By Keith Idec
BoxingScene.com has learned that the IBF has ordered a middleweight championship elimination match between Tureano Johnson and Sergiy Derevyanchenko.
Johnson has until Friday to accept this challenging eliminator or he’ll be dropped from the top spot in the IBF’s 160-pound rankings. If the Bahamas-based boxer agrees to face Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko by Friday, representatives for the No. 1-ranked Johnson (Golden Boy Promotions) and the No. 2-ranked Derevyanchenko (Lou DiBella) will be granted a negotiating period to make a fight that would determine the mandatory challenger for IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs).
If Johnson (20-1, 14 KOs) doesn’t agree to fight the dangerous Derevyanchenko (10-0, 8 KOs), he’ll relinquish his No. 1 spot in the IBF rankings and be moved out of the top 10 by the New Jersey-based sanctioning organization.
If Johnson takes the fight, and Golden Boy Promotions and Lou DiBella can’t come to an agreement, the fight will go to purse bid, with each fighter getting 50 percent of the winning bid.
The 33-year-old Johnson jeopardized his mandatory spot because he didn’t fight for more than 15 months after becoming Golovkin’s mandatory challenger. He was granted a three-month medical extension by the IBF after suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery early last year to repair a torn rotator cuff.
Had Johnson not sustained that injury, he would’ve fought Golovkin on April 23, 2016. Golovkin instead stopped overmatched Dominic Wade that night in Inglewood, California.
Johnson hurt his shoulder during a win against Northern Ireland’s Eamonn O’Kane 18 months ago at Madison Square Garden.
Even with a medical extension, Johnson still exceeded those three months and the IBF’s standard 12-month period permitted for a mandatory challenger to remain inactive. More than 17 months passed between the time Johnson defeated O’Kane (14-2-1, 5 KOs) in October 2015 and his second-round knockout of Mexico’s Fabiano Pena (19-7-1, 15 KOs) on March 23 in Indio, California.
Derevyanchenko, meanwhile, has developed into one of the top prospects/contenders in boxing since making his pro debut in July 2014. The 31-year-old Derevyanchenko went 390-20 as an amateur and represented Ukraine at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
He only has 10 pro fights, but went 23-1 in the World Series of Boxing before he turned pro. Derevyanchenko, who resides in Brooklyn, most recently stopped Jamaica’s Kemahl Russell (10-1, 8 KOs) in the fifth round March 14 in Tunica, Mississippi.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.