- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Featherweight titleholder Chris John, who won his belt in 2003 and is the longest-reigning active titleholder in boxing, will make his next defense against Simpiwe Vetyeka on Dec. 6, John's Dragonfire Promotions announced Monday.
John, a national hero in his native Indonesia, will face former world title challenger Vetyeka at the Thunderdome in Perth, Australia.
John has made 18 successful defenses of his 126-pound belt. If he retains the title for the 19th time, he will tie International Boxing Hall of Famer Eusebio Pedroza of Panama, who reigned from 1978-85, for the division record.
John (48-0-3, 22 KOs), 34, has said he would like to get to 50-0-3 and then retire. He has not fought since April 14, when he retained the title via third-round technical draw against Satoshi Hosono of Japan in Jakarta. The bout was short circuited after John suffered a vertical cut over his right eye, almost between his eyes, from an accidental head butt and was unable to continue.
Vetyeka (25-2, 15 KOs), 32, of South Africa, will be getting his second shot at a major world title. In 2007, he traveled to Japan and lost a unanimous decision to then-featherweight titleholder Hozumi Hasegawa.
On the undercard of John's fight with Hosono, Vetyeka stopped John's Indonesian countryman Daud Cino Yordan in the 12th round, leading promoters to bill John's fight with Vetyeka as an opportunity for him to "restore Indonesian national pride."
"With dedication, determination and discipline, I will not let my people down and on Dec. 6th Indonesia will rise again," John said in announcing the fight.
Said Vetyeka, "I have won in America, Mexico and stopped Daud Cino Yordan in his back yard, so Australia, prepare for another boxing exhibition."
2dMalik Smith, ESPN Stats & Information