Chris John’s career can be best highlighted by strong performances against Hall of Famers and former world champions, but one interesting tidbit about one of his title fights wasn’t publicly known until now.
Tony Tolj, who was a part of John’s management team for years, joined the Fightful Boxing Podcast to talk about a few topics from the world of boxing, including his time with John. The Indonesian is just one of a few boxers from the country to have held a world title and was unbeaten throughout his pro career until his last fight in 2013.
But before that fight, John had held a version of the WBA featherweight championship for a decade, having made several title defenses en route to becoming the WBA’s Boxer of the Decade for the 2000s. When Tolj, who currently serves as the manager for WBA “Regular” super flyweight champion Andrew Moloney and top bantamweight contender Jason Moloney, was asked about his favorite fight involving John, the Australian manager responded with John’s win over Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2006.
“As far as the favorite fight, well his biggest fight would be the Juan Manuel Marquez fight and I knew that was coming straight away. There was a purse bid for, I can’t remember, Marquez and someone else. No one bid for the purse bid so that means Marquez was stripped of his IBF title and he was the WBA Super champion. Chris was the Regular champion and I knew that fight was happening straight away. We prepared for that. That’s one of our proudest victories,” Tolj told Fightful’s Carlos Toro.
However, one fight that some may not remember was John’s bout against fellow countryman Daud Yordan back in 2011 for the WBA title. Tolj recalled the time an internal bet was made between the two camps where the losing boxer would actually switch management teams and be with the winning boxer’s management.
Of course John ended up winning the fight by unanimous decision, keeping his title for another couple of years before he would drop it to Simpiwe Vetyeka in 2016. John would never fight in a pro bout again.
“I’d have to say Chris John vs. Daud Yordan, another Indonesian. That was, I believe, the only time in history two Indonesians fought for a world title in Indonesia. Daud was the up-and-comer and everyone was saying he was too good for Chris, that Chris is too old, past [his prime] now. There was an internal bet, and I don’t think anyone even knows this, between us and Daud Yordan’s management. If we both backed our guys that much to the point, whoever lost the fight would change management. [The winner’s management team] would be looking after [the losing boxer]. I don’t think that was ever discussed in an official media platform, but that’s what happened. If Chris were to lose, and we knew that was never going to happen [then he would have changed management]... Chris ticked too many of those boxes (power, experience, stamina). I couldn’t see him losing fights to be honest [until his last one],” Tolj said.
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