Daily Telegraph, Australia
May 3 2009


Australia's newest stealth fighter

By James Hooper
May 03, 2009 12:00am


IT is lunchtime on Thursday and Vic Darchinyan is cutting through the
busy Martin Place crowd with the swagger of a world champion, all
bling and bravado.

He might only stand 166cm, but with a $40,000 diamond-encrusted ring
on his left hand and a heavy golden boxing glove dangling around his
neck, you can't miss him.

Or so we thought. If this were Danny Green or Kostya Tszyu, there
would be cameras whirring and a mob lined up for autographs. But for
Darchinyan, it's a different story. Despite recently making the short
list for the prestigious Laureus world sportsman of the year award, he
is just another face lost in the hustle and bustle of cafes, buskers
and business people.

After a few minutes, a lone well-wisher rushes to congratulate the
IBF, WBA and WBC super-flyweight title-holder. Darchinyan smiles and
thanks him. No one else does so much as a double-take. It's some
reception for a fighter on the cusp of greatness. Consider
this. Darchinyan holds multiple titles, has amassed more than
$5million and is one of the hottest properties for US television
giant, Showtime.

In his native homeland of Armenia, or neighbouring Russia, he is feted
by politicians and sponsored by oil barons. By rights, when you stack
up the six world titles from his 34 professional fights - this
wrecking ball is entitled to be strolling around on his own planet.

Yet, in Sydney, he's so far under the radar he hardly registers a
blip. "You know, it doesn't bother me,'' Darchinyan said. "I can walk
around in Sydney and not so many people know who I am, but when I'm
overseas it's another story. In Armenia or Russia, everybody wants a
piece of me.

"Even in the States, the same. Yes, Australia is my home and I love
it. But if people don't recognise me, it's OK. I'm happy.''

If the Australian public could see inside Darchinyan's private
gymnasium at Chiswick, this story could have a totally different
slant. The image of a 56kg pocket rocket bench-pressing double his
body weight would be enough to command respect from the most hardened
gym-junkies.

Not since Marrickville Mauler Jeff Fenech has an Australian boxer
tried to win belts in three weight divisions. This is Darchinyan's
next challenge. Stepping up from super-flyweight to bantamweight, he
will meet IBF title-holder Joseph Agbeko in Miami on July 11.

Nicknamed "King Kong'', Darchinyan will need every ounce of dynamite
in his left hand to knock out Agbeko. If the Aussie southpaw wins,
entry into boxing's hall of fame beckons.

From there, the fighters Darchinyan wants to face is scary. Filipino
Manny Pacquiao and Mexican Israel Vazquez, who are regarded as two of
the best in the business, head the list.

If Darchinyan meets and beats these guys, the rest of Australia will
have to take notice.

Even in the tough school of Martin Place on a Thursday afternoon.

http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/ story/0,22049,25419870-5001023,00.html