Sergiy Derevyanchenko wore down Tureano Johnson in a punishing performance before putting him away in the final round to earn his shot at a world title.
The stout Ukrainian slugger consistently landed the bigger punches Friday night against Johnson before gaining a 12th-round TKO in their 160-pound title eliminator in an outdoor ring set up on Main Street in Miami, Oklahoma.
“I'm very happy with my performance,” Sergiy Derevyanchenko said. “I did exactly what we worked on in training and broke him down to get the knockout.”
It was bombs away for much of the bout as the fighters traded heavy shots early and often. Derevyanchenko (11-0, 9 KOs) had the clear advantage when there was distance, and Johnson was forced to eat lots of leather to get inside.
Although the action was back and forth over the first few rounds, Derevyanchenko began to accelerate his attack in Round 3. Johnson was staggered a couple of times early but always recovered, answering back quickly. Derevyanchenko used his jab and straight right to great effect, but was often lured into an inside fight.
Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) kept himself in the fight early with his nonstop punching. His output slowed down dramatically in the fifth round, no doubt due to the impressive body work from the 31-year-old Ukrainian. The 5-foot-9 Derevyanchenko landed a massive four-punch combination in the closing 30 seconds of the round, beginning his demolition of the taller Johnson.
Derevyanchenko never got wild with his approach, living up to his nickname of “The Technician” as he measuredly looked for different angles from which to attack Johnson. He buckled the 33-year-old Bahamas native, who now lives in Atlanta, in the eighth with a thunderous combination, but Johnson showed amazing toughness as he stayed upright.
“ I'm ready to fight the winner of Golovkin vs Canelo for the title. I think that Golovkin will win and I look forward to fighting him next. ” Sergiy Derevyanchenko, after stopping Tureano Johnson in their 160-pound title eliminator
As he fought past the eighth round for the first time in his career, Derevyanchenko took stern control of the action, but Johnson's pride kept him on his feet if not in the fight. Johnson endured another one-sided beating in Round 11, and referee Gary Ritter looked on closely for a reason to stop the action.
It didn’t take long for Derevyanchenko to finish things in the 12th, as he landed two consecutive right-left combinations to put Johnson firmly on the canvas and cause Ritter to wave an end to the bout 40 seconds into the round.
“[Johnson] was very tough and took a lot of punches,” Derevyanchenko said. “Maybe the fight could have been stopped earlier, but I was always ready to go the distance.”
Derevyanchenko is now the No. 1 contender to face the winner of next month’s Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez world title bout. While he didn’t express a direct preference to challenge either man, he did offer a prediction on their contest.
“I'm ready to fight the winner of Golovkin vs Canelo for the title,” Derevyanchenko said. “I think that Golovkin will win and I look forward to fighting him next.”
Centeno scores magnificent knockout of Aleem in 160-pound bout
Hugo Centeno Jr. has never been known as much of a puncher, but that might have to change after Friday’s co-main event. Centeno (26-1, 14 KOs) landed a perfectly placed left hook that put Immanuwel Aleem (17-1-1, 10 KOs) flat on his back in Round 3. Referee Gerald Ritter immediately waved an end to the 160-pound bout, with the knockout coming 2:27 into the round.
Also, unbeaten Nashville native Austin Dulay (11-0, 8 KOs) scored an easy stoppage of Carlos Padilla (16-6-1, 10 KOs) in a 135-pound contest. Dulay, a 5-foot-10 southpaw, put Padilla down in Round 3 before the Colombian’s corner stopped the fight.
For a complete look at Derevyanchenko vs Johnson, visit our fight page.
While Sergiy Derevyanchenko is on the cusp of fighting for a 160-pound world championship entering just his 11th professional bout, he’s anything but inexperienced.
The 31-year-old Russian-born Ukrainian didn’t make his pro debut until three years ago, but that followed a long, distinguished amateur career in which he finished with an incredible record of 390-20. Derevyanchenko, a native of Feodosia, Crimea, on Ukraine’s southern coast, won the gold medal at the European Cadet Championships in 2001 and 2002, and earned the bronze at the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships before representing Ukraine at the 2008 Olympics.
