by Cliff Rold
A battle of 2008 Olympians determined a new mandatory contender for the IBF middleweight belt on Friday night at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma. 31-year old Ukrainian Sergey Derevyanchenko (11-0, 9 KO), 159, of Brooklyn, New York, captured the rights to that opportunity with a career best performance, stopping 33-year old Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KO), 159 ¾, of Nassau, Bahamas. It was the second knockout loss in Johnson’s career, who returned to boxing this year after missing 2016 for injury reasons.
The referee was Gary Ritter.
Johnson brought the fight from the beginning, pushing forward and looking to impose himself. By the second round, Johnson was beginning to walk into noticeably clean shots. Derevyanchenko started to really assert himself physically in the third round, taking advantage of the openings and hurting Johnson.
It didn’t get better from there.
Johnson remained game but won few rounds as the fight wore on. The heavy-handed Derevyanchenko was getting to his body and head with authority. Johnson bravely kept his feet, and had moments in the sixth and seventh, but could never reverse the tide. Derevyanchenko hurt him again in the eighth and the fight turned harshly one-sided.
Johnson, despite heavy punishment in the eleventh, was allowed to continue for the final round. He didn’t stay there long. Derevyanchenko went on the attack. A closing salvo of seven shots, punctuated by a left that drove Johnson finally to the floor, was all Ritter needed to see to call it at :40 seconds of the twelfth and final round.
With the win, Derevyanchenko lines himself up for a potential showdown with the middleweight championship fight next month between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. While his record may appear to be one of an ingénue, if one includes his World Series of Boxing fights, Derevyanchenko could be listed at 33-1 as a paid prizefighter.
He looked every bit the seasoned contender on Friday night and now he’s a contender of the mandatory variety.
Middleweight hopeful Hugo Centeno took a big step forward just two fights after losing his undefeated mark. In victory, he got to pass the lesson along to someone else.
The 26-year old Centeno (26-1, 14 KO), 158 ¾, of Oxnard, California, needed only a single left hook to end the night for a no longer undefeated 23-year old Immanuwel Aleem (17-1-1, 10 KO), 158 ¾, of Richmond, Virginia. The referee was Gerald Ritter.
After two rounds where Centeno’s length and height seemed to be giving him a slight edge, the end came suddenly. Centeno landed a left jab to the body and seemed to be preparing another as Aleem came forward. Instead, the shot exploded up as a left hook and Aleem never saw it coming. Aleem’s head bounced violently off the floor and Ritter could have counted to twenty, waving it off at 2:27 of round three.
Centeno entered the bout rated twelfth by the WBC at middleweight while Aleem had been rated seventh. Centeno should be expected to rise in short order.
The televised opener came in the lightweight division.
21-year old Austin Dulay (11-0, 8 KO), 132 ¾, of Nashville, Tennessee, dominated from bell to bell and scored a knockdown en route to a third round stoppage of 28-year old Carlos Padilla (16-6-1, 10 KO), 131 ¼, of Barranquilla, Colombia. The knockdown came in round three, Dulay battering Padilla along the ropes and forcing him to his knees. Padilla made it to the bell but his corner opted not to let him go out for round four.
The referee was Gary Ritter.
The card was televised in the US on Fox Sports 1 as part of the Premiere Boxing Champions series.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]