that’s also what he went through in the ring against Yard?
– Not really, to be honest. I don’t think he was shocked against Yard. I could be wrong, but I didn’t see him shaken. Maybe there were a few times when he took a few hits and realized that he was really in a real fight. It definitely was. But for him to be shocked – no, I have not seen such a thing.
“The strongest puncher in the world of boxing.” Coach Beterbiev – about Yard, Bivol and his fighter
– Did you see any signs of regression in Beterbiev? He’s 38 now, this can’t go on forever. Like Golovkin slowed down overnight with Canelo. Did you see such signs at all in Arthur?
– Hard to say. I think Anthony Yarde came out of his skin, showed a great fight, showed how good he is. To say that Arthur is slowing down would be a bit disrespectful to both him and Yard. I think it’s just a matter of judging how good he is and how well Yard did. Beterbiev is just a phenomenal fighter, even at 38.
Should Anthony continue? Is he capable of winning the title at some point?
— Yes, of course it can. More than. With Kovalev fading, I don’t think he was ready. Now he is ready to win the world title, but when you go up against someone as big, strong and good as Artur Beterbiev, it’s a big question. There’s a reason he has 19 fights and 19 knockouts, there’s also a reason he was unstoppable as an amateur. When you face a fighter like that for a title, it’s bad luck, to be honest. But I am sure that he will win the title in the future. This could happen when Arthur moves up to cruiserweight or retires. But now, I think Arthur is pretty close to his invincible version. If anything wins him, it will be his age.
– If Callum Smith, who recently moved to this division, becomes Beterbiev’s next opponent, do you estimate his chances higher?
– Yes. Callum is very good at picking up punches. Especially his left hook can catch. Potentially, Callum can knock out anyone, including Beterbiev. We need to give Callum a really good chance. But again, it’s still a fight where you’re going up against him. I think when they beat him, the age factor will play, and he will not be at his peak. I don’t think anyone can beat him when he’s fully in his prime. Do not misunderstand me. I’m not saying he can’t be defeated. It can be defeated, but that’s a big question.
Andre Ward praised Yard for the fight with Beterbiev
– The fight we want to see is Beterbiev vs. Bivol. Do you think we’ll get it?
— I like to think so. If it doesn’t happen next, it will vanish. Because Beterbiev will be 39, 40. If he happens at such a time, then you really need to choose Bivol as a favorite. Bivol’s boxing abilities, his movements, his skills are unparalleled. Beterbiev must have energy and precision to knock him out. It will be very difficult to beat him on points. Let’s hope this fight happens as soon as possible.
And who will you choose as the winner?
– Hard to say. At the moment it is Beterbiev, but my choice will not be very sure.