Melbourne-born boxer Manny Vlamis won the vacant Victorian Light Heavyweight title at Hisense Arena on Wednesday night, after defeating Victorian boxer Eric Diamandstein on a split decision from the judges.

Fighting on the undercard to the Danny Green-Roberto Bolonti fight, 33-year-old Vlamis, who is ranked eighth in his division in Australia, described the bout as a must-win fight for him.

“If I failed and didn’t win, people would say I lost to a guy who’s only had five or six fights. I had a lot of pressure on me to perform.”

Reflecting on his performance afterwards, Vlamis commented: “It wasn’t an A- class performance, maybe a B-performance. I did a lot of things I could’ve done a bit better. My fitness was good, my aggression was good. It’s hard to dance with someone who doesn’t want to dance with you. He was taking backward steps, he was trying to catch me with the counterpunching as I was coming in. He wasn’t really there, standing with me, punching on.”

In the end, Vlamis was happy to get the result. As for the title of Victorian Light Heavyweight belt holder, Vlamis has won it before, three years ago.
“I’m back to square one, where I was three years ago, but it’s a stepping stone. It does help you get other fights.”

By his own admission, Vlamis’s boxing career has been a bit stop-start. He’s had to take breaks to recover from injuries. He’s taken other breaks for his wife to have a baby, buy a house.

“Normal things in life. When these things come up in life, you’ve got to be responsible. You’ve got to put things in perspective.”

Working as a bricklayer-carpenter for a construction company during the day, he must somehow find time to cross-fit train two mornings a week and train each day after work in a Glenroy gym under trainer Daryl Ford. Having an understanding family helps.

Vlamis clearly loves the sport. “Boxing, you don’t get paid a lot of money at the domestic level so I’m not really doing it for the money. I’m doing it to fulfill the dream.”

Vlamis explains the dream as follows: “At the end of 2011, start of 2012, I was world rated in the top 15 by the WBA. I would like to get world rated again. Whether I can do that or not, we’ve made the right step by winning the Victorian title. That’s the first step..”

He believes a number of things need to happen for him to achieve world rating again. “I need to stay active, probably another one or two fights this year, so that I have four fights for the year. I need some people to get behind me, some corporate people to get behind me.”

He says that the boxers getting to the top level “have a very good team around them, good trainer, good promoter, good managers. They’ve got everyone working for them, as well as talent and a bit of luck. You’ve got to have everything working for you to get to your end goal. If you haven’t got that, it’s not going to happen. That’s how I feel.”