CALLUM Johnson is taking inspiration from his new pal Wayne Rooney’s wonder strike on Saturday – as he aims to deliver a ‘knockout blow’ in his second professional fight.
Boston boxer Johnson will take on a yet-to-be-named opponent at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena on March 12, on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ WBO superheavyweight world title defence against Derek Laryea.
Light heavyweight Johnson is now hitting the gym to get himself in the best condition as he aims to add a second tick in the wins column.
But he did take time out from his schedule to travel to Manchester United’s Carrington training ground to watch the Red Devils be put through their paces.
And after training, England international Wayne Rooney asked to meet Johnson.
Rooney – a massive boxing fan who once celebrated winning the Premier League title by wearing a Croxteth ABC vest in support of his former gym – told Johnson he had even watched his Commonwealth gold medal-winning fight last year, and took the opportunity to try on the Delhi 2010 medal.
“It was amazing to meet him,” said Manchester United fan Johnson, whose trip was organised by pal Geoff Rylott.
“If I can achieve half of what he has in football in my boxing career then I’ll have done a good job.
“He scored a great goal (against Manchester City) on Saturday, and now I want to deliver a knockout blow like that on March 12.”
Johnson – who continues to receive regular pep talks from manager Naseem Hamed – may be training to fight an unknown competitor.
But that doesn’t bother him as he says he is looking at the bigger picture.
“I’m not training for March 12 – I’m training for a world title fight. That’s how I see it.
“I didn’t just train for the Commonwealths in the six months leading up to Delhi, I was training for them all my life, since I started boxing.
“Now my goal is to be a world champions. Every time I train, I train for that.”
And besides, going into the great unknown didn’t do him any harm in his first professional fight.
In December he brushed aside Phillip Townley with a second round stoppage, something he is looking to repeat.
“Being professional means I’ve got more people paying to watch the shows, so it makes you want to do a little something extra,” he added.
“Hopefully I can deliver another stoppage next time.”
Tickets are still available for Johnson’s second professional contest.