Tyson Fury says the world will “sit up and take notice” when he takes on Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson in Belfast on December 1.
The fight represents a step up in class for the unbeaten Morecambe heavyweight, who has won 14 of his 19 fights by knockout, as he bids to continue on the road to a world title shot against Vitali Klitschko.
American Johnson, who went the distance with WBC World heavyweight champion Vitali in 2009, is a late replacement for Russian Denis Boytsov, who was originally scheduled to fight Fury at the Odyssey Arena.
“Johnson is just the kind of opponent that I want at this stage of my career,” said Fury.
“We needed a world-class fighter and we have got one and when I take him apart the world will sit up and take notice.
“I’m not going around getting opponents out of graveyards, fighting guys well past their best like some other heavyweights in Britain, I’m taking on Kevin Johnson who has fought for a major world title and been the distance with Vitali Klitschko.
“I am getting closer to a shot at Klitschko myself and I’m going to show Vitali why he has to fight me because when I do a number on Johnson and get him out of there I’ll have done a better job than Vitali did on him.”
Johnson, whose record reads 28 wins, two defeats and a draw, said: “This is the biggest fight of my career since my world title fight against Vitali Klitschko in 2009 and I look forward to giving the fans what they deserve, an action-packed, explosive and exciting fight.
“Tyson is a hell of a fighter but he’s never seen anything like the “Kingpin” up close and personal.
“I’m on a mission to claim the heavyweight title and Tyson Fury is in my way.”
Tyson’s promoter Mick Hennessy said: “Kevin Johnson has been there and done it and he wants another shot at the world title and he sees Tyson as the route to that, that’s why he has taken the fight.
“He’s a very dangerous opponent, he’s a clever boxer, he’s never been stopped and he can punch so Tyson has his work cut out.
“But I believe that Tyson is the best heavyweight in the world and he’ll show that again with the way he takes care of Johnson.”