Thursday, June 01, 2023  |


Darchinyan to challenge Agbeko

Fighters Network

Vic Darchinyan plans to step up to the bantamweight division and challenge titleholder Joseph Agbeko sometime this summer, the unified 115-pound beltholder's promoter Gary Shaw told's Dan Rafael on Thursday.

The site and date of the proposed bout are not yet set, but U.S. cable network Showtime has agreed to show the bout, which would the latest in a series of bold moves by Darchinyan.

Agbeko, the IBF 118-pound titleholder, is a strong young boxer-puncher with a solid chin and an impressive record (26-1, 22 knockouts).

The Ghanaian is a risky fight for Darchinyan, a 33-year-old natural southpaw.

However, Darchinyan (32-1, 26 KOs), has uncommon strength and power for the sub-bantamweight divisions. He put that power – and his underrated boxing ability – to good use in recent months. The Australia-based Armenian knocked out Dmitry Kirilov and Cristian Mijares, to unify three junior bantamweight belts, and then stopped gutsy Jorge Arce in 11 rounds, all in a six-month span.

Darchnyan's schedule earned him a No. 10 rating in THE RING's pound for pound. It should also earn him a big payday, which one of the reasons the Agbeko fight is so risky.

If Darchinyan loses to the unknown Agbeko, he can kiss good-bye high-profile showdowns with the likes of 122-pound champ Israel Vazquez, former champ Rafael Marquez, and Nonito Donaire, the only fighter to have beaten him.

The question for Darchinyan is if he's going to step up in weight, why not go straight to 122 pounds and fight two of Mexico's finest in Vazquez or Marquez? Those are fights that would draw large crowds and earn Darchinyan lots of money and accolades if he won, which isn't out of the question considering the amount of punishment Vazquez and Marquez heaped on each other during their classic trilogy.

If Darchinyan were to lose to either Vazquez or Marquez, so what? His reputation wouldn't take a hit. He went up two divisions and got beat by pound-for-pound-ranked fighters.

However, if he loses to Agbeko, who many hardcore fans have never seen, he loses all the momentum he's built up over the past year.

But it's to Darchinyan's credit that he wants to challenge himself against a strong titleholder who is in his prime. I'm sure he would love to fight the likes of Vazquez but he's not going to wait around for the showdown to materialize. He wants to stay busy and he wants to do so against quality opposition, which is what Agbeko is.

If more elite fighters behaved like Darchinyan the sport would be in a better place.