Fighting to win and simply fighting to survive are two completely different things. Karen Chukhadzhian now understands that.
January 7th was a huge moment for Chukhadzhian’s career. In the co-feature on the night, both he and Jaron Ennis took the stage. With the Philadelphia star being pumped as the welterweight division’s next big thing, a showcase-worthy highlight reel was the likely fate of Chukhadzhian.
Ennis did his best to deliver. He stalked Chukhadzhian around the ring and put everything he had into every shot. The 27-year-old Ukrainian fought tenuously, using perpetual movement to offset Ennis’ offense.
It was all about defense that night. And while it didn't result in him winning, in fact, he lost every round on all three judges' scorecards, Chukhadzhian (22-2, 12 KOs) didn’t embarrass himself by being carried out on a stretcher.
Still, going the distance doesn’t prompt the release of celebratory balloons and confetti. Whether it was the moment that got to him or just a huge chink in his own armor, Chukhadzhian went back to the drawing board. So far, he's seemingly corrected his faults.
Just three months after losing a noncompetitive decision to Ennis, Chukhadzhian blew Michel Marcano out of the water, stopping him in the second round. Defensive responsibility is a big key to his victories, but being more mindful and creative on the offensive end is what could take Chukhadzhian to the next level.
“We're working on our fighting style,” said Chukhadzhian to BoxingScene.com. “During Jaron fight, we see that we need more work on attack. Show more aggressive boxing. We can move but it’s not enough to win.”
There’s still plenty of time left in the year for Chukhadzhian to squeeze in one more fight. The only problem, many of the more recognizable names in the welterweight division are currently tied up. Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. are officially throwing down in a few weeks. Keith Thurman and Yordenis Ugas, in the meanwhile, have a tentative clash coming in the near future. One person, however, who’s dying to step back into the ring is Eimantas Stanionis.
Following three consecutive fallouts with Vergil Ortiz Jr., Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs) has yet to defend his WBA “Regular” title since grabbing said crown in April of 2022.
To a large extent, Chukhadzhian reveres Stanionis wholeheartedly. Although he doesn’t have a single bad word to say about the secondary champion, the 27-year-old would love to get the next shot against him.
“I would be happy to fight Stanionis. He’s a great fighter. He has power, he has stamina. He’s champion of the WBA and every boxer in the world wants to be a champion.”