The IBF has ordered a middleweight eliminator between Tureano Johnson and Sergiy Derevyanchenko, with the winner in line to face the Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin victor either late this year or in early 2018.
Canelo and Golovkin will meet on September 16, where Golovkin will defend his IBF, WBC, and WBA middleweight titles, and Alvarez will be defending his RING Magazine championship.
Johnson (20-1, 14 KO) has been skirting around contendership for a couple of years. The 33-year-old, born in the Bahamas, lost controversially by 10th round stoppage to Curtis Stevens in 2014, a fight he appeared to be winning handily before getting hurt in that final round, though many felt the stoppage still came too soon. That set up Stevens to face Hassan N’dam in an IBF eliminator, a fight N’dam won handily.
Since the loss to Stevens, Johnson has gone 6-0, but against light competition. He notably beat Eamonn O’Kane in October 2015 on the Golovkin-Lemieux undercard, with expectation that he was being lined up as a challenger for Golovkin if they couldn’t secure a bigger fight. Johnson missed a Golovkin fight and all of 2016 due to injury, and returned to action on March 23 of this year, beating Fabiano Pena via second round knockout.
Derevyanchenko (10-0, 8 KO) is one of the best prospects and emerging contenders in not just the 160-pound division, but in all of boxing. The 31-year-old Ukrainian was a 2008 Olympian, and has blown out opposition as a professional, though he’s yet to face a serious contender.
His most notable wins have come against veteran club fighter Elvin Ayala in 2015, and former titleholder Sam Soliman in 2016. He most recently fought on March 14, defeating Kemahl Russell via fifth round TKO. Known as “The Technician,” he combines high-level skill with thudding power.