Boxing: Johanneson poised to raise profile

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The Independent Online

It is possible that Carl Johanneson is the least-known British champion at a time when far too many fighters are getting far too much exposure. Johanneson will defend his British super-featherweight title for the second time tonight at the town hall in his hometown of Leeds in another even fight when he meets Scotland's Ricky Burns.

Johanneson, 28, had his first 16 fights in America and that is possibly one of the reasons why he competes as a virtual unknown. However, his two wins last year significantly raised his profile within the sport and there is every chance that a win against Burns will move him closer to the recognition he deserves.

Last year Johanneson beat the heavily favoured Billy Corcoran to win the title and defended it successfully against Femi Fehintola in back-to-back fights that were at best 50-50 encounters.

The town hall has been sold out for nearly two weeks and the promoter, Frank Maloney, is determined to keep Johanneson in his hometown and somehow build on the support that was previously lacking.

In Bristol, the long career of Dean Francis, who turned professional 13 years ago, could continue when he meets Derby's Ovill McKenzie for the Commonwealth Light Heavyweight title at the Marriott Hotel.

Ten years ago Francis was the British and European Super Middleweight champion, but he managed to dislocate his shoulder twice, serve a brief prison spell and, understandably, drop off the boxing radar.

McKenzie is the champion and he is an odd one at that, having started his career as a loser before joining up with the former heavyweight Clifton Mitchell.