By JG Antara
Chris John arrived in Singapore on Wednesday ahead of his May 5 title defense.
The World Boxing Association featherweight super champion will defend his crown against Shoji Kimura of Japan at the city-state’s Marina Bay Sands resort.
Chris, dubbed “The Dragon,” spent the last two months training at Harry’s Gym in Perth, Australia, with his coach and manager, Craig Christian.
“I’ve been doing most of the training in Perth. I’m 80 percent ready for the fight,” the 32-year-old boxer told the Jakarta Globe in a telephone text message on Wednesday. “I will continue my training here but it’ll be mostly conditioning, while trying to adapt to the weather and everything here in Singapore.
“I’m also trying to lose a bit of weight to reach the ideal weight for the bout.”
It will be the 16th title defense for arguably the greatest fighter Indonesia has ever produced. He won the WBA featherweight title in 2003, beating Oscar Leon of Colombia in Bali.
The Dragon is undefeated since turning professional in 1998, amassing 46 wins, including 22 knockouts, and 2 draws.
Chris currently holds the record for the WBA’s longest title reign in any division. If he beats Kimura, Chris will get closer to Eusebio Pedroza’s record for featherweight title defenses.
The Panamanian boxer defended his belt 19 times, between 1978 and 1985.
The Dragon, who’s been saying that he’ll fight for another three years, is confident that he will be able to beat his 34-year-old Japanese opponent.
“I’m so ready to beat him,” Chris said. “I’ve been watching videotape of his previous bouts and I don’t think he’s a strong boxer who can stand my punches. I’ve learned that his weakness is in the abdominal area. I’ll try to knock him out.”
Despite his long reign as the WBA featherweight champion, Chris’s last knockout win was a 10th-round TKO over Australian Tommy Browne in 2005.
Kimura (24-4-2) has spent the majority of his career at the super-bantamweight level. In his only title fight, he was knocked out in the fourth round by Thailand’s Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym in 2010.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Daud Yordan, who will fight on the undercard of Chris’s bout, said he would travel to Singapore on Sunday for the fight.
Daud will be trying to capture the International Boxing Organization’s vacant featherweight title when he faces Lorenzo Villanueva of the Philippines.
“My focus right now is on losing weight. I’m now at 58 kilograms, just a kilogram over the limit, so that won’t be a problem,” said the West Kalimantan native, who lost to Chris in his first attempt at a world title last year.
Tags: Chris John