Unbeaten middleweight Tureano “Reno” Johnson (13-0, 10 KOs) will lock horns with Willie Fortune (15-0, 7 KOs) in the eight-round co-main event of ShoBox on Friday night from the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, California. Johnson is from Nassau, Bahamas, although he is currently training in Annapolis, Md., with his trainer Tyrone Jones. As a decorated amateur, Johnson was part of the 2008 Bahamas Olympic Team and was a standout, catching the eye of many boxing insiders for his performances in the Beijing Olympics. He is a connoisseur when it comes to training, obtaining world experience by working alongside the Cuban National Team for the eight years while he lived in Cuba before his own venture into the Olympic ranks.
Johnson isn’t just another finally tuned Olympian turned professional hopeful. While he does possess remarkable skills, he is highly touted for the nature of his fighting style and has even drawn comparisons to Arturo Gatti based on his ability to mix it up. The enthusiasm behind Johnson is not only felt from the fan’s perspective, but also from that of his boxing peers, many of whom credit Johnson with being capable of physically dominating a fighter while simultaneously providing onlookers with the kind of show that is hard to shake from the memory bank. While that can be a dangerous attribute, Johnson is clear on the fact that he has developed a process that works for him and he insists that he would never intentionally put himself in harm’s way if it meant costing himself the victory.
“I’m trying to bridge the gap between fighter and entertainer, but I’m more concerned with doing the entertaining with my fists,” Johnson said. “There is nothing that I enjoy more than going out there and mixing it up with my opponent. I welcome exchanges because I’m not afraid to get hit, just don’t get upset when I hit you back.
“A lot of guys are fast, strong, or athletic, but I’d say my best attribute is the way I’m able to feel out my opponent on the spot. This lets me know what I can do and what I can’t do against a guy, and my opponent can’t ever know for sure how he’s going to get beat. But they will know without a doubt that they’ll be in a fight. That is something they can count on. You listening, Willie?”
It’s apparent after watching Johnson that he possesses a sophisticated outlook on performing and when you couple that with his charismatic brand of fighting you become aware of his potential to rise up the rankings quickly. This is something that Johnson is looking to accomplish and with every fight he gets closer to his ultimate goal. In this fight with Fortune, he is making the transition from six rounds to eight and he is doing it against an undefeated fighter. Fighting an eight-rounder for the first time is a big step, but the obstacle is magnified when you take into account Johnson is doing it against a significant step up in competition on a major network like SHOWTIME, proving he is eager to further his career.
“I don’t want to just make a splash, I want to create a tsunami. I’m anxious to get to the next level, but I’m not looking past my opponent and I’m going to keep serving up the beatings as long as they keep serving me up the opponents,” Johnson said. “Being on SHOWTIME is a great opportunity and it’s reassuring that a great performance won’t be lost on a television audience. I have to do something special so that the fans remember me and so that SHOWTIME will be in a hurry to have me back. I fight for my country, the Bahamas, and carry the weight of the entire Caribbean islands on my back. I’m fighting in the U.S. to become a world champion.”
His promoter, Gary Shaw, is confident that his fighter has the goods, but he’s happy to see a fighter at such an early stage in his career with the mindset of Johnson, a fighter who knows it is equally important to produce quality performances.
“It isn’t enough to just go out there and fight, you have to know how to make fights and Johnson has figured that out,” Shaw said. “He doesn’t just want to win the fight, he wants to win over the fans at the same time. It’s rare to come across a fighter that is willing to earn his check by earning the fans respect, but that is exactly what Johnson is looking to accomplish.”
Tickets priced $35 and $55 are on sale at the Morongo Casino Box Office or by calling the Box Office hotline at (951) 755-5391. They are also available by calling Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. Doors open on fight night at 5 p.m. The first fight starts at 5:30 p.m.
The Morongo Casino Resort and Spa is located at 49500 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, Calif., 92230.