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Ranking the best Armenian fighters of all time


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Now, THIS can be a little tricky...there aren't that many really good or famous Armenian boxers, but there are some. Vic Darchinyan is the first one that springs to mind. He is definitely the most accomplished of the Armenian boxers. Even though I already ranked Artem Dalakian among the best Ukrainian fighters, it seems I'm gonna have to include him here as well. :laugh: Armenian fighters were and are famous for their toughness and their ferocity and usually are involved in good fights. Some of them, like Leva Kirakosyan for instance, aren't well known but have been in some very good wars and have scored spectacular victories over good fighters. Some of them have represented other countries than Armenia-but are still ethnically Armenian. So here, without further redue-HERE ARE THE ARMENIAN WARRIORS!


1. Vic (Vakhtang) Darchinyan


If there ever was a fighter worthy of the epiteth "Flyweight Tyson", that is Vic Darchinyan. This 5'5 powerhouse has wrecked most of his competition at flyweight and super flyweight as well-but failed to make an impact as a bantam or super bantam. He was however already in an advanced age for a fighter when he entered the bantam division, but was also likely robbed in his fight against Abner Mares. Real name Vakhtang Darchinyan, Vic was born in Vanadzor, Armenia, a picturesque town in the north of the country, 7 January 1976. His first success as amateur was reaching the quarter-finals of the 1997 World championships in Budapest. In 1998, he won the bronze at the European championships in Minsk and also a bronze at the World Cup in Beijing and another one at Goodwill Games in New York. He also competed at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, but failed to get far, losing in the second round on points. He then decided to simply relocate to Sydney, where he started his pro career. His amateur record is 158-18 by the way, with 105 knockouts. He soon gained his new fighting name, Vic, from Aussies and was trained by Jeff Fenech. He had his first pro fight in November 2000. After going 21-0 and winning several minor titles, he took on the IBF fly champion Irene Pacheco, 16 December 2004 in Hollywood and stopped him by a TKO11 to become the first Armenian-born pro world champion. He made 6 successful defenses, stopping all his opponents, including the likes of Mzukisi Sikali and Luis Maldonado, before running into Nonito Donaire on 7 July 2007 and getting stopped in 5 rounds after being floored with a big left hook to the jaw. He reportedly had problems making the weight and after that moved up to super flyweight. After drawing against Z Gorres in a wild and controversially-refereed fight in February 2008, on 2 August that year he became the IBF champion at this weight as well, by knocking out Dmitry Kirilov in 5 rounds in Tacoma, Washington. On 1 November, he became the undisputed champion by knocking out the WBC and WBA champion Cristian Mijares in 9 rounds, with a single straight left. He defended the three titles by stopping Jorge Arce by corner retirement in 11 on 7 February 2009. After losing controversially in his first fight at bantamweight against Joseph Agbeko, he was stripped of his IBF belt but defended the other two by knocking out Tomas Rojas in 2 and decisioning Rodrigo Guerrero. He moved up to bantam after that and first beat Eric Barcelona by UD to win the IBO title, May 2010, before that controversial loss to Mares, 11 December that year. Despite knocking Mares down once and looking like he had done enough to win, he was denied the victory and lost by a split decision. He came back and recaptured his IBO title by beating Yohnny Perez by technical decision in 5. After one defense by UD against Evans Mbamba, he fought WBA-champ Anselmo Moreno on 3 December 2011 and lost by UD. On 9 November 2013, he had a long-awaited rematch with Donaire and despite doing well for much of the fight, in the end he got stopped in 9th round by TKO. He was ahead on two scorecards before the stoppage. It was clear he was far past his best, but he sadly continued fighting and got knocked out by Nicholas Walters in 5, Jesus Cuellar in 8 and unranked Sergio Frias in 2. After winning his final fight by KO1 against the unknown Pakpoom Hamarach on 10 March 2017, he finally retired. His record is 43(32)-9-1.


2. Artur Grigorian


The first Armenian "King Arthur", Grigorian had one of the longest title reigns in newer history, but fought mostly in his boxing homeland of Germany and was sort of protected, thus his achievements are sometimes neglected or called into question. There is no doubt he was very talented and beat some capable fighters, however. Grigorian was also the first boxer of Armenian ethncity to win a pro world title. His real name is Atuiz Grigorjan (spelled with a J instead of traditional I because he wasn't born in Armenia) and he was born in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan (then still a part of Soviet Union), 20 October 1967. The 5'7 southpaw enjoyed a stellar amateur career and captured the gold at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, beating Shane Mosley in the semi-final, 5-0 on points. He competed as a lightweight as amateur and most of his pro career as well. He also won the silver at the 1991 World championships in Sydney and qualified for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, but was eliminated in the second round on points. His record here is 361-23. He went to Germany and turned pro there, trained by Fritz Sdunek, in 1994. He won the WBO light title in his 19th fight, by beating Antonio Rivera by a KO12, 13 April '96 in Wandsbek, Germany. He would go on to make 17 defenses of the title, beating among others Marty Jakubowski (who then had a record of 104-2) by UD, Raul Horacio Balbi by TKO11, avenging the loss at the 1991 world championships by stopping Marco Rudolph by TKO6, knocking out Michael Clark of The Contender fame in 5, stopping Giorgio Campanella (who once knocked down De La Hoya) by TK010 and finally, beating the Colombian puncher Antonio Pitalua by UD. He finally lost his title to Acelino Freitas on 3 January '04, fighting for the first time in America, Mashantucket. He was down four times but still gave a rather good account of himself and in the end lost on points. He would have two more fights before finally retiring in 2009. His record is 38(23)-1-0.


3. Arthur Abraham


Aka The Second Armenian King Arthur. Abraham is best known and acclaimed for his run as the IBF middleweight champ, when he made ten successful defenses and is unbeaten at 160. However, as he started campaigning at 168, he wasn't the same man anymore. Although his career would last long and be fruitful, he became a far less exciting fighter at 168 then he was at 160. He was blessed with punching power, great chin and good speed, even though the last thing seemed to go later as he became a super middle. He became too lazy, in other words, content to outpunch and outmuscle his opponents. Born Avetik Abrahamyan in Yerevan, capital of Armenia, on 20 February 1980, Abraham moved to Germany in 1995 and became inspired to start boxing after watching Mike Tyson fight. His amateur career never went too far and he competed at national level only, despite trying to qualify to represent Armenia at the 2000 Olympics, but was turned down. In 2003, after completing military service in Armenia, he started his pro career. He scored 12 straight knockouts before winning the WBA Intercontinental title by a TKO12 against Nader Hamdan, who was 36-1 at the time. In 2005, he first defeated the noted Hector Javier Velazco by KO5 and Howard Eastman by UD, before winning the IBF belt in December that year by a KO5 against Kingsley Ikeke. His first 3 defenses were all demanding, as he took on and beat Shannan Taylor, Kofi Jantuah and Edison Miranda, all by UD. The Miranda fight would become infamous because Abraham suffered a broken jaw already in the 5th and Miranda got no less than 5 points deducted for fouls. He scored one of his best victories in 2007 by stopping Khoren Gevor by KO11. He also stopped former IBF light middle champ Raul Marquez by RTD6 and made his final defense by stopping Mahir Oral by TKO10 in 2009. In between, he also stopped Miranda in a rematch, but at 168, in only 4 rounds and thus became the first guy to stop the tough Colombian. In October 2009, he entered the newly created Super Six tournament by beating Jermain Taylor by TKO12, but next year he suffered his first loss after 31 wins when he was disqualified in a fight against Andre Dirrell, in the 11th round, after punching him while he was down. Later that year, he was also outboxed by Carl Froch and lost all the 12 rounds in that fight. After also losing to Andre Ward by UD next year, he bounced back in August 2012 by winning the WBO title by UD against Robert Stieglitz. After one successful easier defense however, he was surprisingly stopped in a rematch with Stieglitz, by a corner retirement after 3 rounds. After winning 2 minor fights, he got his revenge over Stieglitz in the rubbermatch and once again won by UD and recaptured the WBO title. This time, he made 5 successful defenses, beating Paul Smith twice by UD, stopping Stieglitz by TKO6 in the fourth fight and finally, beating Martin Murray by SD. He finally lost the title against the much-taller Gilberto Ramirez in 2016, in Las Vegas, where he was soundly dominated and lost by 120-108 on all scorecards. In 2017, he fought Chris Eubank jr for the IBO title and after a mostly-listless performance, he lost by a wide UD again. His final fight was on 28 April 2018 and he surprisingly beat the younger Patrick Nielsen by SD to win the vacant WBO International title. His record is 47(30)-6-0.


4. Artem Dalakian


I have already written about him in detail, those who want that, go to my Ukrainian boxers rating thread. Dalakian is noteworthy because he beat Brian Viloria to win WBA flyweight title in 2018 and has since made 4 defenses of it. He is still undefeated at 20-0 with 14 ko's. He earns the no.4 spot because he is most likely the best active Armenian fighter-even though he was born in Russia, but as he is of Armenian ethnicity, he qualifies.


5. Vanes Martirosyan


Despite the fact that he has never won a world title, Vanes is still one of the most talented Armenian boxers and has only been beaten down to size once-in his last fight against Gennadiy Golovkin. A tough guy who could box and hit hard enough, Vanes was born in Abovyan, Armenia (a small town close to Yerevan), on 1 May 1986. His family moved to Glendale in California when he was 4 however and at the 2004 Olympics he represented USA, but was eliminated in the second round of competition, losing 11-20 on points to a Cuban. He turned pro next year, fighting as a light middleweight. In 2009, he defeated the solid Ukrainian Andrey Tsurkan by RTD6 and then beat Willie Lee by TKO3 to win the NABF and vacant WBO NABO titles. Next year in January, he defeated the former IBF champion Kassim Ouma by UD10, after being down once. In 2011, he had a famous war with Saul Roman and was first down in the first round before coming back to put down and stop Roman in the seventh. After decisioning the potentially-dangerous Richard Gutierrez, in 2012 he first beat Troy Lowry by TKO3 before fighting his biggest fight until then-against Erislandy Lara, in November in Las Vegas. An aggressive Martirosyan dominated the first 5 or 6 rounds before Lara started outboxing him, but the fight ended abruptly in round 9 when the two clashed heads and Martirosyan was badly cut. The result was a technical draw, since the judges were split. In November next year, he fought for the first time for a world title, vacant WBO one, against Demetrius Andrade and even though he had Andrade down once in the first round, eventually he lost by split decision. In 2014, he decisioned Willie Nelson and next year he dropped a 10-round decision to Jermell Charlo before scoring his final victory over Ishe Smith, by MD10. He fought Lara again in 2016 and this time fight went the distance and Lara retained his WBA and IBO titles with a unanimous, somewhat close decision. He took a year off before returning as a middleweight and fighting GGG on 5 May 2018, for his WBC, WBA and IBO titles. Even though he put up a good fight, he was stopped in round 2 after being hit with a combination following a big right hook. He retired after this devastating loss, aged 32. His record is 36(21)-4-1.


6. Levan Kirakosyan


A pure action fighter and a puncher was Levan "Leva" Kirakosyan. Although born in Gyumri (called Leninakan during Soviet era), Armenia, he fought out of Toulon, France, as a pro. Standing just above 5'5 (167 cm), Kirakosyan was deceptively strong and rather fast too. He was born 24 December 1973 and had his first pro fight in June 1999, losing it on points in 6 rounds. He then started winning and won his next 7 fights, also winning the Russian super feather title against Onik Arshakyan, by SD12. He then lost again to Sergio Blanco by a TKO2. It seems Kirakosyan was a "kill or be killed" type, very often when he failed to put his guy away or hurt his opponent first, he was taken out himself. He then beat Giuseppe Lauri, a famed Italian contender, by TKO3, before fighting Juan Urango in February 2004, in Spain. He lost by PTS8 but gained a valuable experience. Another disappointment happened that year when he took on Michael Gomez in a fight for the WBU title in Manchester and was stopped by TKO6. However, in his very next fight, he sensationally knocked out the tough puncher Carl Johanneson in only one round, in Crystal Palace. In March next year, he won the WBF title by SD against Athanas Nzau and defended it by RTD5 against Remigio Daniel Molina, who earlier fought Erik Morales and Naseem Hamed. In March 2007, he captured the European title by TKO3 against Portuguese Antonio Joao Bento and then again beat Carl Johanneson in his first defense, this time by KO4. Unfortunately, he lost the title already in his second defense, in an uneven decision against Siarhei Huliakevich, a technician from Belarus. In February 2010, he managed to recapture the Euro title by beating Scott Lawton by TKO3, which was probably his second best victory. He again made one successful defense by stopping Francisco Nohales by TKO2 in July, before losing it to Stephen Foster by TKO3 in October. He had only one more fight after that, in April 2012 and won it on points against a journeyman. He was supposed to mount a comeback, but it never materialized. Probably because he was already close to 40. His record is 34(23)-6-0.


