A promising battle between Tureano Johnson and unbeaten Mike Gavronski headlines an ESPN "Friday Night Fights" card from the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington.
There is plenty at stake for the future of both fighters in this 10-round middleweight bout (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) considering a win likely opens the door to bigger fights against elite opponents.
Johnson (14-1, 10 KOs) enters the bout fresh off his first professional defeat in an April fight he was winning from start to finish before former world title challenger Curtis Stevens rallied for a controversial stoppage in the final round.
Gavronski (14-0-1, 10 KOs), 28, will fight the 10-round distance for the first time in his career. The Tacoma, Washington, native, who will be fighting in front of his home fans, is coming off an April win by majority decision against Kevin Hand.
"I'm happy to be fighting at home in front of all my family and friends," Gavronski said. "Johnson is a very tough fighter and is coming off a tough loss against Stevens. I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm sure I can beat him."
Johnson, 30, was born in Nassau, Bahamas, and fights out of Georgia. He is looking to erase the sting of his loss to Stevens after referee Gary Rosato called an end to the bout in a move many felt was premature.
"In my last fight, the referee stopped the fight early, and I suffered my first loss," Johnson said. "It was a very disappointing moment in my career, but I'm ready to move on and show the world that I am one of the best fighters in the middleweight division. I'll prove it against Gavronski. Nothing will prevent me from getting this victory."
Friday's bout offers a clear contrast in styles with Johnson, the more aggressive fighter, looking to apply pressure from the start. He is no stranger to exchanging heavy shots in close space with both hands.
Gavronski is the more technical fighter who employs movement and sets the distance with his jab and accurate combinations.
The pressure of fighting in his home state, and the challenge of Johnson's unyielding pressure will be tough challenges for Gavronski to overcome.
In the co-main event, Armenian native Art Hovhannisyan (17-1-2, 9 KOs), who fights out of Glendale, California, takes on Peru's Jonathan Maicelo (20-1, 12 KOs), who fights out of New Jersey, in a lightweight bout.