Vaggelis Chatzis, the world’s only one-armed boxer, is among three Greek fighters who will participate in a spectacular mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing event organized by Greek sports enthusiast Cosmas Livanos in Miami, Florida on December 13.
Over a dozen first-class MMA fighters and boxers will compete in the “Global Legion FC” in front of a sold-out arena at Miramar Armory.
Chatzis had to have his right arm amputated because of a cancerous tumor when he was only three months of age. Against all odds, he grew up to become a professional boxer, in the ultimate true-life underdog story.
The Greek boxer will face American Michael pugilist Rycraft in what he describes as “the most important fight of my career until now.”
“I always had the dream of fighting in the U.S. and prove to myself that I can compete at the highest level,” Chatzis says.
“In this fight I must exceed myself twice: First, I must overcome my disability and second, I have to beat one of the best fighters.”
Chatzis says that Rycraft is the most difficult opponent he has faced in his professional career, but with the help of Greek-American fans he hopes he’ll be able to celebrate a victory which could open the doors to more fights in the United States.
“I train hard because I know that what other fighters can do with both arms, I need to do with just one,” he states matter-of-factly.
Chatzis says that he has enjoyed magnificent support from all the boxing fans in Greece. “Greece loves me and supports me. This gives me the strength to try even harder.”
“On December 13, I am not just fighting for myself, but also for my country, for people with disabilities and all my friends and supporters,” he stresses.
The Greek backer behind the event in Miami is Cosmas Livanos, a former punk rocker who turned his love for martial arts and boxing into a full-time job.
“I am not a managing agent in the traditional sense,” he told the Greek Reporter.
“My main preoccupation is with the athletes which are often used as gladiators in our sport, exploited to earn money for the agents and then discarded,” he added.
Global Legion, he says, is a competition primarily at benefitting the fighters. “We try to create an environment friendly to the athletes. Our motto is: ‘Home of the fighter’.”