Delante “Tiger” Johnson accomplished his mission Saturday night.
The 24-year-old junior welterweight prospect became the first fighter to stop Harry Gigliotti inside the distance in their non-televised bout on the Jose Pedraza-Richard Commey undercard at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Johnson (5-0, 4 KOs), a 2021 U.S. Olympian from Cleveland, battered and bloodied the game Gigliotti until referee Mark Nelson determined during a completely one-sided fifth round that Gigliotti had taken too much punishment.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:17 of the fifth round.
Gigliotti (8-4, 3 KOs), of Haverhill, Massachusetts, remarkably remained on his feet throughout their bout, despite that he took a lot of punishing power punches. It was clear very early in their fight, though, that Johnson would be entirely too strong and skillful for him.
The durable Gigliotti might’ve made it all six rounds had Nelson not saved him from himself.
Multiple left hands by Johnson made Gigliotti hold him tightly 50 seconds into the fifth round. Johnson’s right hand knocked Gigliotti into the ropes and then caused him to literally run away from Johnson, who caught up to him and landed two left hands that made Nelson step between them and end their fight.
Johnson battered Gigliotti throughout the fourth round, which made Nelson take close looks at Gigliotti’s bloodied face several times.
A hard left hook by Johnson knocked Gigliotti off balance with just under a minute on the clock in the fourth round. Johnson also caught Gigliotti with a hard right to the body that made Gigliotti wince with just under 20 seconds to go in that round.
Gigliotti countered Johnson with a left hook a few seconds after the halfway point of the third round. A right uppercut by Johnson made Gigliotti cover up with 45 seconds on the clock in the third round.
Johnson nailed Gigliotti with a right hand 1:05 into the second round. He continued to land punishing punches, including a right-left combination that made Gigliotti’s nose bleed with just under a minute to go in the second round.
A left hook by Johnson knocked Gigliotti backward with just over 30 seconds to go in the opening round. Johnson nailed Gigliotti with a right hand just prior to the midway mark of the first round.
Gigliotti showed no reluctance to trade with Johnson in those first three minutes, but Johnson landed the harder punches with regularity.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.