Nicknamed “The Technician” for his systematic approach in the ring, Derevyanchenko went 23-1 in the World Series of Boxing—a professional-style competition allowing fighters to maintain amateur eligibility—before making his official entry into the pro ranks with a second-round stoppage of Cromwell Gordon in New York City on July 23, 2014.
Now living and training in Brooklyn, New York, Sergiy Derevyanchenko (10-0, 8 KOs) has knocked out his last four opponents as he has stormed his way toward a potential title shot. He will put himself in prime position for a championship opportunity if he can get past Tureano Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) on Friday night at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma (FS1, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
A win over Johnson would make Derevyanchenko the mandatory challenger for one of the three world titles possessed by Gennady Golovkin, who will defend his unified championship against Canelo Alvarez on September 16.
Derevyanchenko, who has fought solely in the United States as a pro, secured his spot in Friday’s 160-pound title eliminator with a punishing second-round TKO of former world champion Sam Soliman in July 2016. He followed that up with a fifth-round TKO of previously unbeaten Kemahl Russell in March.
Leading up to his fight with Russell, the 5-foot-9 Derevyanchenko sparred more than 40 rounds with then-world champ Daniel Jacobs, who lost a unanimous decision to Golovkin in their title unification bout in March.
Now hoping to fight Golovkin himself soon, Derevyanchenko took a timeout from his preparations for Johnson to discuss the prospect of battling Triple G, where he ranks himself in the 160-pound division and who’s not invited to his dinner table.
After sparring with Daniel Jacobs, who said you did a great job emulating Gennady Golovkin, what are your thoughts on a potential fight with Triple G?
I haven’t really spoken to Danny [since he fought] Golovkin, but my style against Golovkin would be totally different. Danny’s a well-rounded boxer who gave me a lot of great work.
I feel like I’m ready for anybody in the division right now, and I would love the fight against Triple G in the future, but Golovkin’s not on my mind right now. My focus is on Tureano Johnson.
How did working with Jacobs help you in your victory over Russell?
Russell was a tall, slick boxer with some power, but working with Danny was definitely helpful for that fight. I already knew how to fight Russell, and I thought my jab and bodywork were apparent in the way that I was able to break him down.
“ I feel like I’m ready for anybody in the division right now, and I would love the fight against Triple G in the future, but Golovkin’s not on my mind right now. My focus is on Tureano Johnson. ” Sergiy Derevyanchenko, unbeaten 160-pound title contender
Do you see any similarities between the 6-foot Russell and the 5-foot-10 Johnson?
Russell was more of a boxer than Tureano Johnson, who is a little bit shorter and more of a pressure fighter. Of course, I want to continue my string of knockouts, but I realize that Tureano is a tough fighter who was knocked out in the 10th round of his only loss.
I’ll box him, and if I get the knockout, I get the knockout. But if it goes the distance, then it goes the distance. I think Golovkin beats Alvarez, and if there’s a knockout, it will be for Golovkin. This is an IBF eliminator, so what’s most important is that we’re victorious so that we can get that Golovkin fight.
Can you compare your experiences in both the Olympics and the World Series of Boxing leading up to your professional career?
The Olympics were a good experience, but the World Series was more similar and a better transition to being a professional.
How do you rank the top fighters in the middleweight division?
I think I should be within the top five and, of course, I believe I’m No. 1. But right now, I think there’s Golovkin, who is considered the best in the division right now. Then you have Alvarez, Jermall Charlo, Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux, maybe in that order.
When Lemieux was preparing for Golovkin, I sparred him and I did excellent against him. All the guys I named, I rate right there with them and I think I could beat all of them.
What is your favorite punch to throw?
The left hook is probably my favorite punch. The first time I dropped Sam Soliman was with a right hand, but the last two times were from left hooks. The last time was the best one, and he couldn’t get up from it.
I landed a few good left hands against Russell, too, but at the end, one of the punches that I caught him with was a nice right hand that led to me finishing him off.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, what actor would do the best job portraying you?
