Legend Fenech likes former circus acrobat; Boxer is 4-0, 4KOWritten by Leroy Cleveland
An international performer, Victor Odindo had spent 12 years travelling with the circus before leaving the gig to settle down in Australia; But it wasn't boxing that changed his mind.
A native Kenyan, Odindo had fallen in love with an Australian woman, gotten married and had a child. No longer could he travel around the world. It was 2014 and his circus days had ended in favor of a brand new life.
Boxing will get you back in shape?
Victor picked up presumed menial work at building sites before something odd happened. For whatever reason, Odindo's wife thought her husband needed to incorporate a workout into his daily regimen as a replacement for the athletic activity he hadn't been getting since he quit was circus.
Was Odindo getting a gut? Who knows?
His wife found a local boxing gym and asked coach Aaron Smith if he'd train her husband and presumably help get him back in shape.
But ... Odindo was a natural.
"Victor rocked up and we were training at the local fitness centre at Tanunda and on the squash court," Smith told ABC News Australia.
"It looked like he'd done boxing before, to be honest, and I had to ask him because I actually thought he might have been one of the Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games athletes who had defected, because I have come across them before."
Coach Smith suggested Odindo compete but the latter had never had an interest in the Sweet Science and was uncomfortable harming opponents. Nevertheless, although causing nose bleeds and unleashing knockouts in the gym made him feel like a bad person, he decided to give boxing a try.
"I've seen the way he trains people, the way he does his work in boxing and he's got experience, and as soon as I saw that I had no doubt," Odindo told ABC News Australia.
"If he sees something in me, there must be something in me."
Now 31, Odindo, a super welterweight, would turn pro in March 2016, winning his first bout by knockout. And since then, he's had 3 more fights and 3 more KO wins.
"He's got the power. He's got the strength. He's got the agility. All would have come from his acrobatics," Smith proudly claimed.
"You can imagine the timing that you have to have when you're being catapulted off a see-saw 3 or 4 metres in the air and landing on somebody's shoulders. You have to be very precise and that's what he is.
"But he's also a hard worker... He'll come to the gym from work in his car, pull his bike out, ride 7 kilometres home, then jog 7 kilometres back, train for an hour-and-a half, then drive home, so he'll do that off his own bat."
Fight legend Jeff Fenech is impressed
After personally watching Odindo's fourth pro bout in Melbourne last October, three-time world champion Jeff Fenech chimed via ABC News Australia:
"... Wow, what an amazing prospect for a kid who had never boxed in his life obviously, who is very athletic in his previous job."
"He's certainly got some ability in the boxing ring."
"He's fighting guys who are bigger than him, more experienced than him and he's knocking them all out."
"I don't know any champions who could say that, especially when you consider he's also fought out of his weight class too and against guys who are 7or 8 inches taller than him.
"He's like a little Mike Tyson, in that he's giving away height and weight."
"Some guys are just born to do things. Some are gifted. I think he's certainly gifted."
Not the first circus performer...
Victor Odindo isn't the first ex circus performer to box and wouldn't be the first to hit the big time.
During the 1980s and 90s, Mexican and former circus star Jorge Paez (79-14, 5, 52 KO) fought numerous times on mainstream TV in the States, became a boxing star and collected WBO and IBF featherweight titles.
In fact, Paez's nickname of "El Maromero" is in honor of the somersault (referred to in Spanish as "maroma") acts he performed at the circus. And it was in the circus that he learned acrobatic moves he would later use in the boxing ring.
Of course, Paez was also known for being a wild character of sorts with crazy hair and a WWE-like persona. He wasn't Hall of Fame material but was highly entertaining and a heck of a fighter... A true champion by any stretch.
Paez's career spanned from 1984 to 2003 and he fought the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Pernell Whitaker, Troy Dorsey, Tony Lopez, Tracy Spann, Rafael Ruelas, Freddie Pendleton, Danny Romero, Jorge Ramirez, Genaro Hernandez, Lupe Suarez and Calvin Grove.
Maybe there's something to this circus thing and boxing after all.
Remember this guy? So great for boxing