Eight months after his first professional loss, Miami resident Yudel Jhonson returns to the ring Saturday night at BB&T Center.
Jhonson, an Olympic silver medalist while representing his native Cuba in the 2004 Games, will face Dashon Johnson in a scheduled eight-round middleweight fight.
The bout is part of an eight-fight card presented by Golden Boy Promotions.
“Working with him these past four months, I can tell you Yudel is in great shape and great spirits,” Jhonson’s new trainer, Herman Caicedo, said. “He’s looking forward to putting the loss behind him.”
Jhonson was targeted for good fortunes in the 154- or 160-pound divisions after he defected from Cuba four years ago.
He overwhelmed his first 12 professional opponents, including eight by knockout, until he lost a lackluster unanimous decision against Willie Nelson on May 11 in Las Vegas.
“We’ve spoken in depth about that fight because as his new trainer, I felt it was important to know everything that went on that night,” Caicedo said. “His take was that he wasn’t prepared.”
Soon after the loss, Jhonson signed a promotional deal with Deerfield Beach-based Acquinity Sports.
“The loss won’t set him back,” Caicedo said. “Some fighters have a hard time understanding they’re no longer unbeaten while others take that first loss as an inspiration.
“He realizes what needs to be done, and that’s not letting it happen again.”
Johnson, who is from Escondido, Calif., already has 25 career fights while still being two weeks shy of his 25th birthday. Despite his 13-9-3 record, Johnson is a durable opponent — eight of his losses have gone the distance.
“He is one of those slick fighters who won’t quit,” Caicedo said. “This is the type of guy that can grow in the ring if you don’t mean business from the beginning.”
Saturday’s card is headlined by a scheduled 10-round, junior-welterweight fight between three-time world title contender Steve Forbes and Venezuela’s Johan Perez.
The undercard also will feature 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in his second professional bout.
The first fight starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets range from $21 to $96.