LAS VEGAS (July 31, 2006) – Crafty veteran Stevie “Little But Bad” Johnston has decided to return to his natural fighting weight of 135 pounds, back to the lightweight division he dominated for four years, rather than continue giving up too much size and strength to the world’s top rated super lightweights.
The 5-foot, 5-inch Johnston (38-4-1, 17 KOs), 33, captured the World Boxing Council lightweight championship twice between 1997 and 2000, registering seven successful title defenses at 135 pounds. Technically speaking, at least for 30 minutes, Stevie captured the WBC lightweight belt for the third time, when he won a 12-round majority decision against Jose Luis Castillo on September 9, 2000. A scoring error was revealed resulting in a controversial draw. The classy Johnston went to Castillo’s dressing room to personally return the WBC title belt.
“I’m too little to fight at 140,” Johnston realized after losing to 5-11 Vivian Harris last Saturday night. “After the fight I hydrated and still only weighed 147 pounds with my clothes and shoes on. When I started my comeback, I weighed 180 and we felt that 140 pounds was what I should fight at. I walk around at 148. I train hard and just can’t keep enough weight on between fights to fight at 140. I only weighed 136 when I fought Steve Quinonez in January for the IBO and NABC light welterweight titles. I could probably get down to 130, but I’m more comfortable at 135, and that’s where I’ll be making noise at from now on. Stevie Johnston isn’t going away. I’m just going back to where I belong.”
As a lightweight, Stevie defeated world champions Sharmba Mitchell, Jean Baptiste Mendy, Saul Duran, Cesar Bazan, James Page, Angel Manfredy and Alejandro Gonzalez. He’s also beaten major world title challengers such as Hiroyuki Sakamoto, Ever Beleno, Julio Alvarez, Billy Schwer, Aldo Nazareno Rios, Demetrio Ceballos, George Scott, Mark Fernandez and Corey Johnson.
Johnston, a Denver native now fighting out of Vero Beach, overcame a life-threatening car accident in 2003 and returned to the ring 2½ years later as a light welterweight. He captured the International Boxing Organization world and North American Boxing Council super lightweight championships, which he is abdicating in order to give leading 140-pounders an opportunity to fight for these belts.
Johnston is promoted by Silverhawk Boxing (www.silverhawkboxing.com), managed by Rider Boxing and trained by Henry Hill.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV