Vanes Martirosyan moves on, eyes possible title eliminator with Erislandy Lara

In the aftermath of the abrupt cancellation of his fight against Ryan Davis Friday night, local junior middleweight contender Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan may not be without a next fight for long.

And if all goes according to plan, it will be for bigger stakes and against a much more significant opponent than the lightly regarded Davis, who was scratched from Saturday's card at the Home Depot Center after failing to clear a medical evaluation.

According to his uncle and manager, Serge Martirosyan, the unbeaten Glendale native is now waiting on a response from Erislandy Lara as to whether Lara will accept the light middleweight final eliminator bout recently ordered by the World Boxing Council.

"We took the fight," Vanes Martirosyan confirmed via text on Saturday. "It's up to Lara now."

Lara is currently ranked third by the WBC, while Martirosyan is fourth, although he was the No. 1 contender earlier this year.

Serge Martirosyan said Top Rank Promotions, which handles his nephew, forwarded him an e-mail from the WBC regarding the eliminator on Thursday and, at Vanes' behest, it was promptly accepted.

"I still don't think it's the best fight [for Martirosyan]," said Serge, who advised his nephew to turn down a similar proposition to face Lara in May. "But this time Vanes insisted."

Martirosyan beat Saul Roman on June 4, 2011 in what, at the time, his camp believed to be a WBC championship eliminator fight to face WBC champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Serge Martirosyan said that after the fight, the WBC backtracked and instead claimed the fight was a semifinal eliminator. In Sept. 2011, Martirosyan was asked to fight Alfredo Angulo in another eliminator, but his camp refused the fight. Serge Martirosyan said they turned down the Angulo fight because it was in Angulo's homeland of Mexico, Martirosyan's head trainer Freddie Roach was not available to prepare him for the fight and Martirosyan was at the time embroiled in a negotiation to buy out his contract from former manager Steven Feder.

James Kirkland then fought and defeated Angulo on Nov. 5, 2011 before beating Carlos Molina in a semifinal eliminator on March 24 to achieve No. 2 contender status, setting up a final eliminator between himself and Martirosyan, which was scuttled when it was revealed Kirkland had suffered a shoulder injury in beating Molina.

Martirosyan previously turned down a fight with Lara when the WBC refused a written guarantee that the winner of the fight would get a shot at Alvarez. Now he says he's in no matter what, although Serge Martirosyan sounded more hopeful of an assured title shot.

"We have the evidence in our hands now," he said of the aforementioned email. "It's 100% a final eliminator."

A purse bid is now set for July 27, but there are still hurdles to clear, not the least of which is negotiating an arrangement between Top Rank and Lara's handlers Golden Boy Promotions, as the two are embroiled in a bitter feud.

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