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Asian Boxing: The Golden days of Indonesian boxing

We take a glimpse into Indonesia's best days in professional boxing.


Indonesia’s success in boxing may not be overly recognisable in the recent memory among fight fans. Unlike its Asian neighbours including Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines, Indonesia does not have a reigning world champion. Let’s take a walk down memory lane as we look back at Indonesia’s bright moments in the fight game.

La Paene Masara beats Ivan Calderon

Former world champion and Puerto Rican legend Ivan Calderon was an amateur standout before deciding to shift his campaign in the professional ranks. He turned pro after a failed bid in 2000 Sydney Olympics, and the fighter who eliminated him as early as his first bout is none other than Indonesian La Paene Masara.

La Paene Masara, a two-time Olympian, defeated Calderon on points. He also had a brief stint in the professional ranks and wrapped up his career with a 9-2-3 record.

The reign of Chris John

Chris “The Dragon” John is arguably the best fighter Indonesia has produced. Coming from a family of boxers, he enjoyed success while opting to have most of his fighters held in his home country.

During his long reign as a world champion from 2004 to 2013, he attracted challengers from around to world who travelled thousand of miles and eventually became his prey.

The former WBA featherweight and super featherweight champion is a tormentor to Mexican legend and ace counter-puncher Juan Manuel Marquez whom he defeated via unanimous decision in 2006.  Aside from Marquez, another prominent fighter in Rocky Juarez is included on his list of victims.

John called it a career after his only career loss in 52 fights against South African Simpiwe Vetyeka in Australia.

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Muhammad Rachman: Indonesia’s pint-sized version of Bernard Hopkins

Rachman may not have stepped on the big stage like Chris John, who was able to fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but turning pro in 1993 and still active in the sport until today makes him an irreplaceable Indonesian boxing icon.

The 5ft 3” Rachman is an efficient puncher who exhibites strong dedication as shown by his longevity in the sport.

He captured the IBF minimumweight title in 2004 and defended it thrice before losing to Filipino Florante Condes. He won his second title in 2011 after winning against Ekavit Songnui of Thailand to bag the WBA minimumweight title but lost the title to another Thai fighter Pornsawan Porpramook on his next fight.

At 45-years-old, Rachman last fought in 2016. His glory days are over but it’s hard to tell if the ageing Rachman is on the verge of retirement since he showed in his last few fights he can still hold his own against fighters nearly half his age.

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Niko Quirapas

I'm a Nurse by profession. A self-taught sports writer who discovered an unexpected love for writing.

Asian Boxing: The Golden days of Indonesian boxing

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