YEREVAN/USTI NAD LABEM, Czech Republic — Viktor and Erik Agateljan (Aghatelyan), are Armenian professional boxer brothers from Czech Republic. Born in 1994 and 1995 in the town of Ararat, Armenia, from childhood they live with their family in Ústí nad Labem in the Czech Republic.
Viktor, whose nickname is King, was trained in boxing and football since his childhood. He became the champion of boxing of Czech Republic for eight times. Currently he is working as a security guard in a night club and a personal coach of fitness and boxing.
Erik, whose nickname is Chosenboy, has been involved in boxing and football (soccer) since he was a child. He won the Czech title four times. In 2016 he won a gold medal at the Ústí nad Labem competition, and in 2017, he was named the best boxer in the Czech Republic in a poll conducted by the website profiboxing.cz.
Guys, I want to start our conversation with Muhammad Ali’s words: “I hated every minute of training, but I told myself, ‘Don’t give up, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” Have you ever had similar thoughts?
Viktor – Sometimes I feel I am done but I tell myself I have to go for my dreams on hard way. But because no one pushes me and I have to push myself all alone, that makes me more motivated to work hard.
Erik – I have had some similar thoughts; there is just one difference: I love almost every minute of training!
What are the main qualities a boxer should possess?
Viktor – Fighters have to have a big heart and skills, think fast, be strong and be motivated.
Erik – I think the main qualities are heart, bellicosity, meekness and the most important, loyalty.
Mike Tyson once complained that some young boxers are too business-oriented now. How are you “oriented?”
Viktor – There is a lot of fun between fights and after fights, but you do not have time for fun in the ring, because the real fight is not fun. Tyson is right. Today boxing is more of a business, but I do not think that it is wrong, as we need to do something to make a living.
Erik – I am looking at this as a sportsman and a businessman as well. Boxing touches me, but I am not at that age to fight for free anymore.
Can you share some funny moments from your sporting career?
Viktor – I think there was a lot of fun in boxing camp, but I am not sure if it is funny when I made pushups after a fight to show my opponent how tough I am.
Erik – I have so many funny stories from my career. Once, back in the amateur ring, I wanted to jump over the ropes and I fell. From that day on, I did not try it again, and I enter the ring like normal people do!
What do you like to do to train?
Viktor – I do lot of fitness, running, so I do almost everything. I try to do everything sometimes in the same day. I do like to spend time with my family, with my girlfriend, dancing and singing, including Armenian ones.
Erik – I am also spending a lot of time with my family and friends and also love to dance and sing!
Have you ever had any suggestions for appearing in other spheres — modeling, advertising, acting, etc.?
Viktor – I had a role once as a boxer in a movie, but it was just in some scenes, and I had also some offers for modeling.
Erik – Yeah, me too, I have got some experiences with acting in movies and modeling. I like it!
My daughter sometimes says she wants to attend a boxing school. What is your advise?
Viktor – I think it is good for girls to train in boxing, but I would not let my daughter go into the rink. However, I do not have kids yet, so I cannot tell for now (laughing).
Erik – Why not, boxing is a great cardio and a beautiful sport, but I would not let my daughter fight in a real boxing match!
Can people see your Armenian temperament in the ring?
Viktor – I think they can see it more in the real life, but in the ring it is also possible.
Erik – Of course they can, it is always different, when Armenian blood is in the ring!
Have you inherited your love for sport from your parents?
Viktor – My parents support me, when I go to the ring or to training, they always push me forward.
Erik – Both our parents used to do sports in their youth, so yes, they have had some role in that.
Your family left Armenia when you were child. What memories do you have from your homeland?
Viktor – I remember big onions in the soup in kindergarten (laughing).
Erik – Nothing, I was too young when my family left Armenia.
You speak Czech and English, what about Armenian? Do you keep Armenian traditions?
Viktor – Yes, I speak Armenian very well; I just cannot read Armenian, but I do not feel that is important. I can also speak Russian and German a bit. I will continue to learn some more languages for future.
Erik – We always talk in Armenian at home, so yes, Armenian is my mother language!
How long did you live in Australia and what was your experience?
Viktor – We lived in Sydney all together one year and a couple of months. First of all, I befriended our big boxing champion Vic Darchinyan, which was a dream. Australian boxer and coach Lincoln Hudson taught us lots of boxing skills, so I got a big experience in Australia.
Erik – That is true. We have learned so much in Australia. We have met a lot of great people. I could talk about Vic Darchinyan and Lincoln Hudson all day, how much they gave me and my brother.
Although you represent other countries, the Armenians always yell out your names. Do you feel it in the ring?
Viktor – First of all I represent myself in the ring and my family, now I represent Czech Republic and I love this country, but of course I will never forget where I am from.
Erik – I have felt that so many times and it is awesome!
Armenians are very active in Czech sports, especially in kickboxing. Do they feel part of a big Armenian family?
Viktor – I know some guys here and I am proud of them when I meet some sportsmen with Armenian background.
Erik – It is good to be a proud Armenian in my heart, but we should never forget for what country we are fighting.
What do you want to wish Armenian readers worldwide on the eve of upcoming year?
Viktor – I wish for all Armenians to have peace in their lives and have a better year than we had, and of course, stopping the war for good!
Erik – I wish for all Armenian readers and their families the best of luck, peace, and much love to everyone and a healthy new year.
Main photo: Victor-King and Erik-Chosenboy Aghateljan