Indonesian Chris John (48-0-2, 22) successfully retained his "Super" WBA Featherweight title as he out pointed the previous unbeaten Thai Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (44-1, 27) in an enthralling 12 round battle that saw both men hurt and both men really giving it their all.
John went out to a quick lead by easily winning the first 2 rounds against Piriyapinyo who was a very slow starter and did little early on. John's speed, accuracy and skill were allowing him to easily dominate against the Thai challenger at both range and up close. Sadly for Piriyapinyo his defense seemed none existent and it allowed John to willingly tee-off on him with combinations and flurries.
Thankfully for the viewers, both on TV and in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore, Piriyapinyo started to fight back back in round 3. Whilst John still won the round, pretty clearly as well, it was the first time that Piriyapinyo actually tried to force John off him by fighting back. Over the following rounds Piriyapinyo really started to grow in to the bout and a strong case could be made for him winning the following 3 or 4 rounds as the bout became a back and forth battle between two men who were each having their moments. Whilst John's class and speed were looking wonderful, Piriyapinyo seemed to stun John with hurtful right hands, especially in round 7 where John's legs appeared to buckle.
Sadly for the Thai he appeared to shoot his load and in round 9 John took over once again, really giving Piriyapinyo a beating in the bouts most 1-sided round. In fact had it not been for the fact John twice slipped to the canvas, he may well have managed to stop Piriyapinyo who was being forced to weather a real storm. This was really the start of the end for the competitive fight we had seen for a few rounds and John really made sure he was in the lead by clearly winning rounds 10 and 11.
With the challenger needing a stoppage in round 12 we saw Piriyapinyo really letting his hands go, especially late in the round and he seemed to rock John in the dying seconds of the fight, though sadly for the challenger he failed to drop the Indonesian who had done enough to claim the bout by pretty wide scores.
Jimmy Lennon Jr announced the scorecards with John a unanimous winner via scores of 119-109 (twice) and 117-111. I myself had the bout 119-109, though you could have made a real case for Piriyapinyo to have taken as many as 4 rounds. Sadly the Thai, whilst tough and game, simply lacked the defensive ability needed at this level to counter shots however it needs to be said that John doesn't look like the fighter he once was. Yes he clearly won here but Piriyapinyo did look like a heavy bag for much of the bout.