Thu, 27 May 2004

Chrisjon to defend WBA title against Sato

Suherdjoko, Semarang

World featherweight champion Christian John of Indonesia will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) title against Osamu Sato in Tokyo next week.

He left for Japan on Wednesday, accompanied by trainer Sutan Rambing and promoter Daniel Bahari.

"I will fight to the best of my ability out there. Sato is undeniably a tough opponent. He had been the junior featherweight champion before," said Chrisjon, as the 24-year-old is familiarly known, prior to his departure on Monday.

It will be Chrisjon's first match after he was declared the world champion last year. He has booked 33 wins, 19 of which came by way of KOs.

Ahead of his Sato match, which is scheduled on June 4, Chrisjon participated in an intensive 45-day training regime on the mountainous plateau of Lembang, north of Bandung, West Java.

He spent his time in Lembang practicing with three sparring partners.

As part of his preparations, Chrisjon said that he had been assessing Sato's strengths and weaknesses by watching video recordings of the Japanese fighter's previous matches.

He found that Sato was good at hooks and left uppercuts.

"Together with my trainer, I have been looking for the weaknesses that I will be able to exploit to defeat Sato. We have assessed his strengths. I definitely never underestimate my opponents. I take all of them seriously," said Chrisjon, who will have to reduce his weight by 2.2 kilograms to reach the required 57.1 kilograms.

Chrisjon's march to the world championship began when he defeated Oscar Leon of Colombia in an 'interim' fight in Bali on Sept. 28 last year.

He had to wait for two months before he was declared the world champion after reigning champion Derrick Gainer of the United States failed in his bid to unify his WBA title with the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title on Nov. 1.

Chrisjon is Indonesia's second world champion boxer after Ellyas Pical, who was the IBF champion in the super flyweight division between 1985 and 1989.