Chris John successfully defended his WBA featherweight title for the 17th time on Friday in Singapore, as the Indonesian great beat Thailand's Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo on unanimous decision scores of 117-111, 119-109, and 119-109.
John (48-0-2, 22 KO) was able to use a quick start and a strong finish to dictate much of the bout, though Piriyapinyo (44-1, 27 KO) certainly had his moments in the middle rounds of an entertaining bout. The 33-year-old John found himself up against a hungry, competitive, younger foe, who proved his own unbeaten record certainly wasn't all hand-picked opponents and easy fights, either. In the end, Chris John was simply again the better fighter, as he has been for his 14-year pro career.
At this point with John, I think a few things are clear. He is, at the very least, an extremely good fighter. This is a guy with a win over Juan Manuel Marquez -- and even if you think Marquez deserved the win that night, I have a hard time calling it a robbery, and it was quite competitive -- and has proven himself when there have been doubts.
Sure, it would be nice if John were in the States fighting guys like Yuriorkis Gamboa, Orlando Salido, Mikey Garcia, etc., and maybe he would lose some of those fights. But maybe he wouldn't.
Past his prime, he's still going pretty damn strong, and he deserves to be seen as one of the best boxers in the world. Adviser Sampson Lewkowicz commented after the fight about his pride in working with John over the years.
"Chris John is a force of nature. A fighter for the history books," said Lewkowicz. "He is 33 and still dominating fighters who come in at 44-0. I am honored to be working with him and I send him my warmest regards for his outstanding performance."
In the show's co-feature, fellow Indonesian Daud Yordan beat Mongolia by way of Manchester, England's, Choi Tseveenpurev by unanimous decision, retaining his minor IBO featherweight belt. Scores were 117-111, 118-110, and 119-110.
It was a mostly one-sided fight in Yordan's favor, but Tseveenpurev showed his toughness in hanging around and making Yordan earn the win the whole way. Yordan (30-2, 23 KO) is a top ten type featherweight himself, with his only losses coming to John and Celestino Caballero, and you may recall he was giving Robert Guerrero a brief scare back in 2009, before Guerrero pulled the plug on himself due to a cut in the second round.
Tseveenpurev, now 41 and still tougher than a two dollar steak, falls to 36-6 (24).