Wed, 09 Mar 2005

Rachman to defend belt against Thai in Merauke

Moch. N. Kurniawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Mohamad Rachman of Indonesia will defend his mini-flyweight division crown next month against Fahlan Sakkreerin of Thailand in Merauke, Papua.

Boxing promoter Ndondo Sugiarto said on Tuesday that the April 3 12-round bout would be held in the open venue of Hasanabsai recreation park at 3 p.m. local time (1 p.m. Jakarta time).

"Let's just hope that the bout will be successful," he told a press conference.

Indonesian boxing expert Tourino Tidar, the head of the sports division of private television station RCTI, Irwan Hendarmin, and Merauke regent Johannes Glubagebse were also present at the gathering.

Tourino was confident the Indonesian would retain his belt.

"After seeing both boxers' records, Rachman shouldn't have to worry about his opponent," he said. "Besides, Rachman will get full support from the home crowd."

Rachman, 33, has a record of 71 wins, including 31 KOs. Sakkreerin, a former IBF mini-flyweight world champion (1990-92) and WBF flyweight champion (1994-97), has 54 wins, with 23 KOs.

Rachman won the IFB mini-flyweight title (up to 47 kg) in September last year after beating Daniel Reyes of Colombia.

Irwan said the private television station would air the bout at an estimated cost of Rp 3 billion, including the boxers' purse, boxing equipment and lights.

But he refused to disclose the fee for Rachman and Sakkreerin.

"It's confidential based on business competition. If we disclose the fee, other television stations might give a better offer to the boxers."

Johannes said the Merauke government allocated Rp 2 billion from the regency budget in preparation for the bout.

"We really support the bout and we are ready to become the host of the bout even with all of our limitations."

Rachman is the third Indonesian to hold an IBF title after Ellyas Pical in the junior bantamweight division and Nico Thomas in the mini-flyweight division.

At present, Indonesia's other international boxing champion is World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight holder Chris John.