Tureano Johnson went from preparing for his next fight to helping his people fight for their lives as Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas.
Johnson, who was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas and represented his nation in the 2008 Olympics, has been forced to temporarily put his career on hold as the country attempts to piece itself back together after dealing with destruction and distress from the natural disaster.
Johnson (21-2-1, 15 KOs) will face Magomed Madiev (13-0-1, 4 KOs) in a WBA middleweight eliminator with a target date of fighting Nov. 2, Golden Boy officials told BoxingScene.com on Friday, but Johnson is still stationed in the country where thousands are still missing from its 400,000 population, and at least 30 people have died from the hurricane.
Johnson was supposed to kickoff the first half of his camp for the Madiev fight the week of Aug. 26 in Atlanta before moving to New York after, but the hurricane immediately halted any plans of him leaving his loved ones behind.
“This is a very scary time for all of us. So many of our great friends and families have lost their lives and belongings. This is a horrifying moment,” Johnson told BoxingScene.com from his home in the Bahamas. “Boxing has given me a platform and a voice to reach people, and I encourage everyone to help and support with any kind of donations. I’m asking all of my friends and colleagues in the boxing world to assist in any way. My country is in dire need of monetary and tangible support.”
Hurricane Dorian, the strongest on record to hit the northwestern part of the archipelago that holds 700 islands, cays and islets, impacted Johnson as well, but not by near-death measures that battered others. Johnson only experienced extensive flooding and roof damage to his home.
“The repairs I have to deal with are nothing compared to what’s taking place on the island. I’m grateful, but my heart goes out to everyone,” said Johnson. “I’m not satisfied yet with the level of support we’ve received. My home comes first. I’m a Bahamian. My people need me. I’m doing my best to support. Boxing is still important to me, and I will continue to train. This is where boxing started for me.”
Johnson, who made it all the way to the quarterfinals at the Beijing Games, will soon pick up the pieces on his personal life and resort back to pugilism with hopes of continuing the momentum he built with his upset win over then unbeaten Jason Quigley in July.
The Golden Boy-promoted fighter plans to arrive in New York as soon as next week and begin training with Andre Rozier at Brooklyn’s Team Havoc.
Heading into the Quigley fight, Johnson had fought once since an August 2017 TKO loss to Sergiy Derevyanchenko. It was a disappointing eight-round draw to the unheralded Fernando Castaneda in February.
Johnson said his gameplan was to outbox Quigley and get rounds under his belt to work off the ring rust and sharpen his skillset. In the process, he pulled off a stunner when he stopped Quigley in the ninth round.
A win against Madiev in the eliminator will place him one step closer to fighting WBA champion Ryota Murata in 2020, and give his recovering country a reason to be proud of its son.
“Madiev is a fast and crafty fighter. He’s strong and slick—somewhat of a European Floyd Mayweather,” said Johnson. “But he’s a very beatable opponent. We’re going to expose his flaws. I’m brushing up on my tools, and no one will be able to withstand that. I’ll be ready, regardless of my situation right now dealing with the hurricane.”
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].