By Francisco Salazar
Even after a loss, does a fighter really win?
If you are Tureano Johnson, yes.
Tureano Johnson was an unknown and unbeaten fighter prior to facing Curtis Stevens on April 4 of this year.
After the fight, Johnson put forth a breakthrough performance against a dangerous puncher, and even in defeat, gained a lot of fans.
He is hoping to continue making strides, which includes seeking a rematch against Stevens, when he faces unbeaten Mike Gavronski in a 10 round bout tonight at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash.
The bout, including the Art Hovhannisyan-Jonathan Maicelo 10 round bout, will be televised live on ESPN2 at 9PM ET/ 6PM PT.
A native of the Bahamas, Johnson (14-1, 10 KOs) was 51 seconds from pulling off a major upset over Stevens that night in Philadelphia. He was up on all three judges' scorecards by outboxing and outlanding Stevens during the bout. With about a minute left in the fight, Stevens hurt Johnson, prompting referee Gary Rosato to stop the bout. Johnson vehemently protested the stoppage, claiming he was okay to continue or should have been administered a standing eight count.
While the stoppage has been up for debate, Johnson is now focused on Gavronski, an unbeaten fighter who has only faced five fighters with winning records. Johnson is not taking him lightly, considering a loss prevents a possible rematch with Stevens.
"Mike Gavronski is a credible opponent," Johnson told Boxingscene.com over the phone on Tuesday. "I have a lot of respect for him. This is one of my most important fights and I'm not taking him lightly."
One could make the case Johnson's popularity skyrocketed during the Stevens' fight and has flourished thereafter. He interacts with fans from his twitter account and has given numerous interviews to media prior to the Gavronski fight.
"Before the Stevens fight, I had a small following. Nobody had heard of me before. Then I got new followers because of my performance. They appreciate my style."
While he believes a rematch with Stevens is on the horizon, he has decided to take a more assertive and aggressive approach to how he does business in the ring.
Considering he is a puncher, Johnson is approaching each fight with a "take no prisoners" mentality. He is taking the initiative, for now, for letting his hands be the judge.
That or he just wants to inflict pain on his opponents.
"Gavronski and every fighter I face is the "wrong" fighter," said Johnson, who is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions. "I'm going to explode and win on these guys. I'm going to love going in there and beating people up."
Johnson is hoping to land a big fight against some of the best middleweights in the world. He praises, but wants to fight Gennady Golovkin. Even fights against David Lemieux and Peter Quillin interest him.
While he wants an opportunity at a world title, he may have to wait a while, considering how the business works in the sport.
"2014 is still going to be a good year for me. I would focus on a world title, but there are a lot of politics involved. I just want to become well-known."
"I want to be the best and I have to fight the best to get there. I want to fight those credible opponents."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing