Weighing in: Indonesia’s Chris John (left), Thailand’s Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo and fight promoter Raja Sapta Oktohari (center) pose after a weighing-in session at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, on Thursday in advance of Chris’ WBA featherweight title defense on Friday night. (Antara/Yudhi Mahatma)
WBA super featherweight champion Chris John of Indonesia will face yet another true test in his boxing career when he takes on Thai Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo in the “Battle of the Undefeated” at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, on Friday.
Piriyapinyo’s potential onslaught is exemplified by his formidable record, in which he remains undefeated in 44 fights, with 27 wins coming by way of KO. His achievement has earned him the nickname of Crimson Tide. Age could possibly be an advantage for the Thai, who is the current WBC Asian champion, reveling at the age of 27, while Chris is 33-years-old.
However, the Indonesian champion, who is undefeated in 49 fights with 22 KO wins and two draws, expressed his preparedness for the mission to defend his belt for the 17th time.
“We have been preparing well so far. Hopefully, it works as expected,” he said during the weigh-in ceremony at the Marina Bay Convention Center.
“We have worked out all training programs and I’m more optimistic about tomorrow’s fight,” he said.
The title contest, which has been tagged the Dragon Fire World Boxing Championship, taking after his nickname “The Dragon”, falls ahead of Nov. 10, which is celebrated as the Heroes National Day back home.
When reminded about the occasion, Chris said he was keen to deliver a win as a gift to the nation.
The weigh-in ceremony was conducted in such a way that it looked like the real beginning of a fight with Chris John being introduced by notable ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Junior as the super featherweight world champion and hailed as the legendary and future Hall of Famer.
Piriyapinyo was made to wait on stage having already made his weigh-in.
Accompanied by trainer Craig Christian and other entourage members, Chris John jogged down the escalator into the Skating Rink.
Chris acknowledged the audience, made up of event organizers, members from both camps and the media. He took off his shirt and training trunks before embarking on the scale.
He weighed-in at 57.1 kilograms, almost 1 kilogram heavier than his opponent.
The two boxers were placed face-to-face and posed fists-up for the cameras. The Indonesian looked fiercely into the eyes of his opponent, displaying his impatience to let his punches do the talking in the ring.
Talking to Indonesian reporters, Christian predicted a KO win by his protégé, saying that the opponent’s belly would be his pitfall.
“Chris John will keep his distance with his long jabs while trying to find good time for a blow,” he said.
It is the second title defense mission in the island-state by Chris following a successful bout against Japanese Shoji Kimura in May, which also saw another Indonesian, Daud Yordan, win his IBO featherweight title over Philippines’ Lorenzo Villanueva.
Daud will also defend his title in Friday’s contest for the first time, while for Chris, it will be his 17th defense since he was first crowned interim champion after beating Oscar Leon in Bali in 2003.
His success to surpass number 10 in titled defense has prompted the WBA to elevate his state as the super featherweight champion.
Meanwhile, Daud will line up his IBO world featherweight title against England-based Mongolian Choijiljavyn “Choi” Tseveenpurev.
Brother and trainer Damianus believed Daud had shaped up well following intensified preparation that included a five-month workout in the jungle of West Kalimantan.
“He is the champion from the jungle. We are keen to prove that the boxer born out of the woods is better than the one built up scientifically,” he said.
He signaled a stoppage inside the rounds, though he stopped short of expressing it literally. Instead, he wrapped up his ambitions under what he referred to as a “sensation”.
“As a boxer, Daud has made an achievement. Now, it’s his chance to further prove his championship value. The sensation is that if he can knock out his opponent,” he said.
“He does have the potent weapon. It depends on if he unleashes it at the right time,” he said.
Also on the cards in Friday’s contest will be Muhammad Meeraj (Malaysia)–Kim Jae-chan (South Korea) in heavyweight, Qui Xiao Jun (China)–Kim Hwi-jong (Korea) in featherweight, Yao Yi Ma (Taiwan)–Yosuke Kirima (Japan) in junior middleweight, Mohamad Nor Rizan (Singapore)–Wang Xin Hua (China) in super bantamweight.