Jakarta. Indonesian boxer Daud "Cino" Yordan has claimed both the World Boxing Association's Asian lightweight and World Boxing Organization's intercontinental lightweight titles by defeating local favorite Pavel Malikov in Ekaterinburg, Russia, in April.
Despite a home-ground advantage, Malikov was unable to withstand Daud's relentless and overpowering punches, which saw the bout end in the eighth round with a knockout, Indonesian state-run news agency Antara reported.
With this achievement, Daud is now eligible to challenge WBA lightweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine.
"It was probably the most serious preparation I've ever had before a fight, as I trained intensively for about four months in Madrid," Daud told the Jakarta Globe in a telephonic interview on June 25.
"And Malikov was tough, because he was expected to become Russia's next world champion," the Indonesian boxer added.
In the eighth round, Daud landed a punch on Malikov's stomach, which saw the 32-year-old Russian go down in agony.
Malikov had been unbeaten in his professional career before meeting his 31-year-old rival.
"The match between me and Linares will most likely happen this year, but my team is yet to finalize the details," Daud said, referring to former WBA world champion Luis "Jorge" Linares Palencia of Venezuela, who lost his title to Ukraine's Vasyl Lomachenko in May.
After claiming the two lightweight titles, Daud has the right to challenge the world champions, which was Linares for the WBA at the time, and the WBO's Ray Beltran of Mexico.
Hard Work and Discipline
Daud, who resides and does most of his training in North Kayong, West Kalimantan, now has a 38-3 record in his professional career. He has won the International Boxing Organization (IBO) world championship twice.
He first won the IBO featherweight world title in May 2012 by knocking out the Philippines' Lorenzo Villanueva in Singapore.
Daud's last loss was in April 2013, when he surrendered his IBO featherweight title to South Africa's Simpiwe Vetyeka in Jakarta.
In July 2013, Daud also won the IBO lightweight world title in a unanimous decision over Argentina's Daniel Brizuela in Australia.
"Nothing can be achieved in life without hard work and discipline. I've been sacrificing many things since I was a kid to come this far – a dedicated boxer," he said.
"When most kids and teenagers spent their time playing and having fun, I was training intensely," he added.
Daud, the son of a Chinese-Indonesian father and Dayak mother, has been involved in boxing since he was 8 years old, after his older brother encouraged him to take up the sport.
He became an amateur boxer in 1996 and turned professional in 2005. Indonesia's Amateur Boxing Association (Pertina) called him up in 2001 to join the elite national training camp.
"I came from a relatively poor family and I thought that boxing could help us," said Daud, who is a big fan of Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Angel Cotto, considered one of the world's best.
As a two-time world champion, Daud says he can earn billions of rupiah, which will allow him to help improve the lives of his family members, including his wife and their 5-year-old son.
Indonesia's Boxing Hopes
Daud is not the only Indonesian boxer to appear on the international stage. He was preceded by Yohannes Christian "Chris" John, a former WBA featherweight world champion.
Chris John successfully defended his world title 18 times in 10 years before retiring in 2013.
"Daud still has several weaknesses, though he's been showing steady form. He should be prepared to confuse his opponents more with his boxing style because his strategy can sometimes be easy to read," said Chris, who beat Daud in 2011.
"But overall, I think Daud still has more chances at becoming a world champion. His punching combination and fitness are his best attributes," Chris told the Jakarta Globe.
When asked about Indonesia's boxing prospects, Chris and Daud both voiced the same concern, saying that the country needs a boost from stakeholders to produce more world-class boxers through sustainable competitions and events.
However boxing now has a real competitor in mixed martial arts, which is regarded as the world's fastest growing sport.
Noor Aman, chairman of the Indonesian Professional Sports Agency (BOPI), said MMA may soon surpass boxing in popularity.
"MMA is growing very fast, even faster than boxing in terms of popularity," Noor said.
"Indonesia lacks boxing competitions. I think it should be easy to find more talented boxers in a country like ours with more than 260 million people, but only after continuous competitions are held simultaneously," Daud said.