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Darchinyan hits the bull's-eye in win

Armenian boxer stops Mexico's Mijares in the ninth round to add WBC, WBA 115-pound titles to his IBF belt.

November 02, 2008|Bill Dwyre | Dwyre is a Times staff writer.

It's hard to be a raging bull when you weigh only 115 pounds, but Vic Darchinyan lived up to the nickname Saturday night.

A 32-year-old Armenian boxer who lives in Australia, Darchinyan took a 30-1-1 record into a fight at the Home Depot Center in Carson that he was supposed to lose to Mexico's Cristian Mijares (36-3-2).

On most cards, Darchinyan didn't even lose a round.

After he had hit Mijares, 27, with about 200 hard lefts, including one that knocked him down in the first round, Darchinyan chased Mijares across the ring as the ninth round of the scheduled 12 was about to end. As Mijares ran backward, Darchinyan chased and caught him with yet another solid left. Mijares went down, flat on his back. Referee Lou Moret started to count, then saw Mijares wasn't stirring much and waved the fight to an end.

The victory unified three alphabet-soup sanctioning divisions -- IBF, WBC, WBA -- the latter two of which had Mijares as champ. So it's reasonable to consider Darchinyan the best super flyweight in the world.

"From the first round, I promised I would fight smart, would destroy him with the left," he said. "I just thank God it wasn't like Burgos, because he took a lot of lefts, too."

In the same ring on March 3, 2007, Darchinyan beat Victor Burgos, a bout stopped in the final round. Soon, Burgos was taken to the hospital with brain injuries, and he is still in therapy trying to recover from that.

Mijares made it to the news conference afterward, cuts under both eyes, and said, "No excuses. He's a great champion."

If Darchinyan's wild attacks weren't enough for the 3,076 fans who showed up on a rainy night and left the bulk of the seats in the Home Depot Center tennis stadium empty, then the semi-main event was.

In that one, 25-year-old Olympian Andre Dirrell, a bronze medalist in Athens in 2004 with a 16-0 pro record and a great future, ran into another raging bull, a 167-pound Russian named Victor Oganov. Oganov is 32, entered with a record of 28-1, all 28 wins by knockout, and fought in a style best described as a bull in a China closet.

Oganov only moved forward. He took shot after shot and kept coming forward. In the first round, Dirrell got him up against the ropes and threw at least 25 uninterrupted hard punches. The flurry ended mostly because Dirrell's arms started to go limp. Oganov, more like a brick building than a person, shrugged and started coming forward again.

Finally, in the sixth round, with Dirrell having won the previous five on all three judges' cards, Dirrell got Oganov against the ropes and staggered him slightly. That was enough for referee Ray Corona, who stopped the fight.

Oganov, battered and bloody and still wanting more, mouthed a curse word to Corona several times and the crowd, upholding boxing's standards for blood thirst, booed the referee.

Corona said later he had seen Oganov punished enough.

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bill.dwyre@latimes.com.

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