'Lionheart,' Gasparyan prevail at Nokia

LOS ANGELES — During one bout, there was utter exhilaration.

In another, there was absolute frustration.

In the final battle, there was just boredom.

For the three Glendale-based boxers who took part in Saturday's Showtime boxing event at the Nokia Theatre, there was a wide range of emotions.

Art "Lionheart" Hovhannesyan and Vito Gasparyan, both coming off extended layoffs, were victorious with technical knockouts in their respective bouts, while Azat Hovhannesyan was defeated in his professional debut, losing a unanimous decision.

Art Hovhannesyan put on a show in front of an assortment of promoters in a six-round junior welterweight bout.

Despite feeling the effects of a right-hand injury, Hovhannesyan was the aggressor against Jose Alfredo Lugo. With his Glendale Fighting Club trainers George Bastrmajyan and Edmond Tarverdyan urging him to attack, Hovhannesyan opened a cut over Lugo's left eye in the second round and continued his onslaught.

Hovhannesyan (13-0-1, 7 KOs) caught Lugo with a left hook in the fifth round, sending his opponent to a knee. The referee stopped the fight after Lugo struggled to his feet, awarding Hovhannesyan the victory 1:57 into the round. It was Hovhannesyan's second victory against Lugo after defeating him on Sept. 19, 2009 at the Warner Center in Woodland Hills in a unanimous decision.

"Art wasn't 100% so we had to finish him," Tarverdyan said. "You don't want to give the other guy a chance."

Added Bastrmajyan: "We had to show that we're not just boxing. We can put on a show and we can bang."

Hovhannesyan, who fights under the umbrella of both Banner Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions, received better news after the fight.

Shaw told Hovhannesyan that his next fight — on June 10 against Archie Ray Marquez (12-0, eight KOs) at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez — will be televised on Showtime.

"Art is a big puncher," Shaw said. "He's very strong. He's an action fighter, and because he's an action fighter, it works for me and for television."

Hovhannesyan plans to continue his winning ways.

"I'm going to do my best because it's my first fight on television," he said. "I'm excited about it."

After Hovhannesyan's fight, Bastrmajyan and Tarverdyan prepared for Azat Hovhannesyan's bout. Hovhannesyan, no relation to Art, was a two-time European champion in the amateur ranks, where he reportedly had more than 300 fights. But he was not prepared for the hits that came his way in the four-round junior lightweight event.

Juan Reyes (2-0-1) won each round on two of the judge's scorecards and had a 38-37 decision on the other judge's tally. The fight was almost stopped in the third round when Hovhannesyan staggered from one side of the ring to the other while Reyes continued chasing him to the point that Tarverdyan thought about throwing in the towel.

"Everybody expected so much from him," Tarverdyan said. "But he never fought anybody like [Reyes]. I told him to not stand in front of the guy and he fought and stood in front of the guy. He took shots.

"It was a lesson for him."

Bastrmajyan was frustrated because he thought Hovhannesyan could prevail.

"The frustrating part is we could have knocked the guy out, and Azat didn't do anything we told him to," Bastrmajyan said. "It was a crowd-pleasing fight. But at the end of the day, it was a loss."

With one match left on the undercard and Showtime needing to alter its schedule to televise the main event, Vic Darchinyan and Yohnny Perez fought for the vacant International Boxing Organization bantamweight title as the second-to-last fight.

Darchinyan (36-3-1, 27 KOs) won a five-round technical unanimous decision in a fight that was stopped early because of accidental headbutts. Darchinyan had a 50-44 decision on all three judges' scorecards.

With a majority of the crowd gone, Gasparyan, who formerly trained at the GFC before moving to Fortune Gym and eventually signing with Don King Promotions, took on Trenton Titsworth in a junior middleweight bout.

The fight became laughable.

Titsworth rarely threw punches and was deducted a point for excessively holding Gasparyan's arms and head.

Titsworth continued to dance around the ring and not fight, much to the frustration of Gasparyan. By the fifth round, referee Jack Reiss had seen enough and stopped the bout at the 2:31 mark.

"I've never seen something like that," Gasparyan said. "Even though I got the stoppage, I'm not satisfied. It was kind of ugly."

Said Pavel Govzman, Gasparyan's manager: "It's very difficult to look good against this type of fighter. He doesn't let you do anything."

Gasparyan said he hopes to be put in bigger fights this year.

"[Don King Promotions] have done good for me," he said. "I feel like I'm home."

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