Inked across Artem Oganesyan’s heart is the depiction of a monument entitled, ‘We are our mountains’. The two figures, hewn from volcanic rock, are an imposing sight, stoic in their command of the land they oversee and unyielding to the punishing elements.
“My tattoo is a symbol of Artsakh, my homeland in Armenia, representing the indigenous people of this land,” the 154lbs prodigy told Boxing Social. As a piece of art, it perfectly mirrors Oganesyan’s essence in the ring; imperial in style and masterful in execution.
Life for this formidable southpaw began in typically modest surroundings among a working class family in Russia. “I was born in Moscow to an Armenian family. From childhood, my father taught my brother and I to play sports and did everything for our development. I never needed anything, for which I thank my parents,” said Oganesyan, who is being guided by Eye Of The Tiger Management in Montreal, Canada.
“I started boxing when I was 10 years old. Since my brother and I often fought, my father decided to take us to a boxing gym so that we would leave our aggression in the gym! From the first training session, I fell in love with the sport.”
The result of this intervention by his father was life-changing. Oganesyan’s natural ability was quickly spotted and honed in the national team’s amateur ranks, resulting in an 88-1 record featuring an astonishing 65 knockouts. Titles inevitably followed; Oganesyan became Russian national champion four times as well as winning the European and World Junior Championships.
“For several years, I was the number one of the Russian national team, but then I had disagreements with the national team coaches,” he said. “They asked me to change to a different weight category, which was not interesting to me at that time. And besides, my dream was not Olympic gold but belts in professional boxing.”
Despite it being common for Russian and former Soviet bloc fighters to remain entrenched in the amateur boxing scene for many years, Oganesyan took the unusual decision to make his professional debut at the tender age of 17.
“I can’t say that I have just one certain style,” said Oganesyan (11-0, 9 KOs). “I can be different in battles, I can make it a smart game or a power fight. But people talk about my speed. I am always confident in my abilities and, when I enter the ring, I am always confident in my victory.”
Handspeed and a cool head are most definitely attributes that Oganesyan is blessed with, but it’s not just these that catch the eye. His prowess as a counter-puncher, alongside his impressive footwork, head-snapping jab and all-round agility, should make him a threat to the 154lbs division in the years to come.
With exceptional prospects such as Israil Madrimov, Sadriddin Akhmedov, Abass Baraou and Serhii Bohachuk all looking the part as they climb the super-welterweight rankings (not to mention the current champions in a wide-open weight class), Oganesyan could become a major player in a golden era.
“I am never scared of anybody, I will be ready to fight anyone. If I set a goal, I will do anything to reach it and stay focused, especially when I’m surrounded with good people that I trust,” the 20-year-old told Boxing Social. “My plan is to follow the instructions of my promoter and I’m sure we will reach the top. I want any champion [at] 154lbs. I think it will happen sometime in the next two to three years.”
‘Son Of The King’ is the other tattoo inscribed across his chest. The battle for 154lbs supremacy looks like it will be fierce, but don’t bet against Oganesyan emerging with the crown.