By James Goyder
Chris John is undefeated in 50 fights and has been a world champion for an entire decade. The Indonesian is one of the greatest boxers to ever emerge from the South East Asian region and he will be returning to Jakarta, where his unbeaten run first began, to face Satoshi Hosono later this month.
The 33 year old will be making the seventh defence of his WBA Super World Featherweight Title against the hard hitting Japanese fighter and this bout will be the main event of a Dragon Fire Promotions card at the Bung Karno Stadium on April 14th.
John, whose record stands at 48-0-2, has been fighting in Singapore and Australia of late but says he is excited to be back competing in the city where his boxing career began back in 1998,
“I can’t wait, I love fighting in Indonesia in front of my family and friends!”
He first became a world champion in 2003, beating Oscar Leon by split decision to win the Interim WBA World Featherweight Title. He has held a belt ever since but complications occurred in 2009 when his fight with Rocky Juarez was controversially scored a draw.
After that the WBA deemed fit to take away his regular world title and replace it with a ‘super world title’ which is the belt he holds to this day. It is the sort of technicality which, unfortunately, is all too common in boxing due to the litany of sanctioning bodies and belts but John simply went back to doing what he does best in the rematch, beating Juarez by clear cut unanimous decision.
That was the last time he fought in the US and there has been some suggestion that the judging in the first bout with Juarez put him off plying his trade outside of Asia but John says that he does not pick and choose where his fights take place,
“I leave that up to my management, I’m ready for anyone and I fight wherever my management tell me to fight.”
The most notable name on John’s stellar CV is Juan Manuel Marquez who he beat back in 2006. The Mexican has since gone on to become one of the most recognizable boxers in the world, stopping Manny Pacquiao in his most recent outing, and ‘The Dragon’ confirmed he would definitely be in the market for a rematch,
“I have beaten Marquez once and I will beat him again. I want that fight, I am a much better boxer and I have more speed and skill than Marquez,” he said.
Despite being named as the ‘WBA Boxer of the Decade’ and establishing himself as one of the most dominant featherweights in the history of the sport John does not enjoy the same sort of international reputation as Marquez or Pacquiao, possibly because the multi million dollar marquee fights in Las Vegas have continued to elude him.
He remains one of the biggest draws in Asia and attracted big crowds for two title defences at the Marina Bay Sands Resort in Singapore last year. The most recent saw him outpoint undefeated Thai boxer Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, who was 44-0 at the time, in a fight which John feels definitely gave the fans their money’s worth,
“Piriyapinyo was a tough, tough fighter and that fight was a war. Satoshi Hosono is a great fighter too, a very dangerous boxer and a big puncher and I must be at the top of my game when I fight him,” he said.
Hosono has challenged unsuccessfully for a world title twice before and will be looking to make it third time lucky on April 14th. The Japanese boxer has a record of 23-2 with 17 stoppage wins and John says he has a lot of respect for his opponent’s punching power,
“He never stops attacking and is a big puncher, ‘Bazooka Hosono’ is very dangerous. I have great respect for all Japanese boxers, they are warriors but we have been preparing long and hard for everything so as long as we stick to the game plan we won’t have a problem,” he said.
John is originally from Banjarnegara but now calls Semarang home. However when there is serious boxing business at hand he heard to Australia to prepare and is there at the moment putting in last minute preparations to face his Japanese foe,
“I just come to Perth for my training camps because Harry’s Gym is the best gym in the world and I can work with sparring partners like Matty Garlett, Willie Kickett, Brandon Ogilvie and Jackson Asiku,” he said.
John’s compatriot Daud Yordan, who he defeated 2011, will be defending his IBO Featherweight Title on the same card and Indonesia is one of the Asian boxing powerhouses at present alongside Japan, the Philippines and Thailand. John feels the future of the sport is very bright in his homeland and lists four fighters who fans should look out for in the future,
“Boxing is on all the time in Indonesia, it is very popular. There are a few guys to look out for such as Sahlan Coral, Heri Amol, Rasmanudin and Yohannes Yordan.”
All four will be in action at the Bung Karno Stadium so, while John is surely coming towards the end of his career, there might be a chance to get a glimpse of the next Indonesian world champion.
John’s place in the annals of boxing history is secure and there has been talk of retirement but the 33 year old is not ready to hang up his gloves just yet and as he approaches the 51st fight of his career he has the following message for any challengers waiting in the wings,
“I am ready to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime.”