Publish Date: 02/20/2018
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Tom Loeffler’s “SuperFly” brainchild is set for a sequel, this time pitting Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39 KO’s), a 31-year-old hard-cracking southpaw from Thailand, against Mexico’s offensively versatile Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25 KO’s) in the main event. But like last time, the feature bout isn’t the only prizefight worth considering. On the untelevised portion of HBO’s showing, veteran Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria (38-5, 23 KO’s) will take on the up-and-coming, Artem Dalakian (15-0, 11 KOs).
Viloria is trying to maintain relevance as a world class operator, while Dalakian is attempting to breakout of obscurity and into the fray at 112. Beating the #10-ranked fighter in the division does just that for Artem, this month’s highlighted talent.
Dalakian’s background is one of unfamiliarity to most boxing fans, but it is known that he was born in Baku, Azerbaijan’s largest city and capital. As an ethnic Armenian, his family fled the country during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and moved to the Ukraine, where he became a fine amateur boxer, competing and representing the blue and yellow in the 2009 World Championships. Although he lost to Amnat Ruenroeng—who would later become a top-5 flyweight— in round one, he would continue to compete at a high level before entering the pros in 2011. During the course of his six-plus-year learning curve he has taken on largely nondescript opposition, with his most prominent victory being a points verdict over Angel Moreno, who boxrec lists as the 27th best flyweight around.
Artem, however, is currently riding a four-fight knockout streak, with stoppages over Robert Kanalas, Silvio Olteanu, Jozsef Ajtai and Luis Manuel Macias in Kiev.
The ability to obtain these premature endings rests on his flexible approach inside the ring: boxing when he needs to; applying pressure when the situation calls for it. His quick hands and feet simplify these acts, while his feints and educated jab force the openings to counter-punch. He likes to sway his torso to and fro with his hands low as he works, baiting his foes into leading. His technique is solid and, posture wise, looks like a good number of fighters we have seen come out of post-Soviet nations. And this should mesh well with Brian Viloria’s go-get-em method of attempting to break guys down via mostly single power shots.
Can we project Dalakian’s ability to well enough to make him a favorite over the well-known and beloved little man with a big punch? I think so.