Tureano Johnson withstood a hot start from Mike Gavronski to dish out a unanimous decision beating on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, in his first appearance since making an impression in a controversial loss to Curtis Stevens. It was a well-deserved and successful return to television sets.
The middleweight protested the final round stoppage against Stevens on NBC Sports in a bout he was going to win if he made it to the final bell, and the fans sympathized with him — he had put on a good, aggressive performance as an underdog and many agreed with his protests, then charmed people on social media. In Gavronski, he was facing an undefeated and tough local kid in his home state of Washington. And he missed weight on his first try, did Johnson, so he had a few things going against him.
Early, it was Gavronski who was going against him pretty well. The 6-footer thew a lot of punches from range and landed a great many of them. But at the end of the 2nd, Gavronski moved into close range, and by the 3rd he was stationed there. “There” was Johnson’s preferred neighborhood, and he capitalized, practically uppercutting Gavronski’s chin through the back of his damn head and working his body. By the time Gavronski realized he needed to get the hell out of there, it was too late. He soaked up a beating and looked in danger of being stopped before surging a bit in the 8th and 9th to avoid giving the ref and ring doctor a chance to save him.
Who knows how many of these kind of performances it will take for Johnson to get the kind of shine he would’ve gotten with a win over Stevens, but it’s a start. He’d be viable right now as an opponent for a top 10 middleweight, at least in boxing terms.
On the undercard, lightweight Jonathan Maicelo put his own whooping on busted prospect Art Hovhannisyan. Art had his moments early but Maicelo totally took over, bloodying him badly in the final round in particular. Somehow, Glen Hamada scored it for Art, which is hilarious in that dark way that only boxing can offer hilarity. It was a totally insane figure. The other two judges scored it wide for Maicelo, who bounced back from a knockout loss to Rustam Nugaev. Maicelo doesn’t have the sky as his limit, but he makes for entertaining enough television.