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(Press Release) LAS VEGAS (March 15, 2006) - Former two-time World Boxing Council lightweight champion Stevie "Lil' But Bad" Johnston (38-3-1, 17 KOs) fights Dominican knockout artist Luis Ernesto Jose (24-4-2, 22 KOs) on March 31 in the 10 round main event at the Ybor City Multi Fight Complex in Tampa, Florida.

Johnston Plans To Squash Cherry

By Derek Bonnett: Veteran former lightweight champion, Stevie “Lil, But Bad” Johnston hoped to be going into his May 21 bout against Edner Cherry with a victory over prospect Vernon Paris as a gauge of where he stands among the current crop of lightweights.

Instead, he had to settle for dominating Dairo Esalas.

According to Johnston’s manager Jim Rider, it’s been difficult to secure meaningful fights for Johnston. The last time out, Rider had to deal with several dropouts before Esalas stood up to his word and fought the former champion.

“I hope this bout is stabilized. We are training for Edner Cherry,” Rider emphasized. “I think Edner Cherry is a far better fighter than Vernon Paris. Vernon Paris had no chance of beating Stevie Johnston and they figured it out before it was too late.”

Cherry, 23-5-2 (11), is a far more seasoned opponent for certain. The twenty-five year old Cherry is coming off of two impressive victories over prospect Wes Ferguson (W10, KO6) with the second being part of the Floyd Mayweather-Ricky Hatton extravaganza to close out 2007. He’s also fought two tough affairs with Paulie Malignaggi and Jose Armando Santa Cruz in losing efforts.

Both men are fighting to keep their status, as fringe contenders for the lightweight title and a victory for either man will certainly register kindly. Jim Rider sized up the game plan for Johnston.

“Stevie fights in circles. Edner needs someone to stand in front of him and slug it out,” Rider explained. “The focus last fight and for this fight is to get the punch count up and work behind a jab when coming in.”

Johnston, 42-5-1 (18), has a wealth of experience to call upon, but understands that another loss would likely end his title hunt. He plans on coming into Jacksonville, North Carolina, where the bout will be staged, with only one thing on his mind. The former champion squashed any talk about the future and offered his only objective is to “beat Edner Cherry.”

Fellow former champion Freddie Norwood, 42-2-1 (23), will also be fighting the same night as he seeks to redeem himself against Johnnie Edwards in Jacksonville. The last time out, Norwood lost via disqualification in the sixth round for repeated low blows. Edwards is 13-2-1 (7).

Rider admitted to not having had any talks about a proposed seniors bout between Johnston and Norwood if both men came out victorious, but acknowledged that anything is possible at this stage of the game.

May 6, 2008

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