The fight card between Johnson vs Mikhalkin will be headlined by Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin.
Another title fight has been added to a Matchroom Boxing card featuring Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano. Matchroom announced that Callum Johnson will face Igor Mikhalkin for the vacant EBU European Light-Heavyweight Championship.
After getting knocked out by Artur Beterbiev in October 2018 for the IBF Light-Heavyweight Title, Johnson (18-1) beat Sean Monaghan via TKO back in March. The Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight Champion was hoping to fight more in 2019, but nothing was able to come to fruition, especially following an injury.
Heading back to the drawing board, “The One” is hoping to continue the run he had before the Beterbiev bout.
“He’s (Mikhalkin) a good tough fighter,” said Johnson. “It’s a tough fight for me, he’s a solid southpaw, he’s been European Champion before and he lost to Kovalev when Kovalev was still top of his game. I’m expecting a very hard fight but it’s a fight that I’m looking forward to and I’m confident I can win.
“To win the British, Commonwealth and European Titles will be a fantastic achievement and I’m confident of getting the win on May 2. It’s a fight that I’ve got to win. If I win then it potentially opens massive doors for me to get another World Title shot and earn some big money. If I lose, it’s a big setback.”
A former IBO and European Light-Heavyweight Champion, Mikhalkin started his career 11-0. Following a loss to Aleksy Kuziemski in 2010, Mikhalkin won ten in a row, taking the aforementioned titles in the process. He faced off against Sergey Kovalev in 2018, losing via TKO in the seventh round. as a result, he lost the IBO Light-Heavyweight Title and a shot at the WBO Light-Heavyweight Title.
The 34-year-old then won two in a row. His last fight, a unanimous decision win over Timur Nikarkhoev in July, was for the IBO interim Light-Heavyweight Title. Now, he looks to reclaim the belt that he defended three times.
“I’m happy that I can showcase my skills against a tough opponent in the UK,” said Mikhalkin. “I know that Callum will come into our fight in very good shape and he has already shown he can trouble the best fighters in the world. I believe that I have what it takes to beat Callum, I’ve held the European Title before and made a number of successful defenses, this is my belt and I’ll be taking it back to Russia after May 2.”
The fight, along with the co and main event, takes place on May 2 inside the Manchester Arena.