Ex-world Boxing champ Chris John retires after 48-1-3 run

With eighteen successful defenses of his WBA Featherweight Championship strap to his credit, Indonesia’s Boxing icon, Chris John, announced his retirement from the sport on Thursday.

Just two weeks ago, John’s exquisite winning streak was halted by IBO champ Simpiwe Vetyeka in what was widely considered a huge upset. That sixth round stoppage defeat also marked his first loss in over fifty professional Boxing contests, whilst also putting a dent in his hopes of equaling Eusebio Pedroza’s division record of 19 title defenses of a 126-lbs world title.

The 34-year-old was a decorated champion for over a decade. He announced his retirement on Thursday in a ceremony carried on national television in Indonesia.

“Now that I have achieved more than I have ever dreamt of in my career, I would like to formally announce my retirement,” John said at the ceremony, which took place at a local Indonesian network TV studio. “I would like to give back to the sport of boxing, which has been so good to me and given me and my family a better life, and continue to represent Indonesia as best as I can.”

“Most importantly, now I will spend time with my wife and children,” he added. “The most important title I have held in my life is father.”

Chris John’s stellar career spanned for more than ten years, in which he was involved in multiple title match-ups. He spent his entire tenure in the Boxing scene as a Featherweight, and was undefeated right up until his stoppage defeat two weeks ago.

During the retirement speech, John also recalled the toughest challenger of his career – a contest with Muhammad Alfaridzi back in 1999.

“I was 20 years old, fighting Muhammad Alfaridzi at the Indosiar Studio in Jakarta in July 1999. It was for [the Indonesian] national featherweight title,” John said. “I was knocked down two times in Round 1 and I had my nose broken in Round 1, and had massive bleeding. But I would never let this opportunity pass. As my father taught me, success is when opportunity meets preparation, and I was well prepared, and in the 12th round, I knew I had the opportunity for the KO and had no [other] option because so much blood was coming from my nose.”

And the biggest win of the 34-year-old’s career came in 2006 when he topped Mexican hot-shot Juan Manuel Marquez in Indonesia. Marquez and his team disputed the decision, although all three judges scored in favor of John.

“My most famous victory was against Juan Manuel Marquez, this happened in 2006 in Tengarrong,” John said. “Not many people give me a chance to win this one but all my preparation at Harrys Gym made this possible.”

Under the guidance of Sampson Lewkowicz and Craig Christian, John went on to face notables Derrick Gainer, Rocky Juarez and Daud Cino Yordan. Although he would have very much liked to have retired undefeated, John will still go down in the history books as one of the best Boxers to ever come out of the South East region.

“My trainer, Craig Christian, he has been like a second father to me,” he said. “His knowledge and wisdom has taught me so much. Every time I fought, I feel like he is in the ring with me. From Craig I learned my three D’s — dedication, discipline and determination. Sampson Lewkowicz, from Las Vegas, he has guided my career, and I cannot thank him enough. Craig gave him the name ‘Picasso’ because in boxing he is a legendary artist.

I did my best to attempt to equal the record of 19 WBA world featherweight title defenses but lost. But that’s boxing. You cannot win all the time.

Thank you to all my team, its because I have such great support that I achieved so much thank you. Thank you Indonesia.”

*Picture credit: Dragon Fire Championship Boxing

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Thinesh John is a Singapore-based MMA journalist. You can check out some of his work over on MMASucka.com. Follow him (@ThineshJohnMMA), and be sure keep up with the latest Asian Boxing news from FightSportAsia.com on Twitter (@FightSportAsia) and Facebook

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Categories: Boxing, Indonesia

Author:Thinesh John

20, Asian MMA nerd in Singapore.

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