By Clive Bernath: Commonwealth Games light-heavyweight Gold medallist Callum Johnson was in two minds on whether to stay amateur and go for Gold at the London Olympics in 2012 or turn professional. Thankfully the 25 year-old from Bennington, near Boston made the right decision in my humble opinion in deciding to punch for pay.
And the fact that Johnson has signed a three year promotional deal with Frank Warren and will be managed by former world featherweight champ Naseem Hamed-is surely an added bonus.
Johnson is a promoters dream. I remember watching all of Johnson’s bouts in the Commonwealth Games and thinking, ‘you know what? He would make a great pro’. You see, Johnson is a devastatingly heavy handed hurtful puncher who knows how to finish an opponent. With those qualities and the added guidance and experience of having Frank Warren and Naseem Hamed in your corner we may just see the next British boxing superstar develop in front of our very eyes.
Johnson signed a promotional deal with Warren at the weekend and did admit the decision to turn pro was not an easy one to make.
Speaking to the Lincolnshire Echo, Johnson said: "My mind changed three or four times, between staying amateur or turning pro.
"But if I had stayed amateur I’d have been 27 at the Olympic Games, and that’s quite old if I wanted to turn professional afterwards.
"It’s a risk doing this, but it would have been a risk whatever I did."
Regarding teaming up with former featherweight legend Johnson added: "He (Hamed) took a liking to me as he thought I had a lot of confidence, and Naseem believes I can go all the way.
"He watched me on TV during the Commonwealth Games and was impressed. I’m not just working with Naseem Hamed, but also Frank Warren who’s one of the best promoters in the world.
"I’m both apprehensive and excited and although plenty of people have contacted me since the announcement, I can’t see what all the fuss is about."
British boxing fans have seen far too many prospects undeservedly hyped up to the hilt by over enthusiastic pr machines in recent years. While Johnson is by far the finished article I just feel Callum Johnson could just turn out to become something rather special.
November 1. 2010