Johnson ready to show off his skills and prepare for bigger fights
By Jason Moore
David Johnson holds a punching bag for a young boxer and slowly moves the bag left and right, in and out.
Johnson, who towers over the student, smiles constantly and provides feedback and tips about range and movement.
“Dave’s a big guy with a big heart, and he really cares about the gym,” said Phil Natividad, Red River College alumni and general manager of the United Boxing Club’s competitive team.
When the youth class is over, Johnson begins his final sparring session in preparation for Friday Night Fights, an amateur boxing event hosted by the Canadian Fighting Centre at the Centro Caboto Centre.
The main event was a super heavyweight bout between Johnson and Stingers Boxing Academy’s Corey Sylvester. The three three-minute round fight took place on Nov.1, 2019.
United Boxing Club and Stingers Boxing Academy are two local Winnipeg gyms.
In amateur boxing, super heavyweight is a weight class for athletes weighing 200 lbs and over.
Natividad leans on the top rope of the boxing ring and coordinates the sparring session, cycling different opponents against Johnson to keep the pressure on.
This effort underscores Johnson’s take on boxing.
“In the ring, a boxer is an individual, but they’re supported by a team,” he said.
Johnson, 34, is an account manager at Staples Business Advantage and has been a member of United’s competitive boxing team for three years.
He’s had 12 fights, and this is the first time he’s headlining an event.
“Dave’s got a great chance at winning this fight. He’ll have a huge reach advantage. He needs to keep Corey to the outside,” said Natividad.
Johnson is focused on Friday’s fight, but he has goals that go beyond the end of the week.
He’s hoping to pick up a win at the Manitoba Provincial Championships this December and participate at an Olympic qualifier in Montreal at the end of the year.
Johnson believes boxing will be part of his life even after he hangs up his gloves.
“United has given me so many opportunities and I’m always growing. But I don’t want to get to a point where I don’t have a good time in the ring. I see an opportunity to coach and train,” he said.
UPDATE: Johnson won the fight by unanimous decision on Friday.
Thanks for coming to the gym Jason!??