Nightmare comes home

SOUTHWEST GLENDALE — Since Glendale Fighting Club proprietor and head trainer Edmond Tarverdyan officially joined Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan's training camp earlier this year, the latter's public presence in his hometown of Glendale has risen considerably.

Whereas his earlier years took him as far from home as Houston to train and he has more recently been a fixture at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, the unbeaten light middleweight and local celebrity can now be glimpsed through the GFC's floor-to-ceiling windows on any given day hard at work training right on Brand Blvd.

And, on Thursday, the GFC was the backdrop for Top Rank Promotions' media workout to promote Martirosyan's June 4 world-title eliminator bout with Saul Roman for the World Boxing Council Silver light middleweight title, seen as a likely stepping stone to a world title shot and a career-defining moment thus far for the 25-year-old 154-pound contender.

"It's great [training in Glendale]," said Martirosyan (29-0, 18 knockouts), whose fight will supply some more punch to the undercard of the HBO-televised WBC middleweight title bout between Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and Sebastian Zbik. "Edmond's always been here and what's funny is that you don't know what you have and it's right next to you. What [I was] looking for is right here in my hometown. Freddie's been great to me, but I think Edmond with Freddie is taking me to the next level. He's helping me do things mentally and physically that I haven't done in a long time.

"I feel like I'm back and this is my time."

Martirosyan posed for pictures and fielded questions from about a dozen reporters, including a television film crew, before doing mitt work in the ring with Tarverdyan and moving to the heavy bag and speed bag.

The gym was abuzz over the events of Martirosyan's sparring session at Wild Card on Wednesday, where he engaged in six rounds of intense sparring with Chavez, Jr., reportedly landing some heavy uppercuts to the jaw of the unbeaten title challenger.

"It was great work," Martirosyan said of the sparring session. "I was surprised that he was that tough. He kept coming, he gave me good work and Monday we're going to go at it again, he told me, so I just can't wait. I didn't go 100% yesterday, I was just doing 80%."

Chavez, Jr. and Martirosyan are both trained by Roach, who reportedly wanted to prove that both of his protégés are ready for their upcoming tests. Martirosyan said he also received some encouragement from the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez after Wednesday's session.

"After [Chavez, Jr. and I] sparred, [Chavez] told me I'm going to be a champion," Martirosyan said. "It's great to hear from a champion that I'm going to be a champion, also."

Top Rank CEO and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum also appeared at Thursday's workout and said Martirosyan is ready, both physically and mentally, to take his career to the next level.

"We hope that he wins and he gives a great performance because that will lead very shortly to his next fight and some really big fights before the end of the year," Arum said. "Based on what I saw at the Wild Card gym yesterday, he's in great shape, great intensity and he knows how important this fight is."

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