Local fight fans will have to wait a little longer to see Chris John’s first bout on Indonesian soil since 2008.
The fight between Chris (43-0-2), the World Boxing Association featherweight super champion, and Argentine Fernando Saucedo (38-4-3) at Discovery Mall in Kuta, Bali, originally scheduled for May 22, has been postponed until July, while Chris nurses an arm injury.
The 30-year-old boxer hurt his left arm on Wednesday while sparring with Australian William Kicket at Mirah Boxing Camp in Bali. The two were locked up and when Chris went to pull away, he fell on his arm.
The champ flew to Jakarta on Thursday to have specialists examine the arm.
Chris’s assistant manager, Tony Priyatna, reassured fans that the injury was minor and that his fighter simply needed a little time to heal.
“Chris saw a doctor and it’s only minor injury,” Tony said on Friday. “He needs at least three weeks to let it heal. After that he’ll return to Perth [Australia] to restart his preparations.”
Chris said his left arm didn’t hurt enough to affect his day-to-day activities.
“But then it hurts a lot when I have to raise my hands and cover my face during a fight,” he told state-run news agency Antara.
Promoter Zaenal Thayeb confirmed that the fight had been postponed and said that he had already sent official notification to the WBA.
Chris’s management, Zaenal said, had originally asked that the fight be put off until June, but the promoter denied the request.
“I didn’t approve it because the [football] World Cup will be held in June, and as the holder to the rights to the World Cup broadcast, RCTI [the Cup’s official television broadcaster] will be very busy,” he said. “I prefer to hold the bout in July after the World Cup, and now we’ll wait for a response from the WBA.”
RCTI also holds the broadcast rights to the bout.
“If the WBA agrees to the July bout request then we’ll talk about the details. But the event will still be in Bali,” Zaenal said.
He also revealed that Chris would receive Rp 1.2 billion ($135,000) for the fight, while Saucedo will pocket $35,000.
The bout will be Chris’s first on home soil since he knocked out Roinet Caballero of Panama in January 2008.
This is not the first time Chris has had a fight called off close to the scheduled date.
In 2008, his July 27 bout against Jackson Akisu of Australia was canceled when both fighters failed to show up for their weigh-ins a day before the bout. Neither of the camps offered official explanations, though a report from medical officer Dr. Haryono showed that Chris weighed 61.5 kilograms, more than four kilograms over the featherweight limit.
Last year, just four days before a rematch against Rocky Juarez in Los Angeles on June 27, Chris collapsed during a sparring session and the bout was canceled.
It was later determined that Chris was suffering from oxygen toxicity syndrome, also known as oxygen intoxication.
But rumors circulated that the fight was canceled after the boxer’s management team failed to purchase 5,000 tickets at a cost of $150,000. The ticket provision was a concession to Golden Boy Promotions for moving the fight from Houston, Juarez’s hometown, to Los Angeles.
Chris’s side has adamantly denied the rumor.