By Francisco Salazar
INGLEWOOD - Artem Dalakian won a 12 round unanimous decision over Brian Viloria to win the vacant WBA flyweight title.
The 30-year-old Dalakian, who is seven years younger than Viloria, was the aggressor from the opening round. The fighter originally from Azerbaijan and now residing in the Ukraine connected with hooks and crosses from the outside.
Viloria (38-6, 22 KOs) stunned Dalakian with a right hand to the head, but was not able to follow up and connect with any significant punches. 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.
Viloria was able to counter Dalakian in round seven, landing a hard right hand that momentarily staggered Dalakian with less than a minute left in the seventh round. Viloria was unable to follow up.
One round later, Dalakian was deducted a point from referee Dr. Lou Moret for pushing down on the back of the head of Viloria, something Moret had previously warned Dalakian.
Dalakian dominated the action throughout the rest of the fight. To make matters worse for Viloria, an errant elbow from Dalakian opened a cut on his forehead.
"I'm very proud to be the newest champion from Ukraine," Dalakian said.
"I knew I was hurting him the whole fight. I want to unify with any of the other world champions. I loved fighting in the United States and I can't wait to come back and fight in Los Angeles."
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."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing