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OTHER: Vic Darchinyan

Featured in Freestyle Volume 02 2007. Story by Cristian Diaz. Photography by Phil Cooper.

11am Sunday morning, a local pub in Sydney’s South-West is held hostage by Armenian supporters and boxing purists that have congregated to witness Australia’s best current boxer, Vic Darchinyan, defend his world title against unheralded Filipino Nonito Donaire.

The room, engulfed by the pheromones of beer, tobacco and male testosterone, is fixated by unfamiliar images of an undaunted opponent attacking and out punching their champion. “Ahh this will be over in bout five minutes, Vic is just waiting” reassures an Armenian compatriot, as the deafening bell signals the end of round four via the venue’s prehistoric P.A. speakers, cueing the unanimous decision for another round of schooners and weak bladder release.

It was at this very point that I quietly reiterated my conclusion that most people, including myself, have no grounds for even the faintest of opinions when it comes to the world of professional Boxing. A sport that few have ever experienced or even attempted. It has never moulded with other more socially accepted sports like tennis, football or soccer that give the wannabe all-round sports commentator a chance in selecting a winner.

Knowing this dilemma would arise, I decided to meet with Vic two weeks prior to the fight and gain an insider's perspective on the boxer who currently owns the most impregnable fight record in Australia, the boxer whos trademark “power punching” has earned him the nick name “raging bull” and the boxer who still owns the title as the most feared flyweight champion of the world.

Entering the rustic Marrickville gym where hours of 6-day a week training sessions are endured, it becomes immediately evident this is no place for Wimbledon dreams and soccer mums.

The 5’ 5 1/2" Vic ambles past the walls that are drenched in his sparring partners sweat and blood, takes a seat a few inches in front of me and begins to clear my predicament with his story.

Originally hailing from Vanadzor in Armenia, Vic began boxing at the tender age of 8 and was already a fully fledged amateur before hitting puberty at 12, killing kids twice his size in larger weight divisions “I always wanted to be the best and strongest of the kids fighting”, Vic recalls.

Utilising the style of his boxing idol, Mike Tyson, Vic became the Junior Armenian champion every year until he turned 16, going on to later represent Armenia on the International stage at the Good Will Games, European and World Cup “I was never a heavy weight boxer but tactically I ‘am very similar to Mike Tyson because I love to show my power in the ring and use both hands”.

It was however at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he reached the quarter finals and grabbed the attention of Australian boxing legend, Jeff Fenech, that Vic turned pro and began representing Australia.

From then on Vic became a revelation in the world of boxing, encompassing a punching power that was unheard of for someone of his size and weight division. “I’m only a small guy, I weigh 51kg but everyone in America is talking about me as the biggest power puncher ever in the flyweight division”, he admits.

This power was devastatingly conveyed when he took on Irene Pacheco, who was the undefeated champion at the time, on December 2004. Vic, who admits out all of his 328 previous fights this was his most difficult, knocked Pacheco out in the 11th round, marking his arrival as the new king of flyweight.

“They didn’t even have the belt at the fight for me, because they didn’t believe I would beat him, they sent it to me a few weeks after the fight”, Vic amusingly remembers.

Getting to know Vic and observing the way he conducts himself, you would have to say this is the breed of a champion. Vic combines a strict and self assured quality that provides him a cloak of invincibility in the ring with a relaxed down to earth mentality of someone who enjoys music, cars and you guessed it Rocky movies.

With all this in mind the aura of overwhelming confidence continues to blanket the crowd at the local pub. Awkward intermission conversations are wrapped up from the men’s urinals, and we call for the Filipino’s blood like Roman soldiers at the coliseum. But perhaps it was the seven consecutive beers that were blurring the lines of reality, perhaps the wrong fight was being televised, or perhaps we still had no clue about professional boxing, either way, round five offered the room a devirginising tutorial on what it takes to TKO Vic Darchinyan.

To find out more about Vic Darchinyan, visit www.vicdarchinyan.com
© COPYRIGHT FREESTYLE MAGAZINE

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