Cleveland's own Delante "Tiger" Johnson will be representing Team USA in boxing at the Tokyo Olympics. The welterweight will face Argentina's Brian Arregui in a first-round match Saturday at 6:39 a.m.
Johnson, who took home gold at the 2016 Youth World Championships and bronze at the 2019 Pan American Games, trains at the DNA Level C boxing club in Lee-Harvard.
Though few locals are probably aware, Cleveland has become a powerhouse talent farm for elite young boxers. A Clevelander has represented the United States on four consecutive Olympic teams: Johnson follows Raynell Williams in 2008, Terrell Gausha in 2012, and Charles Conwell in 2016. If Johnson takes home the gold, he would be the first Cleveland boxer to do so since 1952, when flyweight Nate Brooks won the top medal in Finland.
Former Plain Dealer sports writer Branson Wright told Johnson's story in The Undefeated this week. (The "Tiger" nickname comes from a birthmark on his butt, Wright wrote, and was corroborated by his ferocity in the ring at an early age.)
Johnson's coaches and peers are confident in his talent and boxing IQ. But Johnson will nevertheless have his work cut out for him in Japan. He could face both of the welterweight division's favorites: Russia's Andrey Zamkovoy and Great Britain's Pat McCormack.
Subsequent rounds will be held on July 27, July 29 and Aug. 1, with the welterweight final on Aug. 3.
*** Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...