Unbeaten ‘Dragon’ wins war in Singapore

Updated 10 November 2012
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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.


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 44 min 24 sec ago
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.