By Wimbo Satwiko
With his next bout fast approaching, Chris John has stepped up his training as he prepares to defend his crown for the 16th time.
The World Boxing Association featherweight super champion, who will face unheralded Shoji Kimura of Japan at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on May 5, has been training at Harry’s Gym in Perth, Australia.
As autumn settles in Australia, Chris has been working out in the early evenings over the past two weeks with trainer Craig Christian.
The 32-year-old fighter, dubbed “The Dragon,” said he needed to improve his physical condition given it had been four months since his last bout, a unanimous decision victory over Ukrainian Stanyslav Merdov in Perth.
“I’m still in the middle of my physical regime. I need to regain my physical condition,” Chris said. “I still don’t know what my trainer’s program for me is in the upcoming weeks, but I think we’ll start sparring sessions on Monday.”
Chris has 46 wins, 22 by KO, no losses and two draws, but has not knocked out an opponent since 2005. He has said he is aiming for a KO victory over Kimura.
Looking at Kimura’s record, Chris said there was a good chance for a KO win. During a press conference in Jakarta on March 8, he even showed reporters a special punch, called “The Dragon Fist,” which he said could end the KO drought.
The 34-year-old Kimura, whose record stands at 24-4-2, has spent the majority of his career at super-bantamweight. In his only title fight, against Thailand’s Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym in 2010, he was knocked out in the fourth round.
However, Chris said that he respected his opponent and wouldn’t take victory for granted. “I already saw one of his fights on YouTube, when he fought Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym. I know he lost, but I still have to prepare myself the best I can,” he said.
Chris took the belt against Oscar Leon in Bali in 2003. Kimura is the fourth Japanese boxer to try to take Chris’s belt since then, after Osamu Sato, Zaiki Takemoto and Hiroyuki Enoki all fell to the Indonesian Dragon.