By Ray Wheatley–World of Boxing
Photo: Jeff Pamungkas
Australian Craig Christian has guided the career of the WBA super featherweight champion Chris John since 2005 and through twelve successful world title fights. Christian talks to Fightnews and says that Jan Manuel Marquez rates as his greatest victory and that his win over Derrick Gainer also rates as one of his best. He also mentions that it was important that Chris John defeated Daud Yordan on Sunday and that WBA champion Yuriorkis Gamboa and WBO champion Orlando Salido are on the WBA 126 pound champions radar.
Congratulations on guiding the career of Chris John who has been the WBA 126 champion since 2004 and you have trained and managed him for twelve of his fourteen title bouts since 2005. He rates as one of the best featherweights in the history of the sport and his win in 2006 over the great Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez who had boxed a draw with boxing pound-for-pound best Many Pacquiao the previous year. The decision win over Marquez was never disputed. This fight must rate as his best achievement, your thoughts.
Yes, the Juan Manuel Marquez fight on paper is definitely John’s best win, the Gainer fight was the first fight with Harrys Gym and that would have to be up there because of the pressure Chris John had on him. Everybody in Jakarta wasn’t very happy with him picking me as his trainer so the pressure was enormous but after getting dropped in the first round he demolished Gainer punished him for the next eleven rounds; it was a great victory and I believe this last fight was up there too because all he has achieved in boxing would have amounted to nothing if Yordan beat him, and there were many people hoping that would happen. But as usual, he came through it all and because of his pride and professionalism schooled the talented Jordan who I believe has a big future in boxing.
Do you have Yuriorkis Gamboa who holds the WBA title on your radar? Would he be a difficult fight for Chris?
We look at it this way: first of all, yes we would fight Gamboa if we have what he wants which we have, we are the super champion he is jus the ordinary champion, I say that with no disrespect. We have it, he wants it. We say come and get it, take it off the champion Chris John. Why should we have to leave our comfort zone? They are not offering any great amounts of money to entice us over there, it could be held on a Sunday morning in Jakarta and PPV back on the Sat night live to the states. More money in it for everyone that way. I will say never underestimate John – no one has taught him how to lose yet, in a great fight in Jakarta I think John would rise to the occasion and win on points.
The former WBO champion Juamma Lopez has expressed interest in a bout with Chris. Is he on your radar? Is that an easy or tough fight for Chris?
Well, just before I answered this Juan Manuel Lopez was KO’d by Orlando Salido and i think he will KO him again in the rematch. Salido was our sparring partner in the USA for the Juarez fight and we would unify against him, give the opportunity.
Chris has now had forty-five wins and 2 draws. One draw was against Rocky Juarez. ESPN, Max Kellerman had the fight 8 to 4 rounds in favor of Chris. Tell me about that fight and the decision .
That was another big fight for Chris he really wanted to be the first Indonesian to defend a title successfully in the USA, all others had failed. I think Chris clearly won that fight, but we were happy we got the draw because they could have gone a bit further and given it to Juarez. We knew everyone who watched it thought we won the fight and we knew we would beat him again as Chris was sick in bed for the week leading up to the fight. We knew we could improve and that was all Juarez had as Chris showed in the rematch.
How many more fights for Chris John?
Good Question, a lot of it will depend on whether Gamboa decides to fight us — when we beat him they would have to say Chris John is the best featherweight going and that might be a good time to retire with a perfect record. If not, we would like to get 50 victories undefeated, but thats only a thought. Chris John might tell me different. So I would have to listen to the boss before I can tell you for sure. I read in an article he said he wants to fight till he’s 35, you never know, he is a remarkable guy.