Sergiy Derevyanchenko wore down Tureano Johnson in a punishing performance before putting him away in the final round to earn his shot at a world title.
The stout Ukrainian slugger consistently landed the bigger punches against Johnson before gaining a 12th-round TKO in their 160-pound title eliminator in an outdoor ring set up on Main Street in Miami, Oklahoma.
It was bombs away for much of the bout as the fighters traded heavy shots early and often. Derevyanchenko had the clear advantage when there was distance, and Johnson was forced to eat lots of leather to get inside.
Although the action was back and forth over the first few rounds, Derevyanchenko began to accelerate his attack in Round 3. Johnson was staggered a couple of times early but always recovered, answering back quickly. Derevyanchenko used his jab and straight right to great effect, but was often lured into an inside fight.
Johnson kept himself in the fight early with his nonstop punching. His output slowed down dramatically in the fifth round, no doubt due to the impressive body work from the 31-year-old Ukrainian. The 5-foot-9 Derevyanchenko landed a massive four-punch combination in the closing 30 seconds of the round, beginning his demolition of the taller Johnson.
Derevyanchenko never got wild with his approach, living up to his nickname of “The Technician” as he measuredly looked for different angles from which to attack Johnson. He buckled the 33-year-old Bahamas native, who now lives in Atlanta, in the eighth with a thunderous combination, but Johnson showed amazing toughness as he stayed upright.
As he fought past the eighth round for the first time in his career, Derevyanchenko took stern control of the action, but Johnson's pride kept him on his feet if not in the fight. Johnson endured another one-sided beating in Round 11, and referee Gary Ritter looked on closely for a reason to stop the action.
It didn’t take long for Derevyanchenko to finish things in the 12th, as he landed two consecutive right-left combinations to put Johnson firmly on the canvas and cause Ritter to wave an end to the bout 40 seconds into the round.
Derevyanchenko is now the No. 1 contender to face the winner of next month’s Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez world title bout.