Chris John kept his World Boxing Association featherweight super champion belt firmly around his waist on Wednesday, seeing off Ukrainian challenger Stanyslav Merdov.
A victory by unanimous decision at Challenge Stadium in Perth, Australia, allowed the Indonesian fighter known as “The Dragon” to become one of boxing’s longest-reigning title-holders after he defended his crown for the 15th time.
Chris first won his title in 2003, when he beat Oscar Leon of Colombia. Judges Francisco Martinez, Takeo Harada and Prommase Chakshuraksha scored his latest fight 116-111, 116-111 and 115-112, respectively.
The 32-year-old Indonesian improved his career record to 46 wins, 22 by knockout, and two draws in 48 fights since turning pro in 1998. Merdov fell to 32-8 (24 KOs).
Both fighters began cautiously, but Chris soon closed the gap between them as he tried to counter Merdov’s advantages in height and reach. He knocked down the Ukranian 20 seconds into the second round with a right hook, though Merdov was on his feet just as Thai referee Pinit Prayadsab started counting.
Merdov came into the fight in the seventh round, with one punch causing Chris’s right temple to bleed, but the Indonesian stayed steady and kept landing body blows until the 12 rounds were complete.
Earlier on the card, Indonesia’s Daud Yordan claimed the vacant International Boxing Organization Asia-Pacific featherweight belt with a fourth-round TKO defeat of US fighter Frankie Archuleta.
Daud, 12 years younger than his opponent, knocked down Archuleta early in the fourth round. A barrage of punched pinned the American against the ropes before the referee halted the fight two minutes and one second into the round.