By Alexey Sukachev
Recently crowned WBA flyweight champion Artem Dalakian will make the first defense of his title on his native soil.
Coming back to Ukraine, Dalakian will defend his black belt versus experienced Thai import Sirichai Thaiyen, who is WBA #1 rated contender and Dalakian’s mandatory challenger.
The bout will take place on June 17 at the Parkovy Conventional Centre in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.
Dalakian, 30, is an ethnic Armenian, who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, but was relocated to Ukraine in his childhood following ethnic tensions in his original homeland.
He started his pro career in August 2011 but developed slowly up until this February, when he easily outboxed former multi-time light flyweight and flyweight champion Brian Viloria to capture the vacant belt. He is 16-0, 11 KOs.
An overly active Thaiyen, 27, also known as Yodmongkoel Vor Saengthep, started his career two years before Dalakian but has three and a half times more fights than his Ukrainian counterpart.
He has briefly held WBA interim title, first stopping Japanese Koki Eto in November 2013, then defending against Takuya Kogawa in March 2014 before being stopped by Argentinean veteran Juan Carlos Reveco in November 2014 for the WBA 'regular' title. He is 16-0, with 15 KOs, after that, including two early stoppages in 2018.
Thaiyen’s overall record is solid 50-3, 35 KOs.
Against Viloria, Dalakian was the aggressor from the opening round. The fighter connected with hooks and crosses from the outside. Dalakian used his awkwardness and aggression to his advantage, not allowing Viloria to get off or have him fight off his back foot.
As the bout progressed, Viloria's punch output began to drop. Rather than increase his aggression, he was relegated to attempting to counter Dalakian.
Dalakian dominated the action throughout the rest of the fight. All three judges scored the bout 118-109 for Dalakian.
"He's a very tough guy," said Viloria, after the fight. "It was a very, tough fight. He kept his distance. I could never get inside of him like I wanted to."