Unbeaten Indonesian boxing hero Chris John defended his WBA world featherweight title for the 16th time with a 12-round defeat of Japanese challenger Shoji Kimura on Saturday.
“The Dragon” rarely looked in danger of relinquishing his eight-year grip on the World Boxing Association (WBA) crown, despite being briefly put on the back foot in the seventh round by Kimura.
John recovered well and dominated the remaining rounds to emerge with a unanimous 118-109, 118-109 and 117-110 victory, delighting a 4,000-strong partisan crowd at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands arena.
John, who has faced calls to fight more often outside of Asia, where he has a huge fan base, now moves to 47 wins, including 22 knockouts and two draws. Kimura falls to 24-5-2, with nine wins within the distance.
Hard-hitting Kimura had promised a tough fight, but was little match for John’s crisp boxing and effective punching. However, he earned warm praise from the Indonesian champion.
“I tried my best ... Kimura is the toughest boxer from Japan I have ever fought,” the jubilant John, 32, said.
On the undercard, Indonesia’s Daud Yordan stunned the Philippines’ Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villaneuva with a second round technical knockout to take home the vacant IBO featherweight belt.
The fight referee was forced to award the fight to Yordan after Villanueva appeared visibly dazed 66 seconds into the second round, reeling from quickfire knockdowns by the Indonesian.
AP, ERFURT, GERMANY
German cruiserweight Marco Huck retained his WBO title against British challenger Ola Afolabi by the narrowest of margins, a draw by majority decision on Saturday.
In a rematch of Huck’s first defense of the title he won from Victor Emilio Ramirez in 2009, Afolabi had the better of the opening rounds, but Huck somehow recovered.
Both fighters gave everything in the final round, when exhaustion prevented either from delivering the telling blow.
Judges Paul Thomas of Britain and Ingo Barrabas of Germany scored it 114-114, while Nelson Vazquez of Puerto Rico awarded it 115-113 in favor of the defending champion.
Huck was back at cruiserweight level after losing to Alexander Povetkin for the WBA heavyweight belt in February.