GLENDALE — This time around, the "Punisher" was sent out to avoid punishment.
He did so and came away still undefeated, as Glendale boxer Artur "The Punisher" Bernetsyan defeated Martin Franco via four-round unanimous decision late Saturday night at the Riverside Convention Center at MEZ Sports' Pandemonium IV card.
"He boxed the guy, cause [Franco] was a puncher," said Edmond Tarverdyan, Bernetsyan's head trainer at Glendale Fighting Club. "I wanted to make Artur box him."
In out boxing Franco (7-2-1), Bernetsyan improve to 7-0 with two knockouts. The lightweight southpaw has gained a reputation as an action fighter and is rare to shy away from a brawl, but with Franco owning six knockouts, Tarverdyan wanted to prevent that.
"At places, [Bernetsyan] gets over excited," Tarverdyan said. "I try and keep him calm and cool. He did better, he listened to my advice in the corner."
Though the 40-year-old Franco hadn't fought since 1996, Tarverdyan still believes it was Bernetsyan's biggest win to date and an improvement over his last bout, a unanimous decision over Demetrio Soto, who was 5-2 at the time of the bout.
"I think this was his toughest competition," Tarverdyan said. "His previous fight, that guy was good, but I think this guy was better. This guy in front of him was a durable guy."
It was also a step in the right direction for the 26-year-old Bernetsyan, according to Tarverdyan.
"He's progressing," said Tarverdyan of Bernetsyan. "He's getting better."
For now, though, Bernetsyan will take a bit of a respite. Tarvedyan said the boxer is set to return to his native Armenia for some time with his family and will also likely undergo surgery on his nose, which had been broken during his amateur career. With Bernetsyan likely to get into six- and eight-round bouts regularly coming up, his camp believes the time is now to get it repaired. Tarverdyan said it's likely he'll be away from boxing for at least three to four months.