Champ wary of Johnson

MURRAY GREIG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:02 AM ET

EDMONTON - The odds will be stacked against Edmontons Amy Johnson when she challenges World Boxing Organization lightweight champ Erin McGowan on Saturday in Mt. Claremont, Australia.

But that might not be such a bad thing.

Shes the champion, shes about three inches taller than me and shell have her hometown referee and judges ... but shell also have the hometown pressure,

Johnson (7-2-3) said during a recent break in training at Avenue Boxing.

Its her first title defence, and even though shes unbeaten (14-0), shes bound to be nervous.

Which is what Johnson is counting on.

I just have to fight my fight get in there and do what Ive been training for, she said.

Having just fought a couple of weeks ago (four-round split decision over Peggy Maerz in Red Deer), its like I never skipped a beat. Ive never felt better going into a fight.

While Johnson has had the benefit of watching several of McGowans bouts on YouTube, the champ has voiced concern about knowing nothing of the Canadians style.

We cant get footage of Johnson ... thats the problem with most female fighters, there is not much information on them, McGowan said in an interview with Perth Today last week.

I know she is tough and that she comes to fight, but thats all.

The 30-year-old champion hasnt fought since notching a unanimous decision over Britains Lyndsey Scragg for the vacant WBO title last fall. Two years ago, Scragg dropped a 10-rounder to then WBC super featherweight champ Jelena Mrdjenovich at the Shaw Conference Centre.

Im definitely itching to get back in there, especially in front of my home crowd, McGowan told the newspaper.

Im pretty excited about that. Im also very excited to have my childhood hero, Jeff Fenech, working in my corner.

McGowan said Fenech, a triple world champion at bantamweight and featherweight from 1985-89, has been a huge help.

Im learning heaps from Jeff every day, she said. Hes teaching me to work on angles a lot better and placing my punches so that Im hitting with a lot more power.Hes teaching me to not waste any.

Johnson, 28, has likewise been working on refining her offence and the improvements were obvious in the win over Maerz on April 14.

Instead of falling into her usual pattern of moving straight forward behind an erratic jab, Johnson showed good lateral movement while patiently wearing down her shorter opponent with well-timed 1-2s.

Ever since Terry Coveney started training me a couple of months ago, Ive gotten a lot more relaxed and focused, said Johnson.

Thats how Ill have to fight McGowan, too. Like I said, all the pressure is on her; I just have to block out everything else and take care of business.

Thats as good a way as any to try to even those long odds.


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