I would say Leonardo DiCaprio. He looks a little bit like me and could be me in a movie. I think he could get in good shape and do a good job being me.
Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …
… doing another sport because I’m a good athlete. I could play football, soccer, anything.
If you could have dinner with any four people in history, who would they be?
Muhammad Ali, Leonardo DiCaprio—not Vladimir Putin, that’s for sure. He’s not invited to my table.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
If I could change anything, there would be no wars. There would be world peace for everyone.
“12 Rounds With …” is published Wednesdays at PremierBoxingChampions.com. Next week: three-time world heavyweight title challenger Chris Arreola.
Stepping into the ring against Juan Carlos Payano is the equivalent of taking an open-book math exam … while also holding the answer key … and yet somehow still flunking the test. On Tuesday night, Alexis Santiago became the latest student who failed to make the grade.
Implementing the aggressive, rough-and-tumble, high-volume punching style that has defined his seven-year pro career, former 118-pound champion Juan Carlos Payano (19-1, 9 KOs) outworked and outclassed tough veteran Alexis Santiago (21-5-1, 8 KOs) to win a 10-round unanimous decision at Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
In securing his second consecutive victory since losing his world title in a rematch with Rau’shee Warren in June 2016, Payano nearly pitched a shutout, prevailing by scores of 100-90 and 99-91 twice.
“The strategy was to wear [Santiago] down and then really try to walk him down and take him out,” said Payano, a 33-year-old native of the Dominican Republic now residing in Miami. “Santiago was a little too tough for his own good, so we kept some distance at times and controlled the fight.”
As is always the case when he fights, Payano might as well have had his game plan written on his chest for Santiago—and all the world—to see: come forward like a bull; mix it up in close; throw punches from every conceivable angle; answer every one of your opponent’s punches with about 10 of your own; lather, rinse, repeat.
Despite having the answers ahead of the test, though, Santiago—like many before him—struggled to solve the equation.
As expected, Payano established control in the opening two rounds, aggressively attacking Santiago while landing an array of shots and absorbing little in the way of return fire. In fact, Santiago, who was coming off a career-long layoff of nearly a year, started tentatively as he clearly struggled to figure out the many complex angles from which Payano’s punches were coming at him.
“I felt the long layoff when I got in there,” said Santiago, who brought many supporters from his hometown of Phoenix. “I was a little tight and loaded up too much instead of using my speed.”
By Round 3, however, Santiago began to have more success timing the onrushing Payano, at one point landing a sweeping right cross to the forehead that snapped the former champ’s head back. The blow didn’t hurt Payano, but it did open a cut above the southpaw’s left eye.
The cut reopened early in the fourth round, which featured solid two-way action. At that point, Santiago was very much in the fight. But after a somewhat lackluster fifth round, any possibility of a significant upset quickly evaporated in the hot, dry Vegas air.
“ I want my title back. I don’t care who is holding which titles at 118 and 122 pounds. I’ll fight anyone and show I’m still a champion. ” Former 118-pound world champion Juan Carlos Payano, after beating Alexis Santiago
Perhaps taking advantage of a second wind, Payano dialed up the punch volume starting in Round 6, stalking Santiago across the ring and unleashing one blinding combination after another. Not all of Payano’s blows hit pay dirt, but those that did began to leave noticeable welts and bruises on Santiago’s face. They also appeared to sap the 26-year-old’s energy and crush his will.
Save for a couple of decent flurries in the final two rounds, Santiago offered little resistance to Payano’s relentless attack. And even though Payano had the fight well in hand down the stretch, he never took his foot off the gas, even exchanging with Santiago in the waning seconds of the bout.
When it was over, it was clear whose hand would be raised, as Santiago won just a single round on two of the judges’ cards.
“I thought the fight was a little closer. He did more work than me, but I thought I had moments,” said Santiago, who has followed up a 10-fight winning streak by losing consecutive bouts for the first time in his nearly eight-year career. “I wanted to box him a little more, but I couldn’t find my range so I just tried to close down the gaps.”
