Arthur Biyarslanov is a Russian born Chechen who made Canada his home in 2005. Now he is fighting for Canada tonight in what is sure to be an exciting gold medal Pan Am bout. Biyarslanov’s fight for survival started long before it happened in the ring.
Arthur Biyarslanov was a preschooler when his family made a terrifying escape to the border, in order to leave war-torn Chechnya in southern Russia for the neighbouring Azerbaijan. His mother gave money and her children’s legal documents to Chechen soldiers in case she couldn’t keep up. If she didn’t make it, at least they would have a better life. 300 people were with them when they left, only 150 made it.
“The soldiers were carrying me and running with me, taking us to a safe place. I could hear bombs exploding and bullets whizzing by us. They asked me my name and I told them my name is Nohcho Borz, Nohcho Borz, it means Chechen Wolf. You’re supposed to be scared of the wolf, but my father told me you’re supposed to be like a wolf. So I was Nohcho Borz.” That name would follow him into the ring.
Two weeks before the Pan Am Games, Biyarslanov moved into Atlas Boxing Club where he trains, and made it his home. He slept in the middle of the ring every night, focusing his intentions on winning gold. His dedication and focus seem to be paying off.
Biyarslanov started the Pan Am Games with a definitive win over an Argentinian light welterweight (64 kg) named Lucas Gimenez. By the third round he showed no signs of fatigue and almost KO’d Gimenez twice. Gimenez’s only saviour from Biyarslanov’s devastating right hook, his favourite punch, were two standing eight counts.
Then on Wednesday evening he was matched with another challenging opponent, Venezuelan Luis Arcon Diaz, silver medalist at the Worlds and bronze medalist at the Olympics. The Chechen Wolf worked Diaz over, with precision right jabs, straight lefts and inside combinations. Diaz’s efforts included low blows and shots after the break, while countering as Biyarslanov moved in. With Diaz having a longer reach, moving inside was a smart decision on behalf of Biyarslanov.
Now Biyarslanov is anxious to finish what he started. Tonight he fights a formidable Cuban fighter, Yasnier Toledo. Toledo won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and is a two-time world championship silver medallist. Is The Chechen Wolf apprehensive about his opponent’s experience?
“He’s just a human being just like I am,” Biyarslanov said. “I’m not scared of any human being, the only person I’m scared of is God. I don’t care who it is. I’m going in there and show him who The Chechen Wolf is.”