Dashon Johnson, who spent a number of weeks working as a sparring partner to Conor McGregor ahead of the UFC lightweight champion’s professional boxing debut last month, almost caused a huge upset against Peter ‘Kid Chocolate’ Quillin in Las Vegas on Friday night.
Johnson, who took the light-heavyweight bout on just a few days notice and went in sporting an aesthetically displeasing record of 22-21-3, started strongly according to a ringside report from Andreas Hale of The Ring and he badly hurt Quillin at the close of the third stanza, leaving him teetering on the brink of defeat.
“The third round was nearly a disastrous one for Quillin as Johnson landed a crushing overhand right that immediately had Quillin in trouble with 20 seconds left in the round,” wrote Hale. “Johnson unloaded with a scintillating bevy of power shots but Quillin somehow managed to remain upright until the round ended.”
Quillin, a former WBO middleweight titlist who was returning from a 21-month layoff that followed his devastating first-round stoppage defeat to Danny Jacobs in December of 2015, managed to claw his way back into the contest and take over in the second half of the fight, however. In the end, all three judges had the New Yorker winning by comfortable margins. Their cards read 78-74, 79-72 and 79-73 after eight rounds of action. According to Ryan Burton of BoxingScene, these scores obscure just how competitive the fight was in reality.
Unfortunately, little footage of the contest is available online. We did, however, find a video shot from inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino during the seventh and eighth rounds.
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In the hours since the fight, Johnson, who also has an MMA record of 9-2 and twice fought in the UFC, has authored two Facebook updates. In the latter post, ‘Flyboy’ claimed that he had suffered a fracture to his right hand during the bout and that Quillin outweighed him significantly on the night.
“What a fight! Hats off to Peter Quillin and his team! Again no excuses…suffered a fractured right hand and middle finger in the fight,” wrote Johnson. “Many ringside felt I won the fight and even people involved in the commission thought I did also! Had him hurt and on wobbly legs several times in the fight even being outweighed by 20 plus pounds I charged on the whole fight, I left it all in that ring on this 2 day notice and again I appreciate all the support from everyone! Dream Big and do everything with love first! I love you all and everyone be blessed-Flyboy.”
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Johnson was brought into McGregor’s camp at an early stage in the SBG Ireland’s fighter’s preparations for a lucrative cross-codes super-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., when a newly kitted out but still rather modest Dublin gym was the base of operations. He obviously made a good impression during those days in the Irish capital though, because he remained part of the McGregor team when camp subsequently moved to the lavish and pristine UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas following the now infamous MayMac world tour.
It was the second time that Johnson found himself at the heart of preparations for an enormous fight, as he had previously worked as a sparring partner to Manny Pacquiao ahead of the Filipino icon’s ‘Fight of the Century’ against Mayweather in May 2015.
Despite being so closely tied to two of the biggest fights of all time, Johnson’s own career continues to be a rocky one. The loss to Quillin was the tough, battle-tested Johnson’s second straight and his third in four fights.
With the win, Quillin moves to 33-1-1 and he will be looking toward much bigger fights in the near future. The 34-year-old is expected to compete at super-middleweight going forward.