Australian Vic Darchinyan is confident ahead of his WBA title fight in California

Saturday, December 03 2011 @ 04:37 PM EST

Contributed by: Don Winner

AUSTRALIAN Vic Darchinyan will fight Panama's champion Anselmo Moreno on Sunday (AEDT) for the World Boxing Association bantamweight title in California in a bout that could be a watershed moment for the 35-year-old. Darchinyan, after accumulating a stash of world-title belts in the flyweight and super flyweight divisions, has stumbled twice after stepping up to the heavier bantamweight division. He lost to Ghana's Joseph King Kong Agbeko in 2009 and in a controversial split decision against Mexican-born Abner Mares in 2010. Agbeko and Mares will fight in Sunday's main event at the Honda Center.

Moreno is just 26 and is a defensive fortress, losing just one fight (a split decision in a four round contest when he was 17-years-old). Moreno's 31 wins came with just 11 knockouts, a vanilla record compared to Darchinyan's lethal 27 knockouts in 37 wins. ``He's scared to get hit,'' Darchinyan said. ``I'll jump on him and pressure him like no one he's ever fought before and I'm going to try and knock him out in the first round.''

Moreno says ring intelligence, not brawn will conquer Darchinyan. ``I'm looking forward to showing my intelligence and style of boxing,'' Moreno responded.

It is brawn that Darchinyan, who grew up wrestling in his native Armenia under the tutelage of his father, an Olympic wrestling coach, will also take to the MMA cage next year. It is something Shaw is looking forward to. ``Vic will be a riot in the MMA,'' Gary Shaw, Darchinyan's promoter, said.

Shaw joked that he may have troubled holding onto the increasingly popular fighter - with Darchinyan posing for photos with Don King, the cigar sucking veteran promoter with vertical grey hair, and Oscar De La Hoya, the former world champion boxer with Hollywood looks who has become one of the sport's top promoters. ``Oh OK. I see. You're trying to steal my fighter,'' the silver-haired Shaw said in his Jersey accent. Darchinyan smiled. So did King and De La Hoya. Shaw also broke into a grin, although in the cut-throat world of boxing promotion, stealing fighters is as common as left hooks in the ring. Of course, Shaw's dig was in jest. If there is one relationship in the boxing world that is built on respect it is the one that Darchinyan and Shaw have. They don't have contracts and it works. Darchinyan has similar arrangements with his trusted inner-circle. ``He's my good friend, and I mean friend,'' Shaw says. ``We have dealt on handshakes for years and years.''

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