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21 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Paul Upham

John and Juarez Draw over Twelve Exciting Rounds

John-Juarez on the inside:
John-Juarez on the inside:

By Paul Upham: WBA featherweight boxing world champion Chris John and challenger Ricardo “Rocky” Juarez fought an exciting twelve round draw on Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, televised in the USA on HBO World Championship Boxing.

It was a fight of two halves. John clearly winning the first half of the fight until Juarez turned it around in round 8 and dominated over the final five rounds. All three judges scored the fight a draw 114-114, for John to retain his world title.

“Yes, I won the fight,” said John, after the draw was announced. “What can I say? I thought I won on points. What can I say? He is not bad. He is a top fighter. He showed his strength to the last round.”

“I fought with all my heart and I thought I won the fight,” said Juarez. “It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to win the world title here in my home town. Chris John is a good fighter and I think I may have given up some of the early rounds.”

29 year-old John 42-0-2 (22) from Indonesia, in white trunks, was jabbing strongly and moving to his left in round 1. The taller John was using strong straight punches to keep the Texas local Juarez, dressed in red trunks at bay.

John was moving well on his feet in round 2. Juarez was having trouble cutting off the ring. A fast double jab, right hand combination from John landed. There was lots of booing from crowd for John, supporting the hometown fighter Juarez. A strong right hand from John slapped the body. “I got to have head movement,” trainer Ronnie Shields told Juarez, when he got back to the corner.

28 year-old Juarez 28-4-1 (20) was trying to come forward in round 3. John was maintaining a constant pace and picking his punches, as Juarez tried to come forward. There was a nice two way exchange to finish the round. A crisp right uppercut from John looked impressive.

Juarez was not slipping and countering as John attacked in round 4. John landed two solid right hands and smiled. He was leaning back at times to make Juarez miss, who was caught stationery with his feet planted. Juarez countered with a right hand, which forced John back, but swelling to Juarez’s eyes was becoming apparent.

John was warned by referee Laurence Cole for holding and hitting early in round 5. Four hard body shots from Juarez saw John respond with fast right hands. The defensive posture from Juarez was giving John the chance to follow up on his combinations. A large slice cut above the left eye of Juarez was bleeding.

John opened up and targeted the left eye of Juarez in round 6. Juarez was unable to get his attack moving freely. Juarez was trying to rush in on the inside and then work down low, but was taking stronger punches from John in reply. Whenever Juarez landed, John responded with more and harder punches. John was smiling to admire his work at end of round. “This is a close fight, but you got to take that title from him,” Shields told Juarez.

The Houston crowd was relatively silent in round 7, as Juarez was unable to land anything of significance. John was using a full range of punches to keep Juarez on the back foot. John was still fighting at a constant pace making it difficult for Juarez to close the gap on the scoring.

Left hooks to the body and chin early in round 8 from Juarez, started his run which changed the flow of the fight. Juarez was pressing forward, but John was still moving well side to side. It was a quieter round from John. The crowd was cheering as Juarez worked hard and well on the inside.

John was punching strongly again in round 9, after taking a round off. Two right uppercuts on the inside from John landed. A right hand from Juarez snapped John’s head back. A fast exchange saw both boxers take punches.

Two strong left hooks landed from Juarez to begin round 10. Juarez was trying to turn the fight into a war on the inside. John was tiring, but his punching technique was still solid. Juarez landed the harder punches as John looked to move on the outside more and more.

John was moving well again in round 11 and landed his jab and right hand. John was committing more to his jab once more. Juarez forced forward and landed. John was replying, but taking more punches than earlier in the fight. The crowd responded, warming to the right hands that landed clean from Juarez. It was a thrilling finish in the final seconds of the stanza, as Juarez cornered and hurt John.

Juarez was coming on strong and trying to bulldoze John in the final round. John was jabbing and using right hands to keep Juarez at a distance. John circled to his left and right, making Juarez come to him. John stood and unloaded, but Juarez responded, forcing John back onto the ropes. Both men were trading in close in a desperate finish. A hard left hook spun John’s head to the side. John was standing his ground as the boxers exchanged in the final seconds.

Both men raised their arms in triumph after the final bell.

Judges Tom Miller, Raul Caiz and Levi Martinez all scored the fight a draw, 114-114.

“I knew in the eighth round I had to take over,” Juarez said, of changing the course of the match. “The rounds go by so fast, sometimes you don’t realise what round it is. My corner was telling me to pick it up if I wanted to win the world title. I knew I had a lot in me and that’s what I did. I came out in the later rounds and I thought I won the fight.”

Date February 28
Location Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Chris John d.12 Rocky Juarez
WBA featherweight world title
Danny Garcia w.ud.8 Cristian Favela, welterweight
Daniel Jacobs w.ko.1 Jose Luis Cruz, super middleweight

Paul Upham
Content Editor
John retains his WBA title with a draw:
John retains his WBA title with a draw:

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