Boxing is at times a family tradition. Viktor Demyanenko does not follow that trend. He was 267-13 as an amateur, won the 1980 Olympic Silver Medal for the Soviet Union in the lightweight division, and ended his fight career shortly after. At age 22, Viktor planned to stop the Demyanenko family’s involvement in the sport. The amateur standout did not compete professionally. Amateur boxers from the U.S.S.R. did not fight professionally at that time.
Viktor’s desire to stop boxing in the family was a personal choice and it is far from complete. Now Viktor’s son Vitaliy Demyanenko, who is not restrained by the policies of the Soviet Union, pursues the boxing dream. The 27 year-old is a 19-0 welterweight with 12 knockouts. Seventeen of his bouts took place in Eastern Europe, close to family and friends. In 2011, Vitaliy left his home in Kazakhstan and moved to the United States. He trains in Las Vegas.
“My dad told me to come back home. He told me, ‘You don’t need boxing anymore.’ Vitaliy said. “I told him I cannot go back home. I need to fight. My father is worried about me. But I need to fight.”
Vitaliy wants to make his family proud. He lives alone and trains in Las Vegas, far from the comfort of a home cooked meal. This Saturday will be Vitaliy’s first fight in nearly two years. He has had five training camps during the layoff but continues to stay the course, all more reason for his father to lure his prideful son back home.
“My dad knows that I have a very hard time over here. He says we don’t need this boxing anymore. He wants me to go back home and that’s it. But God helps me you know. I would not be in this position without God.“
Tomorrow Demyanenko fights Ayi Bruce (21-5) at the Bally’s Park Palace Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. His hope, like many aspiring champions, is to get bigger fights. Boxing 360 promotes Demyanenko. Vitaliy says Boxing 360 has helped him rebuild a foundation in boxing.
“It was tough to leave home with nothing. I have family here in the States but no one lives close. I have an aunt in Buffalo. I hope I get bigger fights. I have to win this fight first and then we will see you know. I want to see my friends. They are calling me everyday. I have not been home for a year. I want to see my hometown. “