HISTORY OF BOXING IN INDONESIA
Indonesia has a huge story regarding professional boxer. Boxer as an extreme sport has its own twists, moreover there are several boxers who also passed away after participating in the boxing competition. Despite all of these risks, there are still many boxing fans in Indonesia. In October 1973, there were 35,000 audiences who came to the Senayan Jakarta Stadium to witness the action of observing Muhammad Ali and Rudi Lubbers.
Almost 12 years later, Indonesia has its own World Champion, namely Ellyas “The Exocet” Pical. He was the IBF Junior Bantamweight World Champion in May 1985.
However, the history of boxing in Indonesia is an interesting story, starting from the 1980s to the present. For the past decade, Chris John, Daud Cino Jordan, and Ongen Saknosiwi have been becoming familiar names. But, don’t forget Ellyas Pical, Nico Thomas, and other ‘80s boxers.
The World Boxing Council (WBC), which concerns to the sport’s sanctions, reacted slowly above what happened in Indonesia. In the 1980s there were nine boxers who lost their lives fighting in the ring. It started with a serious injury for couple of days and finally passed away. Two of them passed away within 18 days.
December 2002, the WBC finally banned Indonesia boxers to compete in WBC-approved championship abroad. In fact, boxers from 161 countries are also prohibited for competing in Indonesia.
However, WBC rules were repealed in 2003 with several requirements because of the boxer’s safety and health related. There are several steps to be followed for safety, until finally an Agency responsible for supervising the regulation of boxing competition.
The agency is BPOPI (Badan Pengawas Olahraga Professional Indonesia) or Indonesian Professional Sport Supervisory Agency by the government in 2022. It started with a medical seminar for boxers and officials’ teams for three days in Jakarta. This seminar was attended by more than 100 people. However, there are still some youths/boxers who passed away. So that, the electability of BPOPI is questioned by many parties.
Luckily, there have been positive developments in the Indonesian Boxing in recent years. In addition, sveral heavyweight championship have been won by professional boxers from Indonesia. After Ellyas Pical era, several pro-Indonesian boxers emerged became greatest and making Indonesia proud.
We summarize 8 Indonesian Boxers who are successfully become World Champions:
- Ellyas Pical
Ellyas Pical is a pioneer professional boxer from Indonesia who become a world champion. He’s originally from Maluku, Indonesia and succeed in becoming the world champion in IBF Bantam Junior Class (Super Flyweight) on May 3, 1985. He got the world championship belt after knocking down his opponent, Ju Do-Chon in Jakarta. His achievement as a world champion is like a roller coaster. After he got his title as world champions in 1985, Elly had lost to maintain his achievements when he lost in the tittle unification duel against Khaosai Galaxy of Thailand. It didn’t take long for him to bounce back and become the World Champion after defeating Tae Il-Chung. Over time, Elly had to give up her championship boxing belt after being defeated by Juan Polo Perez in 1993.
- Nico Thomas
Nico Thomas has a petite physical appearance as a professional boxer. However, it did not prevent him from defeating Ammuth Sithnaruepol from Thailand on June 17, 1989 in Jakarta. At that moment, Nico Thomas managed to become the IBF Mini Flyweight World Champions in 1989. However, Nico lost by knockout status to the Filipino boxer Eric Chavez on September 21, 1989.
- Suwito Lagola
Suwito Lagola is a professional boxer who was widely known in the 1990s. Suwito became the WBF Welterweight World Champion in 1995-1997. His first World Champion debut came when he won by TKO over William Magahin on October 21, 1995. Unfortunately, Suwito Lagola had to resign as a professional boxer in 2000. From the information that we had compiled, he was disappointed with everything that was promised to him as a World Champion. However, Suwito’s achievements as a three-time World Champion have been recorded in Indonesia boxing history.
- Ajib Albarado
Now we move to Ajib Albarado, a professional boxer from Surabaya who won the WBF Super Lightweight (Junioe Welter) class. His first World Title was happened when he knocked out Dindo Canoy from The Philippines on March 28, 1996. His real name is Ahmad Tajid and he successfully managed to master the Super Lightweight belt from 1996 to 2000.
- M Rahman
M Rahman was listed as a world professional boxer in the IBF Mini Flying in 2004-2007 and 2011. He managed to beat a Colombia Boxer, Daniel Reyes by TKO status, outstandingly. Not only that, in the 2011, Kwantai Sithmorseng as Thai Boxer also knocked out in the 9th round. From that duel, M Rahman regained his World Champion title after losing his title in 2007.
- Chris John
Chris John is another boxer from Indonesia who stole the world’s attention. His nickname is “The Dragon” because he has the longest World Champion status in the history of boxing in Indonesia. Just imagine, Chriss John managed to masted the WBA Featherweight boxing for 10 years from 2003-2013. This huge achievement began by defeating Oscar Leon at the WBA Featherweight.
A year later, in 2004, Chris John brought down Osamu Sato. Despite managing his WBA Featherweight title for a decade, Chris John became the WBA Super Featherweight Champion six times by defeating Rocky Juarez and other opponents. Finally, in 2013 Simpiwe Vetyaka made Chris John’s dominance fade on December 6, 2013.
An interesting fact about Chris John is that he started his career as a wushu athlete.
- Daud Yordan
Daud Cino Yordan is originally from Kalimantan or Borneo Island. Daud Yordan is another professional boxer who has 3 world titles at once. This title include; WBO Featherweight World Champion, WBO Flyweight Champion, and WBO and IBA Super Lightweight Champion. Each after immobilizing his opponents, such as: Lorenzo Villanueva , Daniel Eduardo Brizuela, and Michael Mokoena on 2019.
- Ongen Saknosiwi
Ongen Saknosiwi is another Indonesia Boxer that coming from Maluku with the achievement of IBA Featherweight Boxing World Champion. Ongen made his professional boxing debut when he defeated Imanuel Hutagalung in the domestic competition. Then, beat Nanthawat Maolichat to become the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Featherweight Champion.
Interestingly, Ongen Saknosiwi was also a Indonesian Air Force when he became the World Champion and defeated Marco Domecillo on November 17, 2019.