On the trail of Cleverly and Bellew! Boxer Callum Johnson wants to climb the British rankings

Callum Johnson celebrates beating Lee Duncan.
Callum Johnson celebrates beating Lee Duncan.

BOSTON fighter Callum Johnson has set his sights on finishing the year near the top of the British rankings.

Although admitting fellow light heavyweights Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew are currently streets ahead in terms of experience and ability, Johnson reckons there is nobody else on the division he should fear.

“By the end of the year I believe I can be right up there in the British rankings,” he told The Standard.

“You’ve got to see Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew as the stand-out fighters in this division.

“They’re the top two without a doubt.

“But after those guys, nobody really stands out.”

Like Johnson, both WBO champion Cleverly and Bellew, the reigning Commonwealth champ, are promoted by Frank Warren.

And it would seem unlikely, given his track record of building up his fledgling fighters gradually, that Warren would wish to see Johnson in the ring against either of his other fighters.

And that suits Johnson, who believes he needs plenty more fights under his belt before he can even consider reaching the levels of the nation’s top two.

“They’ve obviously got more experience than me,” he continued.

“I’m a couple of years away from their levels, but bring on anybody else – I wouldn’t see them as a problem.”

Swansea’s Enzo Macarinelli, who has attempted to breath life back into his career by dropping down from cruiserweight, would arguably prove a step too far for Johnson, who doesn’t feature in the British top 10.

However, he fancies his chances against those ranked fourth and below, including Danny McIntosh, Ovill McKenzie, Tony Quigly and Tony Dodson.

Johnson has sparred with Cleverly in the past and knows the fighter well.

So when he watches the likes of Cleverly and Bellew – both of whom are friends – box, he is adamant it is not to judge himself against them, but for his own enjoyment.

He added: “I don’t watch their fights to look up to them. I watch because I’m a fan.

“They’re good friends. We’re not lined up to fight, and if we ever were, that’s a long way off.

“I watch them and pick up little things, but Joe Gallagher (Johnson’s trainer) knows what he wants from me and my development.

“I’m not awestruck by anyone.”