Next fight set for local

GLENDALE — Glendale's own Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan is back on track following a lower back injury suffered in late February. The Top Rank super welterweight's bout against Angel “Toro” Hernandez is back on as well.

Originally scheduled for March 28 in West Covina before it was scuttled by a flare up of spasms in Martirosyan's back, the fight with Hernandez (28-6, 16 knockouts) will take place at 6 p.m. on June 26 at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas.

The injury problems are far behind Martirosyan now and his only discomfort of late has been a combination of the itch to return to the ring and the climbing temperatures in Houston, where he is currently training for the 10-round co-main event to be televised live on the Versus Network.

“[Vanes] has never experienced this kind of heat before,” said Martirosyan's trainer Ronnie Shields of the oncoming summer in Houston, which has become Martirosyan's second home during training. “He's complaining a little bit about the heat, but he's working through it.

“[The back injury] is way behind him now. He's looking good and working hard and everything is going great for him right now.”

After the postponement of the March 28 bout, Martirosyan briefly returned to Glendale for about three weeks while he sought treatment and recovered from his injury.

“I did some therapy when I came back home,” the 22-year old Armenian native said. “I got a back massage and I went to see a doctor and chiropractor and they took care of it in, I would say, about a month ... It took a while.”

Martirosyan, a 2004 Olympian, made his professional debut in 2005 and has since amassed a record of 19-0 with 13 knockouts.

But he has not fought since Feb. 7, when he defeated Michi Munoz via third-round technical knockout at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Martirosyan also fought on Jan. 4 and had a total of six bouts in 2007

“I'm actually kind of mad because every day I wake up like, 'I wish today was the day I was fighting,'” Martirosyan said. “I've been in training camp for over three months now, so I just can't wait to get in there.”

The Munoz fight was also a co-main event bout and marked Martirosyan's headlining debut.

Now, with another high-profile co-main event on the horizon, the Top Rank fighter appears ready to resume the ascent he was on before the interruption.

“I'm more than 100% ready,” he said. “I'm so excited, I'm counting down the days until the fight.”


?GABRIEL RIZK covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3226 or at gabriel.rizk@latimes.com.

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