When we talk about national boxing hero's few people rival the legendary Manny Pacquiao, and what he's done for the Philippines has been massive. One of the few who perhaps did rival Pacquiao in terms of what he meant to his homeland was Chris John, who really was a massive star in Indonesia. Indonesia, unlike the Philippines, doesn't have the strong boxing background, but John was a massive boxing hero in the country and helped bring attention to The Emerald of Equator.
Although widely viewed by those in the west as a stay at home champion, holding the WBA title hostage John's career saw him travel numerous times to defend his title. In fact he would defend his belt 3 times in Japan, 3 times in Australia, twice in the US and twice in Singapore.
Whilst we suspect most fans have seen his two bouts with Rocky Juarez in the US, there is a lot that we don't expect fans to know about "The Dragon", so today we bring you getting the 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Chris John
1-Chris John is the second older of 4 siblings born to Johan Tjahjadi, aka Tjia Foek Sem, and Maria Warsini.
2-John's father, Johan Tjahjadi was himself a former boxer, albeit an amateur boxer, and was the trainer for both Chris and his younger brother.
3-According to some reports in 1999, when John fought Muhammad Alfaridzi, the future world champion was in bad physical condition. Not only did he suffer a broken nose during the bout but he has also, reportedly, discussed the fact that he was suffering from headaches brought on by vertigo through the bout.
4-Whilst it's well known that John is one of only 4 Indonesian world champions, along with Elly Pical, Nico Thomas and Muhammad Rachman he does hold a few notables from his reign. He's not only the longest reigning Indonesian world champion, in terms of length of reign and defenses, but he's also the only one to defend a world title against a fellow Indonesian (Daud Yordan), and successfully defend outside of Asia (USA and Australia). In fact he's the only one to successfully defend the title in any country other than Indonesia and Singapore, where Pical also racked up a defense.
5-In 2005 John married former Wushu competitor Anna Maria Megawati. Interestingly John was himself very good at Wushu and won a gold medal at the 1997 South East Asian Games, as well as winning several medals on the domestic scene.
6-In a recent interview John admitted a lack of hobbies, stating that his most common hobby is eating, along with running and cycling.
7-Due to John's fame in Indonesia he has featured in a number of advertising campaigns, including campaigns for energy drinks and an anti-HIV campaign.
8-It's not just adverts and commercial's that John has been in but also a movie! The former boxer was featured in Indonesian action film "Triangle the Dark Side", released in 2016.
9-In 2019 John was appointed to a position within the Komite Olahraga Nasional Indonesia (KONI), the national sports body of Indonesia. The position was "Deputy IV Chairperson of the Field of Foreign Cooperation, Media and Public Relations."
10-Also in 2019 John took part in a fights with NTT governor Viktor B Laiskodat and Imam Nahrawi, a Minister in Indonesia. Although these were both years after John's last fight it was clear he still had the skills and sharpness, even if he was well out of shape in both of them. We've included footage of both these exhibitions below.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect former Korean world champion Seung Hoon Lee to Indonesian great Chris John.
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-Although not one of the more well known Korean world champion Seung Hoon Lee was a genuine talent, who had a 12 year career stretching from 1977 to 1989, and unlike many Korean fighters from the era actually managed a long career, with 52 professional bouts including 6 world title bouts. He won his world title, the IBF Super Bantamweight title, in 1987, when he beat Prayurasak Muangsurin.
2-Prayurasak Muangsurin had actually lost a previous world title bout, before losing to Lee. That was an IBF Super Flyweight world title bout Ju Do Chun.
3-Although not too well known now a days Ju Do Chun was the inaugural IBF Super Flyweight champion. He had won the title in 1987, when he beat Ken Kasugai in Japan at the Osaka Jo Hall. As the same card as Chun's title win was the debut of Shinobu Kawashima.
4-Shinobu Kawashima is the little remembered brother of the excellent Hiroshi Kawashima, who went on to win the WBC Super Flyweight title in the 1990's and ran up 6 defenses in the mid to late 1990's.
5-Hiroshi Kawashima fought out of the Yonekura Gym under the guidance of Kenji Yonekura, and originally he had a style comparable to that of fellow Yonekura gym fighter Hideyuki Ohashi.
6-In 2013 Hideyuki Ohashi managed fighter Satoshi Hosono challenged the then WBA Featherweight "Super" champion Chris John, with the two men fighting to a technical draw, in what was John's final successful defense and Hosono's final world title bout.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect a former Thai world champion to a former Japanese world, as we connect Indonesian boxing great Chris John to multi-time Thai world title challenger Terdsak Kokietgym.
J1ust as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-Indonesian fighter Chris John is arguably the most significant fighter from the country. Although he was only a 1-time world champion, unlike Elly Pical who was a 3 time champion and Muhammad Rachman who was twice a world champion, he had the longest reign, most world title defenses and most significant single reign. In fact comparing his reign of the WBA Featherweight title to the other reigns by Indonesian fighters is pretty unfair given how much stronger John's reign was. Before he won a world title John had a number of wins of note, the most notable of which was his 2002 win over Ratanachai Sor Vorapin.
2-Following his loss to John in 2002 Ratanachai Sor Vorapin went on to win the WBO Bantamweight champion. He won the title in 2004, when he beat Cruz Carbajal, and would lose it in his second defense, to Jhonny Gonzalez in October 2005. Gonzalez would himself lose the title to Gerry Penalosa.
3-The Penalosa name is one of the most iconic in Filipino boxing, and Gerry was one of three fighting brothers, from the second generation of the family to fight. Gerry, along with Dodie Boy and Jonathan were all sons of Carl Penalosa, who fought in the 1960's.
4-Whilst Carl Penalosa wasn't as successful as some of the fighters that followed in his footsteps, including Gerry and Dodie Boy, he was actually a pretty solid fighter in his day, despite what he records states. Notably he defeated future world champion Pedro Adigue Jr for the Filipino Lightweight title in 1963. Whilst he lost it in his first defense, in a rematch with Adigue, that was a big win, and one that now, almost 60 years later, stands out as a great win.
5-Now, years on from Penalosa's reign, the current Filipino Lightweight champion is Roldan Aldea, who has held the title since 2018 and has defended the title twice. Although not a star Aldea is certainly an interesting fighter and someone who has proven to be an upset minded boxer-puncher, as we saw last year when he stopped Mikhail Alexeev.
6-In 2015 Roldan Aldea made his international debut, and lost in 4 rounds to multi-time world title challenger Terdsak Kokietgym. Although he never won a world title Terdsak did challenge the likes of Takahiro Ao and Steve Luevano for full versions of world titles and battled Juan Manuel Marquez and Orlando Salido for interim titles in a 14 year, 68 fight career.
Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0, 8) is a fighter who widely splits opinion. If you listen to HBO, Ring Magazine or even Bob Arum you'd assume that Rigondeaux was as boring as listening to paint dry.
If you listen to fans of "the sweet science" however, Rigondeaux is generally seen as a supremely gifted fighter who has the ability to make good fighters look ordinary and ordinary fighters look garbage.
Sure he may not have the most exciting bouts fight after fight but one thing about Rigondeaux we can all agree on is that he's a special boxer. Not necessary a great fighter but clearly the top Super Bantamweight on the planet right now.
Unfortunately despite being the clear #1 at 122lbs it seems unlikely that HBO will willingly cover his next bout. With that in mind we started to wonder, what is next for the main who beat "The Filipino Flash" Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20)?
Our conclusion was that "El Jackal" would be best off looking to the East for his next fight, as a number of top Super Bantamweights ply their trade over there, in fact there is so many match ups that Ringondeaux could be looking at if he traveled to either Macau or Japan that his career for the next few years could be as busy as he wanted it to be.
The most logical option, if Rigondeaux does look for a fight in the Orient, would be against former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (33-4, 15).
Hasegawa would almost certainly love a chance to claim a third divisional title, he has the ability to draw a crowd and is still, despite losses in recent years, seen as one of the top Japanese fighters.
In terms of the fight it's self Hasegawa would not only bring some TV money and a crowd but also speed, in fact he may be the only fighter at 122lbs who can match Rigondeaux for pure hand speed. His style should actually suit Rigondeaux's counter punching and whilst we could get a chess match it would certainly be a high speed and exciting one with both men having questionable chins.
Incidentally a Hasegawa victory over Rigondeaux would see him fulfilling one of his future goals in becoming a unified champion.
If a fight with Hasegawa couldn't be made for whatever reason there is a trio of Teiken fighters who would all likely be willing to fill a slot with the Cuban.
Firstly you have former WBA champion Akifumi Shimoda (27-3-2, 12), who's highly ranked by both the WBA and WBO. Shimoda certainly wouldn't be given much of a chance by the boxing public but he is known by US fans and could well serve as a supposed "stay busy fight" for the Cuban.
Secondly you have Yasutaka Ishimoto (22-6, 5), pictured, who has been on a recent Bob Arum promoted Macau show, where he scored a notable upset defeating former world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Ishimoto is ranked highly by the WBO and whilst he's unlikely to put up a great challenge he's a fighter who knows that a win would open up major paydays.
The final Teiken option would be Shinsuke Yamanaka (19-0-2, 14), the current WBC Bantamweight champion. Of course Yamanaka would have to move up a division for the bout but Rigondeaux himself is a small Super Bantamweight. Although this is the least likely of the "Teiken Trio" it would certainly be a fight that would have fans across the globe very interested, arguably more so than the Hasegawa bout mentioned above.
Aside from the 4 men mentioned above there is other options, in fact there is really huge selection of options.
One possibility would be Shingo Wake (14-4-2, 7), the current OPBF champion. Of course Wake has a bout with Filipino Jhunriel Ramonal lined up for October, though after that a Rigondeaux bout would likely be his dream contest for early 2014.
In terms of mass attention, perhaps the only fight in Japan that would be bigger than a Yamanaka/Rigondeaux contest would be Rigondeaux against Koki Kameda (31-1, 17). Unfortunately this is likely to be a total no-no for Kameda who has been selective with opponents and would need to step up both a weight class and an opposition class. Saying that though the attention this bout would get, with Kameda looking for a fourth divisional title would be massive.
Of course it's not just Japan that has options and in fact Indonesia has a very, very interesting option, as long as Rigondeaux himself is willing to move up a division.
A bout between Rigondeaux and Chris John (48-0-3, 22) in Jakarta or even Singapore, at Featherweight would be massive.Sure this is a highly unlikely bout but there would be major interest from fans across the globe wondering if Rigodeaux could compete at 126lbs and wondering if Chris John can genuinely beat a world level fighter.
Unfortunately this bout really does have a number of stumbling blocks. Not only would money be an issue, or venue but also the dreaded "Golden Boy/Top Rank" rivalry which has already denied up a number of bouts.
One thing is for certain, despite what Bob Arum and HBO seem to think, there are fights out there for Rigondeaux that can draw a real interest and there are options out there. Hopefully it's not long before Arum realises he can send Rigondeaux out to Macau or Singapore and try to capitalise on the busy Asian scene.
If Rigondeaux's next fight isn't in the East, it's fair to say Arum has missed a trick.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).