VAGGELIS HATZIS: The Greek boxer with only one hand who dealt with cancer and bullying

Vaggelis Hatzis

VaggelisOne of the best Greek boxers, who unfortunately few know of, is Vaggelis Hatzis.

What even fewer know of is that he has only one hand.

If boxing is a difficult sport, for Vaggelis it is much more difficult as he is single-handed, in fact most of his right arm is amputated.

Everything against him

The Greek boxer was born at the time of the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and was one of the victims of radioactivity.

Shortly after his birth, less than a month old, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, without specification given to what caused it.

According to doctors, it was probably due to the radiation he was exposed to when he was just an embryo, or perhaps from food eaten that was contaminated with radioactive rain.

At the age of three months old he traveled to Boston for surgery, where he lost half of his right arm to stay alive.

Bullying and the "Cobra"

At 33, however, he is the only one-handed boxer in the world and one of the three in martial arts in general - but his path was not paved with flowers.

Because of his amputation, he was ruthlessly bullied as a child by his peers and when he got a prosthesis, the nickname "Captain Hook" was born, inspired by the pirate with a hook hand on "Peter Pan".

As a boxer, however, he is now known in the sport as "Cobra".

His own way

At the age of 21, Hatzis chose the difficult path of exile, going to Nottingham in the United Kingdom where his sister lived to be able to compete as a one-handed boxer. "No prophet in his place, after all," as the saying goes.

Returning to Greece and already having ten years on his back as a professional boxer, he now works as a boxing coach for the AEK team and comes into daily contact with the next generation of boxers.

At the same time, with his return to Greece in 2014, he gave his first fight with Tassos Iliopoulos, whom he defeated.

The whole stadium applauded him and he said that this was his recognition in Greece that he was a boxer.

In addition, he is the first coach in Greece to deal with boxing for people in wheelchairs.

The "wind" and the "cloud"

In speaking to Impact Talk, Hatzis recounted an incident from his childhood and a conversation he had with his grandmother.

Once at a very young age he asked his grandmother, "what does it mean to be disabled?"

He suggested that they give a name to his left arm and one to his right amputated arm - they called the left and right arms "wind" and "cloud" respectively.

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