WHEN he’s not grafting in the gym, Callum Johnson may spend his time rubbing shoulders with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Amir Khan... but the Boston boxer promises he will never turn his back on his roots.
After winning Commonwealth Games gold at Delhi 2010, the 26-year-old’s profile has swiftly risen.
A meeting with the Manchester United squad, including one of his footballing heroes Rooney, and an invitation to Khan’s lavish engagement party are just two of the many highlights of the past two years.
But Johnson says he will never change from the lad who was brought up in Boston.
“I’m exactly the same person I would be even if I hadn’t ever boxed,” he told The Standard.
“I meet people like Amir Khan and Wayne Rooney, but they’re no different to us.
“Touch wood, I’d like to be half as successful as they are. But I’ll always be the same.
“I’ll never change. I’ll always live life the same way, it’s who I am.
“Rooney and Khan are normal lads, no different to my mates in Boston.
“But you get that. In football and boxing a lot of the lads who do well are street kids and don’t forget who they are.”
Johnson joined the rest of his Gallagher’s Gym stablemates as guests at Khan’s recent engagement party in Bolton, as he introduced new fiancee Faryal Makhdoom to his pals.
Despite describing the £150,000 event as ‘like nothing else,’ Johnson pointed out that the fighters, despite swapping their gloves for suits, soon got down to their usual favourite topic – boxing.
And the Boston fighter – who returns to the ring on March 10 – will get more opportunities to get up close and personal with former WBA and IBF light welterweight champion Khan, as he will begin to do more work at Manchester-based Gallaghers.
As well as continuing to work with his Las Vegas-based trainer Freddie Roach, he will train at Gallagher’s when spending time in England as he bids to reclaim the belts he has relinquished.