Q & A With WBA 126 Lb Champion Chris “The Dragon” John: Still Searching For Respect!
13.08.07 – By Tony Nobbs: Chris John is a champion still searching for respect. Even though the World Boxing Association Featherweight champion has an unbeaten 39-0-1, 20 KO’s record and holds victories over P4P star Juan Manuel Marquez and former world champion Derk Gainer, the little known and humble 27 year old Indonesian sits outside looking in as he goes about his business, widely ignored by the big names.
Chris turned professional in 1998, winning the Indonesian title in 1999 and the PABA in 2001. He had long been touted as a future champion by those in the know, even before he hit the world top ten.
This coming Sunday, August 19, in Kobe, Japan “The Dragon” makes the eighth defense of the belt he won in 2003 (split decision over Oscar Leon during the WBA Convention in Bali) against number six contender Zaiki Takemoto (21-6-1, 12 KO’s).
I spoke to Chris and trainer-manager Craig Christian, head of the very impressive Harry’s Gym in Perth, Western Australia, on Monday afternoon, as they were on their way to training. Here’s what they had to say.
Tony Pritchard – Nobbs: Chris, what do you know of your opponent?
Chris “The Dragon” John: He is strong. Big. I’m expecting a tough fight, he will have trained very hard, he is fighting in his home country. I have trained very hard too. It will be a great fight.
TN: How long have you been in Japan and how has it been?
CJ: I have been here for two weeks. There are not many English speaking people here. I have just been getting ready and I am looking forward to the fight.
TN: How many rounds and who have been boxing with in preparation?
CJ: I’ve done 120-130 rounds. I have been boxing a very strong fighter from Australia, Jackson Asiku (Commonwealth champion), also William Kickett) Australian 130 lb champ) and Joey De Ricardo from Indonesia.
TN: Who do you has been your toughest opponent?
CJ: Juan Manuel Marquez (March 2006).
TN: Would that have been your best fight?
TN: Where were you born?
CJ: Jakarta (14th September 1979).
TN: When did you start boxing training?
CJ: When I was five years old, maybe six. My father trained me, he taught me.
TN: What was your amateur background?
CJ: I only had about twenty fights. Not many. But I was always training. I did kung fu mostly when I was young.
TN: Who is your favorite fighter?
TN: Who do you think is the best P4P right now?
TN: You will be looking to get to number one…
CJ: I don’t think anyone can come near Mayweather now. I will try and go to number two.
Craig Christian: I think Chris is right up there. Boxrec have it right. They have us at number 4. I look at some ratings and we are not even in the top 20. We defeated Marquez and they all have him in the top 10! Chris is getting better. It won’t be long before people have to take notice of him.(The Ring rate J.M. Marquez number 3 without John, their featherweight number 1, in the top 10).
TN: I know you can’t look past Sunday but who would you want to fight in the future?
CJ: That is up to my manager. There are some big names I’d like to fight.
Craig Christian: Pacquaio, Marquez, Barrera, Rocky Juarez. Chris would love to fight in Las Vegas. We will like to have one fight at that weight (130) before fighting any of those guys other than Rocky Juarez. We would be very confident of beating any of those guys, we have already done it against Marquez. We will fight him there.
TN: Do you think you are ignored because you are a threat to the elite guys in those weights?
Craig Christian: Yes.
TN: Is there anything you want to say in closing to your fans?
CJ: Expect a great fight and thank you for supporting me.
Craig Christian: We really would like to thank Zainal Payab from the Mirah Silva Boxing Camp in Bali, he has looked after us. Every thing is paid for, our accommodation, our meals, he is a great guy and he has made us feel very welcome, treated us like champions.