One of Indonesia 's two world boxing champions says he's grateful that he's able to win for the people of Indonesia . Chris John recently defended his featherweight title in Jakarta . We talked about his career and goals, starting with how it all began.
CJ: My career started at a very early age of 5 to 6 years old. My father was the one who introduced me to this sport. He was a former boxer himself. Then time went by and at the age of 15, I had my first fight as an amateur boxer. I was an amateur boxer for 2 to 3 years, then I moved on to become a professional. But as I was fighting as an amateur boxer, I also jumped into wushu. And I also competed twice in the Southeast Asian Games. But when I became a professional boxer, I focused only on boxing. In 1999, I achieved my first national title, then I climbed up and grabbed the PABA (Asia Pacific Boxing Association) in 2001. I was lucky to have a good career after that. That lead me to become the world champion in 2003. I have been able to maintain my title 7 times in a row now.
IN: How good are you?
CJ: For me, I just try to be responsible and focus at what I do. I try to perform well and use great boxing techniques and maintain good stamina and physical condition in the ring.
IN: Do you feel you have to win to help give people something positive to cheer about?
CJ: I think it will automatically promote my country.
IN: What are your plans in the future. Any chance to see Chris John fight in Las Vegas ?
CJ: We have plans on that, but we must carefully consider everything. If there's an opportunity for me to compete in Las Vegas , well....it will surely improve my career, why not? But of course we have plans for a better future.
IN: And after all this boxing is over, what do you hope to be next?
CJ: I have a dream to further develop boxing in Indonesia , I want to coach and also to encourage my fellow athletes to perform better in the world stage.
Indonesia's other world titleholder is Muhammad Rachman, the reigning IBF mini-flyweight champion.