by James Slater – Big-hitting Vic Darchinyan, the Armenian-born 33-year-old who lives in Australia, is set to make the move up to bantamweight in July. Scheduled to challenge current IBF 118-pound champion Joseph Agbeko, the 29-year-old from Ghana (now living in New York), “The Raging Bull” will be aiming to become a world champion in a third weight class. The southpaw who was able to flatten almost every fighter he met at both flyweight and super-flyweight will be hoping he can carry his power up with him..
Currently, 32-1-1(26) Darchinyan is coming off a very impressive 11th round retirement win over tough Mexican Jorge Arce. Showing improved boxing skills as well as his vaunted punching power in February, the super-flyweight king looked awesome. As a result, against the little-known Agbeko – himself no slouch when it comes to being able to punch, at 26-1(22) – Darchinyan will be a fairly big favourite to take the belt.
It should never be forgotten that, as good as he is, Vic can and has been KO’d. Filipino Nonito Donaire, in a big upset, flattened Darchinyan back down at flyweight in the summer of 2007, and in going up in weight it just might be that Vic will face the possibility of his being stopped again. Fans really wanted to see Darchinyan and Donaire get it on again, but in moving up to face the bantamweight ruler this does not look too likely.
The fight with Agbeko may turn out to be a dangerous enough fight for Vic, though. At 5’6″ the man who was born in the great fighting hotbed that is Ghana may not be that much taller than Darchninyan (who stands at 5’5’5″), but he is used to fighting bantamweights and he has never been stopped. Boxing in The U.S has not been anything to phase Agbeko so far either. Having boxed over in America three times since moving to New York, the 29-year-old will be happy to meet Darchinyan in Florida (where the bout is scheduled for according to BoxRec).
The defending champion’s sole pro defeat came in Germany, when he was out-pointed by Wladimir Sidorenko in May of 2004 – coming up short via a majority verdict. Since then, Agbeko, who has fought almost his whole career at bantamweight, has won five straight. A layoff of almost two-and-a-half years came after one win on from the loss, and then in September of 2007 Agbeko won his world title with a 7th round TKO over Luis Alberto Perez. Another period of inactivity followed, this time of just over a year, before he defended his belt for the first time with a points win over William Gonzalez this past December.
It’s not clear (at least to me) why Agbeko has had such layoffs, but there is at least a small possibility that this will maybe affect him against Darchinyan in July. Heaven knows, a fighter needs to be at his utmost sharpest against “The Raging Bull.”
It’s always tough predicting the winner from a fight involving a fighter you know precious little about, and not too much is known about Agbeko. A lot may have to do with whether or not Darchinyan carries his power up with him successfully. Then again, Vic can also box well and he is far from just a limited bomber. All fighters from Ghana are tough dudes, and going solely by his record Agbeko is too.
Far from a “safe” fight in which to pick up another belt, Darchinyan faces a potential battle. Though a KO cannot be ruled out – either way, for that matter – a distance fight looks more likely here.
Look for Darchinyan’s greater pro experience at top level see him through to a points win in July.