Annie ‘The Lioness’ Aroyan steps again into the ring in Dubai with an eye fixed on changing into world champion
Few sports activities present such inspirational tales as boxing. The rise of a younger lady from a small Armenian village to turn into Annie “The Lioness” Aroyan is the right instance.
“My mom would borrow cash from the neighbours and he or she would give it to me and say, ‘It’s important to go to pay for coaching’,” she mentioned. “I promised myself that I might not hand over. Numerous laborious issues occur in life, however I preserve wanting ahead.”
On Saturday, March 12, the 22-year-old tremendous bantamweight will step into the ring on the Grand Ballroom in Dubai’s Conrad Resort to tackle Saranyaphong Theinthong of Thailand, at the “Countdown to the Center East Crown – Boxing Collection 3”.
The occasion, promoted by DJMC Occasions and Crew Roshan Sports activities Promotion, additionally features a conflict between Urvashi Singh of India and Halima Vunjabei of Tanzania for the vacant Girls’s Worldwide Boxing Affiliation World Tremendous Bantam belt, within the first ever feminine world title struggle within the UAE.
It’s been a quick rise for somebody who didn’t take up boxing till the age of 15.
“Earlier than, in 2008, I began doing karate,” Aroyan mentioned from her coaching base at Dubai’s Actual Boxing Solely health club. “I did 5 years and I used to be champion of Armenia. Then the health club in our village acquired closed down. So I needed to go to a different metropolis to proceed my karate coaching.
“There, they’d karate and boxing coaching subsequent to one another. I felt extra of a reference to boxing, so I mentioned I wish to transfer to boxing. My mother mentioned: ‘Why? you’re already a blue belt.’ However I mentioned no, I can really feel that in boxing I can develop extra.”
It didn’t take her lengthy to make her mark on the beginner boxing scene in her nation.
“In 2015, after six months, I turn into the champion of Armenia in boxing. So I moved to nationwide group. And from then, I began considering I might attain a excessive stage as a result of even my dad and mom and coaches have been saying: ‘You’re made for boxing, you may have lengthy arms, you’re tall on your weight’, and I’ve good energy.”
“I participated in Bulgaria in 2017, and in 2019 I participated in World Championship in Russia. I used to be a three-time Armenian champion, junior and youth in 2015, 2016 and 2017.”
None of this might have occurred with out the assist and religion of her household, Aroyan mentioned.
“No matter I say, they by no means say no. I’m not from a wealthy household and typically, to be sincere, we don’t have the cash.”
“My mother is the largest supporter and he or she is the explanation I’m in Dubai and boxing,” she mentioned. “I got here right here to Dubai and I educated right here for a number of days. And she or he mentioned, keep right here and make your life. I thank my mom for her efforts and assist. She all the time supported me, and my father, my brother all the time supported me, as properly.”
The laborious work and sacrifices paid off. Aroyan amassed greater than 70 beginner fights, earlier than turning skilled.
Like different boxers from her nation, she needed to go overseas earlier than making that step up, transferring to Dubai in 2019.
“In Armenia there was no skilled boxing. I all the time watched our boxers like Arthur Abraham, Vic Darchinyan, they have been by no means beginner, they straight moved to being skilled. In Armenia the federal government doesn’t assist boxing a lot. So I used to be considering I’ll lose years by staying beginner. I made a decision to show skilled. I don’t know why, however I really feel significantly better as an expert.”
She has a report of six wins out of seven skilled fights, and in April 2019 she fought what’s so far is her favourite bout but, in opposition to Thai boxer Nongnun Sor Praithong in Dubai.
“It was my fourth struggle, at Emirates Golf membership, the opponent was excellent and it was a 50/50 struggle,” Aroyan mentioned. “However I gained in 4 rounds, and I gained 48-36. It was very powerful.”
She has not fought since 2019, and he or she is eager to make up for misplaced time.
“Due to COVID and a hand damage I used to be in Armenia, however my coach and I at the moment are working laborious and I’m prepared for the March 12 struggle.
“I’ve been working with my coach Waleed Din. We did energy conditioning, we did correct coaching, it was a correct camp.”
Subsequent Saturday, she is combating six rounds of two minutes every in opposition to Theinthong in a struggle that might propel her towards her subsequent aim in boxing.
“My goal is all the time to maneuver one step ahead, and my subsequent step is a title struggle,” Aroyan mentioned, a goal she may obtain in Could. “I wish to be the very best in my weight class, I wish to be a world champion. I’m 22 years previous, and once I see different boxers, who’re 30,35, 38, they’re all telling me, ‘you may have an excellent future,’ all of them see a future champ.”
She has ambitions past changing into a champion and, not surprisingly, they embody going again to her roots in Armenia.
“My dream is to be a world champion, in fact, and assist my household,” she mentioned. “After I’m achieved boxing, I wish to be a promoter, I wish to assist youngsters from my nation flip skilled.”