Said Payano: “I felt like I was winning every single round. There were small moments on the inside that I gave away, but I think I did the better work each round.”
Now that he’s disposed of Santiago, which follows a stoppage victory over Isao Gonzalo Carranza in January, Payano is eyeing bigger and better things—namely, a chance to regain his 118-pound title. Or challenge for a crown at 122.
“I want my title back,” said Payano, who became a 118-pound champion in September 2014 and successfully defended his hardware once. “I don’t care who is holding which titles at 118 and 122 pounds. I’ll fight anyone and show I’m still a champion.”
Miller earns unanimous decision over Herring in 135-pound clash
For most of the fight, the 24-year-old Miller was the aggressor and landed the cleaner shots as he picked up his fifth straight victory while handing Herring, 31, his second loss in his last three bouts.
For complete coverage of Payano vs Santiago, bounce over to our fight page.
As America’s youngest reigning world champion, Gervonta Davis is a rising star at 130 pounds. And he seems to be born for the big stage.
Gervonta Davis will make his second title defense Saturday night, taking on Francisco Fonseca on the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Davis (18-0, 17 KOs) will be seeking his 10th straight knockout, and Fonseca (19-0-1, 13 KOs) is his third straight undefeated opponent.
Davis, a 22-year-old southpaw, has continued to dominate in the ring even as the quality of the competition has improved, starting with a third-round TKO of former world champion Cristobal Cruz, who was dropped twice in their October 2015 bout.
“The better the opponent, the better I am,” Davis said. “When it’s action-packed, that brings the best out of me.”
In January, Davis dethroned unbeaten Jose Pedraza as world champion via seventh-round knockout in Brooklyn, New York. He then traveled to London for his initial defense on May 20, when he dropped and stopped previously unbeaten southpaw Liam Walsh in Round 3 in front of a partisan British crowd.
He now looks to make another statement before the largest audience of his career.
“I've been stopping a lot of guys in training. I can't wait to get in the ring and give the fans a big knockout,” Davis said. “No one in boxing can punch as hard as me.
“I’m really excited to fight as the co-main event on the biggest card in combat sports history. I’m ready for Floyd Mayweather to pass his torch to me. … Gervonta Davis is gonna take over the sport of boxing.”
“ The better the opponent, the better I am. When it’s action-packed, that brings the best out of me. ” 130-pound world champion Gervonta Davis, who defends his title Saturday against Francisco Fonseca
Only one fighter, German Meraz, has gone the distance with Davis. But even in lasting six rounds with the slugging southpaw in October 2014, Meraz was knocked down twice and shut out on the judges’ scorecards.
Now Davis is preparing to face Fonseca, who has never been knocked out in his 20-fight pro career. The 23-year-old Costa Rican has stopped his last five opponents, capped by a third-round KO of Eliecer Lanzas in March, and will be fighting in the United States for the first time.
Davis has been preparing for Fonseca at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas under career-long cornerman and father figure Calvin Ford. It was Ford’s son, Quaadir Gurley, who introduced Davis to the sport when he was 7 years old at Baltimore’s Upton Boxing Gym.
Nicknamed “Tank” by an amateur coach for his large head, Davis spent time in foster care and group homes growing up in a rough section of Baltimore where crime and violence cost many friends and family members their freedom if not their lives.
“I was born to do this,” Davis said. “What I’ve been through in life has helped me.”
A three-time national Silver Gloves and 2012 national Golden Gloves champion, Davis wants to encourage troubled youth to find a brighter path after Gurley, who was shot to death in 2013, and Ford helped him.
“Boxing saved my life,” Davis said. “I wouldn’t be in this position if not for [Gurley] first teaching me how to fight, then introducing me to Coach Calvin. I used to even sleep at [Ford’s] house on school nights.
“I believe I’m here for a reason. That’s why I call myself, ‘The One.’ Kids in Baltimore really don’t have any guidance. What they’re missing is someone to look up to. I believe 100 percent that they’ll listen to me.”