7. Arsen Goulamirian


The only Armenian to capture a world title at cruiserweight, Goulamirian is another French-Armenian: born in Armenia on 4 October 1987, he came to France in 1999 and lived in Toulouse, where he trained for the local boxing club. He relocated to Big Bear in California and in 2009 won Games of La Francophonie tournament in Beiruth, as a heavyweight. He turned pro in 2011 and won his first 14 fights before winning the vacant WBA Continental cruiser title by TKO1 against veteran Lubos Suda, in March 2016. He defended it once, by UD against Andrei Kniazev. His great triumph came on 24 March 2018, at Palais de Sports in Marseille, when he beat the Ivorian-Belgian Ryad Merhy by TKO11 to capture the WBA interim title. Merhy was 24-0 coming in. On 20 October same year, he won the so-called WBA "Gold" title by stopping Mark Flanagan by TKO9. In the beginning of 2019, he was supposed to fight Beibut Shumenov, but the fight fell thru and instead, Goulamirian defended his title first in November, by KO4 against Kane Watts. His fourth title defense came at the tail end of the year against Constantin Bejenaru of Romania-Goulamirian won by RTD9. Despite also being presented as a viable challenger to Oleksandr Usyk, that fight didn't happen because Usyk moved up to heavyweight. Goulamirian's record currently stands at 26-0, with 18 ko's. However, he yet has to be properly tested and defeat a big name, that is why he is ranked at no.7. Until he does that.


8. Khoren Gevor


A really talented and quality fighter, who also possessed a very good chin and stamina, Gevor has had problems with getting decisions thruout his career however and has been on the wrong end of several controversial ones. He was always one of the best middleweight fighters in German boxing. He was born in Vagharshapat (also called Echmiadzin) in western Armenia, 16 March 1980. He started boxing at 12 and had an amateur record of 72 wins out of 75 fights. He is the stepfather of Noel Gevor. His real last name is Avetisyan. He turned pro in 2000 and scored two straight first-round TKO's. In his 12th fight, he fought the also undefeated Lukas Konecny and lost by a technical decision after 7 rounds, when an accidental butt ended the fight. One of the judges had it even. In the rematch, he was stopped, again in 7 rounds, by TKO-some have called it a premature stoppage. He then started winning and defeated Sergey Tatevosyan by UD8 in 2004. In December 2005, he won the vacant IBF and WBO Inter-Continental middle title by TKO8 against Gustavo Magallanes, who had a record of 28-0. He defended it by UD-ing the 17-0-1 Siarhei Khamitski. In August 2007, he challenged the IBF-champion and fellow Armenian-German Arthur Abraham and gave him a good fight but was knocked out in the 11th round. In November 2008, he scored his probably best victory when he stopped the solid Finn Armin Asikainen by TKO7 to win the vacant European title. He fought the WBA-champion Felix Sturm in July next year and it was a very close fight, but in the end Sturm won by UD. Quite many disagreed with the verdict. He then went up to 168 and in July 2010 challenged another WBA-champ Dimitri Sartison but lost by a clear UD. In April 2011, he challenged then-WBO champion Robert Stieglitz but was disqualified after 10 rounds, after being deducted a point in the 10th. After also losing to the clever Montenegrin-Serbian Nikola Sjekloca, Gevor's career was practically over. He continued fighting, but lost all his important bouts, the last one in 2019, against Giovanni De Carolis, by UD, which was for the WBC International title. His record is 34(17)-10-0. He has worked as a trainer also and presumably still does.


