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Straight Left

By Ron Galarpe

Who is the “Raging Bull” for the “Prince”?
Thu, 23 Feb 2006

Vic Darchinyan was an amateur boxing hero in his native Armenia and with the pride that he gave to his countrymen, he became a recipient of the Top Ten Armenia’s sports heroes, an accolade that is so prestigious in his own country.

Vic was a recipient of such feat in two consecutive years. But his success in boxing would not just stop in his native land. After representing Armenia in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Jeff Fenech saw the promise of the powerful southpaw and invited Darchinyan to join his stable and in the process Darchinyan is now fighting as professional boxer for Australia.

The “Raging Bull” as they call him, had an amateur record of 150 victories in over 170 amateur fights. His rich amateur background consisted of two European meets, three World Cup tournament experiences, one Goodwill games participation and one Olympic representation for Armenia.

In all of his amateur international participations, Vic would always land on a respectable finish. It could be that Darchinyan had a very colourful career, but his professional ring career isn’t over yet but in fact still growing. The tall 5'-5” flyweight held the Australian flyweight belt, the Oceania title, and the IBF Pan Pacific title. After achieving those junior titles, Darchinyan now concurrently owns the IBO and IBF flyweight belts and is now rated third best flyweight by The Ring. Darchinyan captured the IBF flyweight belt from Irene Pacheco of Colombia via 11th round stoppage in December 0f 2004 and went on to capture the IBO belt from Mzukisi Sikali in March 2005.

Vic Darchinyan was regarded as a hot prospect but only a few would believe that he would beat former champion Irene Pacheco of Colombia. Pacheco had dominated the IBF flyweight division like a hurricane. Before the Darchinyan contest, Pacheco was riding on a 8-fight successful title defenses. He bested serious contenders like British hope Damaen Kelly, The Ring’s current #8 best junior bantamweight Hawk Makepula, former American hot prospect Mike Trejo who in his career knocked out the highly regarded Victor Burgos and lastly perennial Mexican top contender Felix Montiel. But when its time to face the “The Raging Bull”, the Colombian Pacheco found his match. Darchinyan dominated Pacheco from start to finish.

Vic Darchinyan is a wild-swinging 5'-5” flyweight. The “Raging Bull” is more known as a slugger than a boxer who relies mostly on his power than skills. Darchinyan wore down the veteran champion Pacheco with hard punches and after a toe-to-toe fight with Mzukisi Sikali, the competitive African proved a prey to Darchinyan’s hard punches down the stretch. Darchinyan has a total of 19 KOs out of 24 victories.

Many observers believed that Darchinyan could barge into the top of the flyweights by storm as he showed resiliency and killer’s instinct in the ring. Darchinyan would rather finish off his opponent with desire.

Paul Upham of wrote “For those who are not familiar with Darchinyan's lethal power in the ring, there is a body pad hanging on the side of the Team Fenech gymnasium in Marrickville, Sydney with the hand written inscription - Everyone must wear a body protector when sparring with Vic."

Jeff Fenech’s chief assistant trainer Billy Hussein added,"Vic just goes into the ring on a mission to destroy his opponent whether it is in sparring or a fight”.

After capturing the title from Pacheco, Darchinyan went on to defend his title twice against light assignments. He both stopped Jair Jimenez and Mzukisi Sikali.

His adopted country Australia, now regard him as their number two best boxer just behind Kostya Tszyu and automatically outranked the heavies like Paul Briggs, Danny Green and Anthony Mundine in that order.

On March 3 2006 in Sta. Ynez, California, “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan will again showcase those powerful swinging hands when he meets lowly regarded Diosdado Gabi of the Philippines for the IBF flyweight belt. Recent press releases have said that Darchinyan is looking past Gabi and is bent on a megabuck fight with Jorge Arce of Mexico after he disposes the Filipino prospect.

The Philippines’ own Prince Gabi could be a long shot underdog in this fight, because observers may find it hard to see the chance of the 5-2 ? boxer against the powerful 5-5 ? “Raging Bull” from Australia. However, this writer believes that Gabi has a good chance for an upset and in the process may most likely see again Jeff Fenech shouting uncomfortably from the corner.

I have tapes of Gabi’s fights and this guy from North Cotabato was already a slick and smart boxer long before he went to Freddie Roach’s camp. Now that he is more exposed to better training, I expect a more complete Gabi on fight night against Darchinyan. If it is indeed that Darchinyan relies mostly on his power, the Australian will most likely find a surprise on Gabi’s slick and elusive style of fighting. I could feel that Gabi has a bit of advantage on skills and so a toe-to-toe fight with Darchinyan should be on an occasional approach throughout the fight.

Sometime in 2001, the great Samson Dutch Boy Gym of Thailand met a young Diosdado Gabi in his native Thailand. Dutch Boy Gym had decked and outpointed many Filipinos in his padded career but when he faced the young 22-year old Filipino who was coming only on his 12th professional fight, he saw a game Gabi that he failed to deck and in the process lost only to him by a close unanimous decision.

Some reports said that the outcome of the fight was controversial, but who knows, the fight was after all held in Thailand. Samson Dutch Boy Gym had floored highly regarded Mexicans Cruz Carbajal and Genaro Garcia, the only guy who floored Rafa Marquez in year 2000. What Dutch Boy Gym did to those Mexicans was what he failed to do to Gabi.

Manny Pi?ol, Michael Koncz and Freddie Roach all have one thing in common: they all saw that Gabi is a world-class fighter that has the skills to compete. Freddie Roach at one time was quoted as saying that Gabi has what it takes to be a champion, but what he need is to minimize or learn not to expose his head while on the offensive. I am sure Gabi has eliminated such flaw.

Will Gabi become the third Filipino who would give pride following the footsteps of Pacquiao and Viloria? We will soon find out, but one thing is certain, the rampage of the Filipino fighters is on the full swing, and the world better watch out. The date is March 3, 2006 in Santa Ynez, California.

Let us pray for Diosdado Gabi and to his baby and wife who he had not seen for more than one year now. Let us pray for him the way we did for Manny Pacquiao.

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