TOKYO, Japan — Cleveland boxer Delante "Tiger" Johnson won his opening fight at the Tokyo Olympics in the Welterweight Division early Saturday morning (EST) in a round of 32, defeating Argentina's Brian Arregui.
Johnson's victory was a split decision 3-2 with scores of 29-28 on three scoreboards.
The 22-year-old boxer now advances in the tournament with his next fight set for 4:15 a.m. EST Tuesday, July 27 against Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan.
EXPANDED COVERAGE | Tokyo Olympics
"Right after Charles Conwell finished, it was up to me to be the next Olympian," Johnson told 3News before the Olympics began. "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."
Johnson started boxing at the age of 7.
It's been almost 70 years since a Cleveland boxer won a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Johnson is hoping to match the achievement of Nate Brooks in 1952.
"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."
Johnson also told 3News he's proud to be representing Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
3News talked with Delante after he won his fight Saturday morning:
"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. 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."
Watch our extended interview with "Tiger" Johnson: