Martirosyan set for SoCal return

GLENDALE — Two bouts featuring prominent Armenian-born fighters are expected to draw a large crowd from Glendale to the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. for a day of boxing that will include a 12-round junior middleweight contest for Glendale's own Vanes “Nightmare” Martirosyan and will be capped by a 12-round main-event title defense for super flyweight Vic Darchinyan at 7 p.m.

First bell will be at 3:30 p.m.

Martirosyan will face Billy Lyell in a bid to improve on his record of 22-0 with 14 knockouts, the last of which came in just 80 seconds against Charles Howe on Nov. 1, 2008.

“I feel very good, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in training for a fight,” said Martirosyan, who is ranked second by the North Atlantic Boxing Federation, eighth by the United States Boxing Association and 27th by the World Boxing Council in the 154-pound division. “I just can't wait until Saturday.”

In his two previous 10-round fights prior to knocking out Howe, Martirosyan went the distance with Michael Medina on Sept. 19 and Angel Hernandez on June 26.

He said the change of pace in dispatching Howe in less than two minutes hasn't disrupted his training rhythm, rather, it's given him more time to prepare for this fight.

“The fight is the fun part,” Martirosyan said. “The gym is the hard part. The guys that I spar with at the gym are harder for me than the fight, actually.”

Lyell (18-6, 3 KOs), who fights out of Youngstown, Ohio, has won his last two fights, both eight-round affairs, via unanimous decision and went 3-1 in 2008 with a fifth-round TKO loss to David Lopez on Aug. 1.

He defeated Chris Archer on Nov. 28 to claim the North American Boxing Council Inter-Continental title, which will not be on the line on Saturday, as previously reported.

Martirosyan said he's ready for whatever Lyell may throw at him.

“There really is no key [to beating Lyell],” he said. “When I come in in top shape and I do what I have to do, he shouldn't be a problem.

“Ronnie [Shields] trains me in every kind of way so that when it comes to fight time, whatever way [my opponent] wants to fight, it's not a problem for me.”

Martirosyan, a native of Abozyan, Armenia, has not fought in California since defeating Clarence Taylor via unanimous decision in six rounds at the Alameda Swap Meet on Jan. 1, 2008.

Taylor is the one common opponent for Martirosyan and Lyell. Lyell beat Taylor by decision in eight rounds on May 12, 2006.

Shields, the Houston-based trainer who has guided Martirosyan to his last six wins, also predicts great things for Martirosyan on Saturday.

“He's gonna be at the best we've ever seen him,” Shields said. “He's in terrific shape, he's worked hard and he's just ready to go.

“I think he's gonna put on a great show.”

Darchinyan (31-1-1, 25 KOs) will close the show with a main-event super flyweight championship bout against Jorge Arce (51-4-1, 39 KOs) that will be televised on a Showtime broadcast set to begin at 9 p.m. on West Coast tape delay.

On the line are Darchinyan's 115-pound International Boxing Federation, World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association world titles.

Darchinyan, from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, by way of Armenia, confidently predicted a knockout in a conference call with reporters on Jan. 28.

“It's my style,” Darchinyan said of his knockout ability. “I want people to see excitement. I believe I can knock out anyone and Saturday night you will see a big knockout.

“No one can stay with me 12 rounds. If I catch him, it's over.”

In his previous fight on Nov. 1, Darchinyan scored a ninth-round knockout of Christian Mijares to add the WBA and WBC belts to the IBF title he won via fifth-round knockout over Dmitri Kirillov on August 2.

“Even against Mijares, I had some mistakes,” Darchinyan said. “In this fight, I will be sharper. Even more then I was for Mijares. I am going to be sharp and very strong and you will see how strong I can be and how fast I am and how good I can fight.”

Arce, who is the WBA super flyweight interim title holder, has won his last five bouts. His last loss came against Mijares in a 12-round unanimous decision on April 14, 2007.

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