Johnston Defends WBC Crown Against Mexico's Castillo

Published June 17th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

American Stevie Johnston tries to extend his second reign as WBC lightweight champion Saturday when he meets Jose Luis Castillo of Mexico. 

The fight has been overshadowed here by the Oscar de la Hoya-Shane Mosley welterweight title matchup of hometown fighters here later the same night. 

Johnson, 30-1 with 15 knockouts, can solidify his position as the world's top lightweight with Mosley moving up. 

Johnston, 27, won the title from Jean-Baptiste Mendy of France in his first reign as WBC champion and he made three title defenses before losing to Cesar Bazan of Mexico in June of 1998. 

But he avenged his lone loss by reclaiming the crown from Bazan in a split decision in February of last year. He followed the Bazan fight by out pointing Aldo Rios of Nicargua. 

In August, Johnston posted one of the biggest victories of his career by easily beating highly regarded lightweight contender Angel Manfredy. he then went to England and took a unanimous decision from Billy Schwer. 

In his most recent defense, Johnston returned to his hometown of Denver, Colorado. Widely regarded as a technician, Johnston displayed tenacity in response to a first round cut over his left eye and overwhelmed Julio Alvarez with a 23-punch barrage in the following round before the fight was stopped. 

Upset-minded Castillo, 40-4 with 37 knockouts, will be in his first world title fight. His most notable victory was a fifth-round stoppage of fading former featherweight champion Jorge Paez in October, but he was knocked out by Alvarez in the second round of a 1998 bout, – (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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