Johnson is the fourth straight boxer from Cleveland to represent Team USA at the Olympics.
CLEVELAND — Cleveland has become synonymous with elite amateur boxers who go on to the Olympic Games.
In 2008, it was Raynell Williams. Four years later, it was Terrell Gausha’s turn. Then in 2016, Charles Conwell competed at the Rio Olympics.
Now, it’s Delante “Tiger” Johnson’s turn to represent Northeast Ohio.
The 22-year-old heads to Tokyo as part of the USA Boxing team after building an accomplished resume in amateur competition.
“Right after Charles Conwell finished, it was up to me to be the next Olympian,” Johnson told 3News. “World Championships, after that Youth Championships, older guys in that tournament. I was the youngest one and had to compete against guys 30, 31. I won that and made USA Team and elite national team, and it’s been a journey since then.”
As excited as Johnson is to be an Olympian, he also proud to be representing Cleveland and Northeast Ohio in Tokyo. “It makes me feel good. My dream as a little kid, I always wanted to represent Cleveland. I really love my city. I can’t express how much I love my city,” Johnson says proudly. “When people from out of town talk, they always want to say LeBron. I want to be in that conversation, I want to be one of the best to come out of Cleveland. I even have it on my arm, that’s how much I love my city.”
It’s been almost 70 years since a Cleveland boxer won a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Johnson is hoping to match the acheivement of Nate Brooks in 1952 when he competes in the welterweight division. “As of right now I already made history, I’m first welterweight to qualify,” Johnson added. “I have another chance to make history to be first boxer since 1952 (to win gold from Cleveland). We (Team USA) haven’t had a welterweight medalist since 1988.”
Watch our interview with Delante “Tiger” Johnson in the player below: