On November 9th Chris John (47-0-2) will make his 17th consecutive WBA world title defense against Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (44-0). Although both fighters are unbeaten with nearly the same amount of fights, John has fought professionally over 5 years longer and has faced a considerably higher level of opposition. Piriyapinyo, born Suriya Tatakhun, has previously never fought outside of Thailand but will travel to Singapore for his first opportunity at a world title against John.
Upon first glance most would write Tatakhun's chances of dethroning John completely off as just another protected fighter with a padded record stealing an opportunity from real contenders who came up the right way. But it's not as if Tatakhun is completely inexperienced against respectable opposition. Tatakhun has defeated former world champion Yoddamrong Sithyodthong twice and Ryuta Miyagi (who's also beaten Sithyodthong and future world champion Ryol Li Lee). Did Tatakhun defeat these men in the twilight of their careers? Of course he did. But that's just how the game is played... Besides, Chris John's 8-9 year title defense streak does eventually have to come to an end, right?
While 17 is indeed currently the longest world title defense streak in boxing, it's technically not of the same title. Unfortunately after Chris John vs Rocky Juarez 1, which appeared to be a clear John win despite the official ruling of a draw, the WBA opted to elevate John to "super" champion status and Yuriorkis Gamboa from interim to "regular". Therefore, technically, John is only making his 6th consecutive defense of the "super" title after 11 defenses of the "regular" title. To make matters worse the WBA also elevated Gamboa to the same "super" champion status from 2010-2011. This lead to John and Gamboa, somehow, someway, defending the exact same title less than 1 month apart in the 1st half of 2011. But I digress... In any event, all you Wladimir Klitschko fans out there can proudly celebrate that his 13th consecutive defense of the IBF title against Mariusz Wach, which ironically takes place the day after John- Piriyapinyo, is today's longest active defense streak of the same world title.
Wrapping things up, I don't truly believe Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo has much of a chance of beating Chris John. Toni Priatna, an assistant at the gym where John trains, probably feels the same way. Priatna said, "He [Piriyapinyo] might have never fought a world [class] boxer," according to the Antara news agency. While Priatna might not be right about that, I fully expect "The Dragon" to improve his outlandish record to 48-0-2 regardless. *Freddie Russo, eat your heart out.
*Freddie Russo was a featherweight contender in the 1940s. In 1945 he defeated former world champion Jackie Wilson and was rated as the 7th best featherweight in the world by Ring Magazine for that year. Despite losing his very next fight against the #1 rated fighter of the division (Sal Bartolo) under champion Willie Pep, Russo had already managed to extend his unbeaten streak all the way to 47-0-2.