The beast is awake! Callum Johnson says taste of the big time will spur him on to become world champ

Callum Johnson with Artur Beterbiev.
Callum Johnson with Artur Beterbiev.

Callum Johnson has promised to become a world champion after declaring the beast inside of him is now wide awake and hungrier than ever.

The 33-year-old believes that Saturday’s defeat to defending IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev has given him a true taste of what life at the top of the game means.

And now he’s there he has no plans of leaving until his lifelong dream is fulfilled.

“I will be a world champion. Definitely,” he told The Standard after landing back in England on Monday.

“The whole night really woke me up and I’m not going back to sleep.

“The beast was there, the desire was there.

“But there was that little bit at the back sleeping, not really knowing how much I wanted it. Now that’s woken up.

“I can’t wait to get back in the gym.

“I can’t wait to train hard and start working at being a world champion.”

Beterbiev’s fourth-round victory at Chicago’s Wintrust Arena in the early hours of Sunday stretched his pro record to 13 straight wins, all by way of knockout.

But he didn’t have it all his own way, sending Johnson to the canvas in the first, only for the Bostonian to return the favour in the second, the first time the Russian has been downed in his pro career.

“Everyone knows about my power. I don’t think it was the fact that I put him down, but the way I put him down and the way I bullied him around the ring,” said Johnson, who believes he has proven he is able to mix it with the best in his division.

“I was the aggressor, the one causing him problems, and it nearly came off.”

While Saturday’s fight may have announced Johnson on the world scene, he is still frustrated he didn’t make more of his second-round chance when Beterbiev was on the back foot.

“I’m disappointed with myself. I believe I could’ve boxed better,” he said.

“I proved I maybe could have won on the night and I really am frustrated with myself that I didn’t go on and win it when I had the chance.

“If I did it again it would be different, perhaps more mentally than physically.

“My mind was right but the occasion got to me a little bit. It was a massive occasion and a lot of pressure.

“At elite level the margins are so different.

“But the best man won on the night.”

While Johnson flew back from the Windy City dwelling on what-might-have-beens, he also made sure that the experience will serve him well for the rest of his career.

“There are some positives to take from it,” he added.

“I announced myself on the world scene and proved I can mix it with the world’s elite.

“The Americans loved me and want me to go back and fight again, and I’ve also been getting praise from the boxing world.”