Boxer set for next bout

GLENDALE — Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan's next fight is set for Feb. 7 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, a 12-round affair in which opponent Billy Lyell will make the first defense of his North American Boxing Council Inter-Continental Middleweight title.

The bout, part of the undercard of the WBA, WBC and IBF super flyweight championship unification showdown between fellow Armenian native Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce, is the first-ever title shot for the 22-year old Martirosyan, who began his pro career in 2005.

“I'm very excited, it should be a good fight,” said Martirosyan, who is coming off an 80-second knockout of Charles Howe on Nov. 1. “[Darchinyan] is my countryman, it's an honor to fight [on the same card] with him.”

In addition to being a return to his roots, Martirosyan (22-0, 14 knockouts) and his handlers at Top Rank Promotions hope this fight will be a step toward a new frontier for the up-and-coming fighter, as well.

It will be his first fight in Southern California in just over 13 months, since winning a unanimous decision over Clarence Taylor at the Alameda Swap Meet on Jan 4, 2008.

Martirosyan, a Glendale resident who now spends most of his time in Houston training with Ronnie Shields, has fought once in his career at the Honda Center. He knocked out Taronze Washington in the second round in Anaheim on Jan. 27, 2007.

But Top Rank's Lee Samuels said that 2009 could very likely be the year that Martirosyan gets a shot at a world title and that challenging Lyell for his NABC belt is part of the buildup for a much bigger fight down the road.

“We want Vanes to fight for a title,” Samuels said. “[The NABC Intercontinental title] is a minor title, but it would give Vanes a belt.

“He should win the fight.”

At 12 rounds, although that is subject to change, it would be the longest-scheduled fight of Martirosyan's career. He made the jump to 10-round feature fights in Feb. 2008.

Two of Martirosyan's four 10-round bouts have gone the distance, while the others ended in third- and first-round knockouts.

Lyell (18-6, three KOs), who defeated Chris Archer via eight-round unanimous decision in New Castle, Penn. on Nov. 28 to win his current title, has one 12-round bout on his record, but it ended in a fourth-round knockout loss to Charles Whittaker in 2006.

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