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Tiger Johnson Returns Tonight on ESPN+

Prenice Brewer is a good friend of mine. When I first saw him box, it was like nothing I had ever seen before, and I wish fight fans had seen the Brewer who fought in the gym – it never fully translated fight night for some reason. Brewer called me three years ago out of the blue.

“Hey, Tiger is going to be here at the Last Chance Qualifiers [Olympic Qualifiers],” said Brewer in our usual less than two-minute phone calls, as Johnson went on to be the 2020 Olympian for the United States.

Delante “Tiger” Johnson is the prodigy of Cleveland, the next in a long line of great fighters, and following in the footsteps of Ricardo Williams, Jr. as well as Charles Conwell. Johnson is by all accounts, something special – and as a pro the excitement is there.

A unique nickname, dominance in the amateurs, and as high of a ceiling as anyone coming out of the U.S. Olympic Team – add to that an extremely hard work ethic, and you have an interesting prospect, who in many opinions is beginning to trend closer to a contender, than a prospect.

Johnson’s pro debut was not your traditional one, as he won every minute of the fight, but got cut by Antonius Grable, which seemingly angered as an inevitable four-round decision turned into a fourth-round stoppage basically based on frustration from the cut.

The cut didn’t impact much as Johnson hit the ground running in 2022 defeating an undefeated fighter Xavier Madrid by way of a four-round decision, followed by two stoppage wins over Sebastian Gabriel Chaves, as well as Agustin Gerbaldo Kucharski, with Johnson’s last two fights being six-round bouts, and Johnson fighting two months apart from his last performance with his fight this week being a rare three-month break.

Johnson is doing what pundits want, staying extremely active and building upon each performance.

Johnson’s opponent this weekend, in which he will be featured on ESPN+, Harry Gigliotti, a northeast club show veteran, who has been training hard for this opportunity. Johnson wins this fight, Johnson skips a bit of the developmental line as a guy like Gigliotti is typically who a prospect fights in their tenth fight, not fifth fight.

As with a win, guys like Mykquan Williams, Joseph Adorno, Will Madera, and even Dakota Linger are not that far away. For a fighter under ten fights to be in the conversation of these types of opponents says something about the potential as Johnson is essentially able to move past some of the developmental processes based on his ability as a fighter.

Johnson is a guy to watch, and tonight I would make sure to catch his fight on ESPN+

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle