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 proper 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 quit. A lot of laborious issues occur in life, however I maintain 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 Sequence 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 Ladies’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 fitness center. “I did 5 years and I used to be champion of Armenia. Then the fitness center in our village bought closed down. So I needed to go to a different metropolis to proceed my karate coaching.
“There, that they had 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 newbie boxing scene in her nation.
“In 2015, after six months, I turn into the champion of Armenia in boxing. So I moved to nationwide workforce. And from then, I began pondering I might attain a excessive degree as a result of even my mother and father and coaches had been saying: ‘You’re made for boxing, you have got 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 could have occurred with out the help 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 generally, 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 skilled 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 help. She at all times supported me, and my father, my brother at all times supported me, as nicely.”
The laborious work and sacrifices paid off. Aroyan amassed greater than 70 newbie 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 at all times watched our boxers like Arthur Abraham, Vic Darchinyan, they had been by no means newbie, they straight moved to being skilled. In Armenia the federal government doesn’t help boxing a lot. So I used to be pondering I’ll lose years by staying newbie. I made a decision to show skilled. I don’t know why, however I really feel significantly better as knowledgeable.”
She has a file 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 superb and it was a 50/50 struggle,” Aroyan mentioned. “However I received in 4 rounds, and I received 48-36. It was very robust.”
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 power conditioning, we did correct coaching, it was a correct camp.”
Subsequent Saturday, she is preventing six rounds of two minutes every in opposition to Theinthong in a struggle that would propel her towards her subsequent purpose in boxing.
“My goal is at all times to maneuver one step ahead, and my subsequent step is a title struggle,” Aroyan mentioned, a goal she may obtain in Might. “I wish to be one of the 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 have got a very good 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 help my household,” she mentioned. “After I’m finished boxing, I wish to be a promoter, I wish to assist children from my nation flip skilled.”