To become a successful champion boxer, a tireless work ethic and a good heart are necessary according to Edmond ‘The Diamond’ Tarverdyan, a 29-year-old coach who started boxing as a boy before going on to train Olympians.
“You gotta love the sport and train hard,” he said. “Of course being the best fighter takes much more than that. You need everything — balance speed power — so everything comes in place at the high level competition.”
On a recent Thursday evening, Tarverdyan’s amateur boxing students spent an hour at his Glendale Fighting Club conditioning their bodies with push-ups, sit ups and boxing technique. They show up three times a week and box with gloves and face protectors.
“They’re not getting paid a million dollars to fight so they can’t put their head out there and start banging it,” Tarverdyan said. “The point is not to get hit.”
That’s why Tarverdyan places so much emphasis on defensive moves and blocking tactics.
His own love for boxing began when he was 10, the year he made the transition to boxing from kung fu and karate, two of several martial art forms he coaches. Since 16, he’s been coaching athletes in the gym whose reputation has swelled for producing renowned fighters. Tarverdyan himself has competed around the world.
“Here they can see people who are hitting the bag with their heart and soul,” he said. “There’s some big names from this gym that these kids look up to.”
Two of those names include UFC fighter Manny ‘The Anvil’ Gamburyan and Olympian and professional boxer Vanes ‘The Nightmare’ Martirosyan, whose face hangs on banners from the club’s ceiling.
Tarverdyan has an eye for spotting born fighters — they’re the ones who fight back when they’re hit — but regardless of talent, “If they don’t train hard, they can’t do it,” he said.
The kids who show up at the gym eager to train for competition work with Tarverdyan and other coaches at the center at least five or six times each week, spending three hours practicing after school.
Narek Ibranyan, 13, of Burbank started boxing a year ago after hearing stories from the days when his father and grandfather boxed.
“I wanted to do their sport. I started liking it because of them,” he said.
Narek had played basketball, but boxing presented an entirely new appeal.
“I got into boxing because it’s more of a manly sport,” he said.