Artem Dalakian continues to enjoy his time on the road.
The circumstances are not particularly desirable, but the unbeaten WBA flyweight titlist has grown accustomed to not having hometown advantage. That luxury is actually afforded his next opponent, mandatory challenger Seigo Yuri Akui, whom Dalakian faces this Tuesday on Amazon Prime-Japan and ESPN+ from EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.
“I like fighting on the road,” Dalakian told BoxingScene.com. “I like to travel, to see other countries and cultures, and to show off my boxing skills to a new audience.”
The 36-year old Azerbaijan-born flyweight will fight for just the third time outside of his adopted homeland in the Ukraine. Fighting there is not an option at least until there is a resolution to the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war. Dalakian fought on neutral ground in his previous outing, a twelve-round, majority decision win over Costa Rica’s David Jimenez (14-1, 11KOs), an unbeaten mandatory challenger when they met last January 28 in London.
Tuesday’s title defense is the seventh of a five-year reign that dates back to his first career road trip. Dalakian (22-0, 15KOs) won the vacant belt n a twelve-round decision over former two-division titlist Brian Viloria in February 2018 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Akui (18-2-1, 11KOs) will enter his first career title fight as the regional favorite. The 28-year-old from Kurashiki has spent his entire career in Japan.
“It doesn’t bother me,” insisted Dalakian. “Of course I would love to fight at home and more often, but Covid and the war in Ukraine forced me to make some hard decisions. I wlll make the most of this opportunity and look forward to retaining my title and making new fans in Japan.”
Dalakian-Akui airs in supporting capacity to the Kenshiro Teraji-Carlos Canizales lineal/WBC/WBA junior flyweight championship.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox