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Tyson Fury handed Kevin Johnson test

ESPN staff
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Tyson Fury beat Vinny Maddalone in July © PA Photos
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Tyson Fury has confirmed he will fight Kevin Johnson - a former opponent of Vitali Klitschko - in his next bout on December 1 in Belfast.

Fury had been expected to meet Russian Denis Boytsov in his last fight of 2012, but Boytsov withdrew from the match-up. He is now expected to face Fury early next year if the Brit gets past Johnson.

Johnson challenged Klitschko in 2009, and despite losing every round to the Ukrainian he will provide Fury with a new level of challenger. The American has never been dropped in 31 fights, so the potential is there for Fury to make a statement.

"Johnson is just the kind of opponent that I want at this stage of my career," Fury said. "We needed a world class fighter and we have got one and when I take him apart the world will sit up and take notice.

"I am getting closer to a shot at Klitschko and I'm going to show Vitali why he has to fight me because when I do a number on Johnson and get him out of there I'll have done a better job than Vitali did on him."

Fury also could not resist a dig at David Price, who is set to meet 45-year-old Matt Skelton in his next bout, commenting: "I'm not going around getting opponents out of graveyards, fighting guys well past their best like some other heavyweights in Britain."

Promoter Mick Hennessy is clearly delighted with the Johnson match-up, insisting it is the type of test that will ask serious questions of Fury - perhaps for the first time.

"He's a very dangerous opponent, he's a clever boxer, he's never been stopped and he can punch so Tyson has his work cut out," Hennessy said. "But I believe that Tyson is the best heavyweight in the world and he'll show that again with the way he takes care of Johnson."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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