Feature Story

Q&A: Chris John

By Ray Wheatley–World of Boxing

Chris Cozzone
Chris Cozzone

WBA featherweight champion Chris John will defend his title against Rocky Juarez on September 19 on the undercard of Mayweather vs Marquez. John talks to Fightnews and predicts a KO win over Juarez, talks of his relationship with trainer Craig Christian, his close win over Juan Marquez, and how he would like to unify the world featherweight title.

How has your preparation been for your WBA 126 title bout with Rocky Juarez on Sept 19? Who are your sparring partners? When did you start training for this fight?

I have had perfect preparation. We are in camp at Big Bear and we have been here six weeks now.It’s really good. I have had great sparring with Orlando Salido, Elio Perez and Jackson Asiku. I am ready to fight!

You were unlucky to be given a draw in your first fight with Jaurez in Houston in February. You coasted over the final two rounds. Did you think you had won the bout clearly?

I thought I won the fight, but the judges saw it differently. I am pretty lucky, look at Malignaggi, at least I got a draw this time it will be hard to get a decision, as well. It is Mexican Independence Day with 20,000 Mexicans all supporting Rocky. I am scared that this might have an effect on the judges so we are trying to end it before 12.

Any predictions for Sept 19? Can you win by KO?

Like I said, we have trained for a knockout and I am confident if I stick to my game plan that I can achieve this.

Any plans for a bout with Gamboa, who holds the WBA featherweight title? Will you be confident against him? Your thoughts please.

Gamboa is a good fighter and I would love to fight him. Maybe after he has a few defenses we can fight but this up to Craig and my matchmaker, Sampson “Piccasso” Lewkowitz, but I think it would be a great fight for my fans.

You are regarded as the best featherweight in the world by most experts. Will you unify the title against WBC champ Takahiro Aoh – IBF champ Cristobel Cruz – WBO champ Steve Luevano?

I will fight anyone Craig says to fight…I want to be the best out there. I will always try my best, and God willing, I will keep winning. I could unify all the titles. That would be a good challenge, but like I said, it is up to my matchmaker Sampson “Piccasso” Lewkowitz.

The biggest win of your career was when you defeated Juan Marquez in a WBA title bout. Please tell me about this fight. Was it close?

Yes! This was my greatest win – the Derrick Gainer fight – a close second.The Marquez fight was not a big action fight. I had to box, moving in and out countering Marquez. He has a great ring generalship. I learned a lot from Marquez. I thought the right decision was given. I have spoke to many people and 75% say I won. The other 25% say Marquez. Marquez said he thought he won by one or two rounds, but he never really complained much at all.

Please tell me about your relationship with your trainer, Craig Christian. How long has he been your trainer?

Craig has been my trainer for all my eleven defenses. I think I started in 2004 at Harry’s Gym. I am grateful to him and the team we have – I do not think I would be in this position today if I had not met Craig. I think we have a great bond now and we have built up trust and knowledge of each other. I am very comfortable. When he reads this he will not like me saying that. Other members of Harry’s gym are Bob and Tony who also help me train and contribute a lot to my success.

Any comments you would like to make about the Rock Juarez fight on Sept 19?

I would like to say to my fans: you will see me trying my hardest – I want to take away the responsibility from the judges. This is the first time I have said this – I will stop Rocky Juarez.

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