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Night of boxing shocks as John, Garlett are beaten
Simpiwe Vetyeka, centre, and trainer Vuyani Bungu after his stunning win over Chris John. Pic: Neil Devey

Perth boxing fans witnessed the end of an era on Friday night as long-reigning world champion Chris John suffered his first professional loss after 52 fights.

The Indonesian "Dragon" didn't come out for the seventh round at the Metro City nightclub after being given the runaround by inspired South African Simpiwe Vetyeka, who dedicated his stunning win to the late Nelson Mandela.

And the upsets didn't stop there, with local prospect Matty Garlett's hopes of a world title shot next year in tatters following his fifth-round TKO loss to Filipino Ryan Sermona.

Garlett, making the first defence of the WBC International super-featherweight belt, looked in little bother as he racked up the first four rounds.

But a momentary lapse in concentration was all Sermona needed, and he smashed home a left hook which sent Garlett down and out in the fifth.

The two results were a nightmare for the Dragon Fire Promotions team, too, with their jewel in the crown John and would-be star Garlett taking devastating losses.

But it's featherweight star John's loss to Vetyeka that will have boxing fans talking today.

The WBA Super champion, with a record of 48 wins and three draws, won the first round but after that was never settled as Vetyeka, who holds the IBO crown, used his mobility and lightning jab to keep him off balance.

Twice in the second round John fell to the floor, and all too often he missed with his shots. He struggled to find his range while the clever South African, not averse to the odd infringement, refused to stand and trade.

Vetyeka kept him working, working and working some more. Then with John clearly tiring, Vetyeka struck, landing a right in the sixth which put the champion on the canvas.

John beat the count and was aided by the bell as Vetyeka closed in. But trainer Craig Christian had seen enough and decided the Indonesian was not going to continue.

"This is for Nelson Mandela, I was inspired by him after hearing he had died," Vetyeka said.

"It is a very sad day for my country, I hope this win can bring a smile to their faces."

Simpiwe Vetyeka, right, dominates Chris John. Pic: AP

Earlier Garlett was on course to take a step nearer a possible meeting with Japan's WBC world champion Takashi Miura when he bagged the first four rounds.

But southpaw Sermona turned his world upside down in the fifth round with a terrific left hook that sent the Northam 28-year-old over.

Garlett tried to get up but was barely able to move, and the referee ended the count at six and called off the fight with 35 seconds of the round to go.

The finish was as sudden as it was surprising, because before Sermona's brutal intervention Garlett had been boxing well.

He was landing his right upper cut and while the Asian ace was happy to get involved, Garlett usually had the final word.

There had been a warning for Garlett when he was caught off balance by a left in the opening round, but other than that he covered up well.

He won the second with some slick combinations, and the third went a similar way.

Sermona came forward again in the fourth and the pair swapped left hooks before Garlett ended that exchange with a straight right.

But just as Garlett, who won the belt by outpointing WBC No3 Sipho Taliwe, was closing out the fifth, Sermona noticed an opening and didn't need a second invitation.

It was that loss to Garlett in May which forced South African Taliwe to shift up to lightweight and last night he was involved in an foul-laden war with IBO champion Daud 'Cino' Yordan.

Yordan, a former victim of both Chris John and Vetyeka, was roared on by a large Indonesian contingent as he returned to the scene of his points win over Daniel Brizuela in July.

But Taliwe was unconcerned and he took the fight to the champion.

At times Taliwe wasn't afraid to bend the rules - or Yordan's arm - and referee Phil Austin deducted him two points - one for holding and one for successive low blows.

In the end Yordan's faster start proved the difference and the Indonesian claimed a split decision win 113-114, 116-111, 117-110.

Earlier, there was something of a passing of the baton with Queensland's London Olympian Jeff Horn, in only his seventh pro fight, outpointing two-time world title challenger Naoufel Ben Rabeh, who went into the six-rounder with a 37-3 record.

Rabeh, a third Dragon Fire fighter to go down on the night, was the more powerful early on but once "the Hornet" had found his feet in the third, he showed his class to go home with the $8000 winner-takes-all pot - 59-55, 58-57, 58-56.

WA light-heavy Glen Austin, in only his third fight, was raw but powerful as he battered brave Travis Barton before finishing it with a fourth round KO in which Barton was out cold before his head thumped the canvas.

Thankfully he was soon up and given the all-clear.