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Unbeaten ‘Dragon’ wins war in Singapore

SINGAPORE: Unbeaten Indonesian Chris “The Dragon” John came through a furious test against Thailand’s Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo to extend his nine-year reign as World Boxing Association featherweight champion yesterday.
John, 33, was down in the ninth round and was left reeling by an intense last-round assault by the Thai, but was awarded a unanimous points decision for the 17th successful defense of a title he has held since 2003.
The result at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands kept John undefeated in 50 fights — 48 wins and two draws — while former kick boxer Chonlatarn, 27, was handed his first ever loss in his 45th professional bout.
“My opponent was very tough. I tried hard to punch him to the body and the head but he kept moving and persevering,” said John.
The champion entered the ring to his own theme song and he was quickly into his stride with some strong body-blows in the second round, and started dropping his guard and show-boating as early as the third.
But Chonlatarn was landing shots of his own and he rocked the champion in a bruising sixth round, with the rattled John resorting to a blow to the back of the head and a low punch near the kidneys.
It had turned into a battle and as both fighters swung wildly, Chonlatarn connected with a right that dropped John at end of the ninth round — although the Indonesian indicated he slipped.
John regained his composure and came back strongly, but he was left hanging on by a barrage of punching in the final round as Chonlatarn searched for the knock-out. The judges scored it 117-111, 119-109, 119-109 for the champion.
Earlier Indonesia’s Daud Yordan also won a hard-earned unanimous points decision against British-based Mongolian Choijiljavyn Tseveenpurev to defend his International Boxing Organization world featherweight title.
Daud, 25, looked troubled by the man 16 years his senior but he showed his class with some powerful shots in the final round to take it 117-111, 119-110, 118-110 and successfully defend the belt he won in Singapore in May.
Daud, who lost to John in April last year, improved his record to 30 wins, two defeats and one no-contest.