By Alexey Sukachev
Artem Dalakian, a Ukraine-based ethnic Armenian, born in Baku, Azerbaijan, became clearly one of 2018’s biggest sensations when he beat much more heralded multi-time two-division world champion Brian Viloria on a wide unanimous decision in February.
He later followed it up with a dominant stoppage of 50-3 Thai Sirichai Thaiyen in June in his Ukrainian homecoming, and now plans to cap off the best year of his developing career with his second title defense.
Dalakian, a 31-year old former amateur star, will risk his belt against WBA Dominican veteran Gregorio Lebron (21-4, 16 KOs) in a fight, that is set to take place at the Parkoviy Convention Centre in Kiev on December 15.
Lebron, nicknamed Piche Malo, is 36 years of age. He debuted as a pro in 2011 and lost via kayo to Luis Cosme in his first ever professional bout. He got on track later on, scoring a string of wins in his native land, culminating in the first-round kayo of 39-16-1 former world title challenger Domingo Guillen. That earned him a shot at the vacant WBA interim 112lb title, which he had lost on a narrow decision to 17-year old Thay Yutthana Kaensa in July 2015.
He came back to Thailand half a year after that to drop to Kaensa another very close call. Lebron is 8-0, 5 KOs, since coming to the Dominican Republic after that.
The event is promoted by Dalakian’s handlers from the Union Boxing Promotion, led by Yuri Ruban.
The card also features several local talents in less exciting match-ups versus inferior opposition, including two heavyweight six-rounders. RSA-based Vladisav Sirenko (9-0, 8 KOs) will see action against Argentinean journeyman Manuel Alberto Pucheta (41-12, 34 KOs), while Germany-based Olexander Zakhozhiy (9-0, 7 KOs) battles Brazilian strongman Irineu Beato Costa Junior (19-8, 17 KOs). Also scheduled to see action are two 10-0-1 prospects: super featherweight Igor Magurin and super middleweight Igor Kudritskiy.