By JG Antara
The World Boxing Association’s featherweight super champion, Chris John, announced on Saturday that his next bout would be on March 31 in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, and will likely be a title unification showdown.
“We’re still in talks with the IBF [International Boxing Federation] featherweight champion Billy Dib and we really would like this bout to be staged,” said Fathan Rangkuti, of public relations firm Mahkota Promotion.
Mahkota Promotion has been promoting Chris’s two latest fights, including a unanimous win over Ukraine’s Stanyslav Merdov in Perth on Nov. 30.
The win Down Under was the 32-year-old Indonesian’s 15th title defending bout since winning it in an interim fight against Oscar Leon of Colombia in 2003.
Lots of boxing pundits have been saying that Chris, who’s never lost in 48 fights since turning professional in 1998, only fought weak opponents, such as the unheralded 35-year-old Merdov.
Fathan explained that Mahkota Promotion wanted Chris to silence those critics by fighting a champion from another boxing organization, such as the 26-year-old Australian Dib.
“Chris has been unbeaten in the WBA. So it’s natural for him to go a bit further by fighting other champions. That fight would define Chris as one of the best boxers in the world,” Fathan said.
However, he refused to discuss in detail the talks with Dib’s management.
Dib, who has 33 wins — 20 by knockout — and one loss, has made no secret of his eagerness to fight Chris, telling Australian Associated Press on Nov. 22 that the Indonesian champion was “scared” and “trying to get a payout.”
Early last month, the Daily Telegraph newspaper in Sydney reported that Dib, who defended his title with a first-round knockout of Italy’s Alberto Servidei on Nov. 19, was gunning for a unification bout against Chris.
Sampson Lekowicz, Chris’s fight advisor, put a hefty $700,000 price tag on the bout, $200,000 more than the Indonesian usually earns per fight.
Dib’s manager Michael Karagiannis told the newspaper that the fight had “a 70 percent chance” of happening.
Aside from Chris, Mahkota Promotion will also try to launch Indonesia’s other top boxer, Daud Yordan, onto the world scene.
Daud, who has been touted as the country’s next big thing, claimed the vacant International Boxing Organization Asia-Pacific featherweight belt with a fourth-round TKO defeat of US fighter Frankie Archuleta on Nov. 30.
Fathan said they were looking to have Daud fight for the WBA featherweight belt against reigning champion Celestino Caballero of Panama. “But we have yet to talk with Caballero’s management about the possibility of that fight.”