Golden-boy Johnson rises to the occasion

Lloyd Johnson secured CYP title glory at 63.5kg
Lloyd Johnson secured CYP title glory at 63.5kg
Joel McIntyre. Picture: Sarah Standing (161623-8349)

No rest for McIntyre after latest win

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Lloyd Johnson is today bathing in the afterglow of his CYP national success.

And the Buckland champion dedicated his victory to his recovering grandmother after delivering the classiest of final wins.

Johnson had to overcome illness to romp to a 24-5 win over Bracebridge ABC’s Hayden Walker in Harlow.

The 18-year-old’s win came following a move up to 63.5kg at Class C from his usual 60kg weight.

That arrived after a difficult build-up to the CYP campaign, with the Golden Ring boxer’s nan laid up in hospital following a heart attack.

Johnson nearly didn’t box in the competition, until his grandparent urged him to take part.

That paved the way for him to steam through some tough opposition ahead of his showdown with Walker.

And there was no stopping Johnson at the final stage, as he delivered a composed and sensible display which never gave his rival a sniff of success.

That led to him gaining some high praise from Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan, who was impressed with what he saw from the Portsmouth talent.

Johnson said: ‘It’s brilliant to have won the title. I’ve been ill and had to take time out of training in the lead up to the final.

‘I like to box and I managed to force him (Walker) back in the first couple of rounds.

‘After that. it was a case of not being silly, doing what my coach said and boxing on the back foot.

‘Barry McGuigan watched me and we had a chat and went over a couple of things. That was great for me.

‘I almost never boxed in the competition at all, though.

‘My nan has been ill and I wasn’t going to do it. But she told me not to worry about her and enter still.

‘I was struggling to make my usual weight because she came out of hospital around the time I entered.

‘That meant I moved up, but it worked out well in the end.

‘It was nice to get the win for my nan.’

Johnson’s respected coach, Stuart Gill, lauded his charge’s triumph and his quality.

Gill heaped praise on his boxer’s attitude and temperament – and believes there is more to come from him.

He said: ‘Lloyd is a diamond. He is a dedicated boy, a good Pompey lad who wants to progress.

‘It was a comprehensive win in the end and he did well considering he has not been training properly.

‘Barry McGuigan said he was one of the boxers of the night. That was nice for him to hear.

‘And for him to be able to tell his nan he’d won was a nice thing.

‘Lloyd is a person who can keep developing – because he listens to everything.’