By Mesuli Zifo
South African fighter Evans Mbamba has vowed to avenge the defeat of his compatriot Mzukisi Sikali when he takes on Vic Darchinyan at Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex in Yerevan, Armenia on Saturday.
Then an unbeaten swashbuckling 29-year-old, Darchinyan engaged in an action- packed battle of southpaws against the late Sikali for the IBO/IBF flyweight unification clash in Sydney, Australia on 27 March 2005.
Sikali held his own and although he was behind on points he still had a shot to win the fight when he suddenly turned his back in the eighth round and quit, leaving his promoter Rodney Berman furious.
While a rematch was arranged before Sikali was attacked and stabbed to death by thugs in his Port Elizabeth home, the reality was that the South African would have probably stood little chance of avenging the defeat against the then rising southpaw Armenian-born “Raging Bull “as he had a history of struggling against fellow left- handers.
Darchinyan went on to cement his status as the best flyweight in the world until he was toppled by one Nonito Donaire via a fifth round knockout in 2007.
The Australian who is now 35 years old has continued with his impressive run in the junior bantamweight where he won all three major world titles before moving up to the bantamweight division to partake in the Showtime Super Four tournament, losing to newly crowned IBF champion Abner Mares.
Although he atoned himself with a beatdown of former IBF king Yonnhy Perez, Darchinyan is still looking for a big win to catapult him back into marquee fights.
While waiting for that opportunity he has decided to take on the relatively unknown Mbamba back in his home country of Armenia.
Mbamba who fell short in a WBC interim junior bantamweight shot against Mexican Tomas Rojas in his lone loss in 19 bouts, sees the fight as an opportunity to avenge Sikali’s defeat to Darchinyan.
“Sikali was a southpaw like me and Darchinyan is also a left hander so you can see that there are plenty of similarities here,” he said.
“I know he takes me lightly because he has never seen me in action and the fact that he knocked out Rojas who beat me must surely be an added confidence to him but that is where he will be making a big mistake.”
The 27-year-old Mbamba is also hoping to put his youth advantage into good use against the perceived ageing Darchinyan to score a big upset eclipsing Donaire’s stunning win over the Raging Bull.