Flashback: Stevie Johnston

By: Big Steve G.

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Early in his career, lightweight Stevie Johnston experienced success by beating top opposition including future world champions James Page and Sharmba Mitchell; both of which were no easy task.  Johnston got his first title shot in 1997 in Paris France against Jean Baptiste Mendy where he made true to his nickname “Lil’ But Bad” and boxed his way to a close decision despite being at a visible physical disadvantage.

Johnston went on to defend his title three times before facing 6 ft. lightweight Cesar Bazan in 1998 in front of 40,000 fans on the undercard of an Oscar De La Hoya main event at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX. He had a hard time with Bazan’s style who was very good on the inside considering how tall he was. Johnston lost a close split decision only to later avenge his defeat on a Boxing After Dark main event 9 months later in Florida.

In 2000 Johnston put his belt on the line against relatively unknown Jose Luis Castillo and lost via majority decision in what was considered the Upset of the Year by Ring Magazine. They met for a rematch September 15th  of that same year in what ended as a peculiar outcome foreshadowing what was to come after.  Johnston was awarded a majority decision, only to have announced moments later that one of the judge’s scorecard was added incorrectly and should have been scored even, leaving the bout a draw and Castillo with the belt. It became Johnston’s last crack at a world title.

2003 saw Johnston lined up for a WBC title eliminator bout against Juan Lazcano only to end in an 11th round TKO.  Johnston took over two years off from the fight game and worked his way back up the ladder when he accepted an offer to face Vivian Harris on two weeks notice.  It would be another loss in a series of defeats that would end the storied fighter’s career. His final bout was on the 21st of May, 2008 against a young Edner Cherry in which Johnston suffered a KO in the tenth round. Although no fighter may choose to end their career on a loss, Johnston made the right decision considering the downward direction of his performance and left the sport with a string of bouts worthy of putting on replay.

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