9. William Abelyan


Called "The Conqueror", his career didn't quite live up to that moniker, but he still has some very good wins on his resume. The 5'5 Abelyan was a very fast and aggressive fighter, but didn't possess serious power. Abelyan was born 27 September 1978 in Yerevan and started training boxing at the age of 12, with the Olympic flyweight bronze medallist David Torosyan. He relocated to Henderson, Nevada to start his pro career and had his first fight in February 1998, losing on points to Jose Antonio Vargas. After getting disqualified in the second fight, his career started to take off. He won 6 fights before again losing to Hector Lizarraga, former IBF feather champion, by UD10. In January 2000, he was stopped by top contender Victor Polo by TKO1. After that, in March 2001, he scored one of his two best victories when he beat the young Orlando Salido by UD6. In August that year came his second great win when he beat Guty Espadas jr by UD10, also dropping him twice. Espadas was the former WBC champion who gave Erik Morales a tough fight also. In his next fight, April next year, he also defeated Jesus Salud, former WBA super bantam champion, by another UD10. His rating started to elevate and in August same year he beat Orlando Soto by TKO10 to win the WBO NABO feather title. He defended it once by UD against Jose Luis Tula before vacating it to challenge the WBO champion Scott Harrison. He had to go to Glasgow to fight Harrison, on 19 June 2004. After getting rocked in the first round, he won the second by beating Harrison to the punch, but in the third he was caught by big punches and dropped twice, before getting stopped on his feet shortly thereafter. That fight pretty much put an end to his serious plans. He did come back to impressively knock out contender Martin Honorio in 4 rounds in his next fight, but in May 2005, he was stopped against Philip Payne by TKO10, after being down three times in the last round. After this fight, he was permanently suspended by Nevada Boxing Commission, because he suffered a subdural hematoma. Thus, he had no other choice but retire at the young age of 27 and with a record of 24(13)-6-1.


10. David Avanesyan


A top welterweight contender, who also briefly held the interim WBA title, Avanesyan has some good wins, but his most famous one was against a man no longer at his best: Shane Mosley. Despite being born in Russia and having Russian citizenship, he is of Armenian "stock". Born 15 August 1988 in Pyatigorsk in Stavropol County, southern Russia, Avanesyan turned pro in June 2009, before turning 21. He lost his second fight to Andrey Klimov on points. In 2011, he won the Russian title by UD10 against Ruslan Khayrtdinov and then also the interim WBC Youth Intercontinental title by TKO3 against Samuel Kamau. In 2012, he won the WBC Asian Boxing Council title by KO3 against James Onyango. He drew against Aslanbek Kozaev in 2013, in a fight for the WBC CIS and Slovac Boxing Bureau title. In 2014, he beat the former hot contender Kaizer Mabuza by UD12 and then relocated to Newark, Nottinghamshire, England. On 7 November 2015, he got to fight for the WBA interim title against Charlie Navarro and won by TKO9 to lift his so far only world title. Next year on 28 May, he fought Shane Mosley in his first defense and won convincingly by UD. He then got a fight for the full WBA title against Lamont Peterson on 18 February 2017 and after a fairly even and competitive fight, he lost by the scores of 112-116, 113-115 and 112-116. On 16 February 2018, he suffered his so far worst when he was stopped for the first time by Lithuanian puncher Egidijus Kavaliauskas, by TKO in the 6th round. He then scored his perhaps best victory when he took on the unbeaten Spanish puncher and European champion Kerman Lejarraga, in Lejarraga's hometown of Bilbao and defied all expectations by winning by TKO9. That was on 30 March 2019 and the rematch was held 28 September. This time, Avanesyan shocked everybody when he stopped Lejarraga in only one round after dropping him twice and stopping him on his feet. He also defended for the second time with a first-round ko, against Jose del Rio in Barcelona. He made his third successful defense by stopping Josh Kelly by TKO6 at Wembley, 20 February this year. He is slated to make his fourth defense on 2 October, against Liam Taylor. His record is now 27(15)-3-1.



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--- I'd rate AAbraham #1...just sayin'...


Noo waay! He's crap. :lmao: I hate Abraham, because he at 168 didn't fight hard enough. He also benefitted from fighting in Germany WAY too much! And by the way...I was wondering wether I would include Lemieux but only his mother is Armenian and he was born and raised in Canada. Whatcha think?

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