Boxers get ready for a rumble

With major issues such as time, place and opponent out of the way, two big fights are now set, promising an exciting couple of months to come on the local boxing scene.

All the details of undefeated Glendale resident Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan's World Boxing Council light middleweight final eliminator bout with Erislandy Lara are ironed out now that the arena (the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas) and date (Nov. 10) have been confirmed.

But first, lightweight Art Hovhannisyan, who trains at the Glendale Fighting Club with Edmond Tarverdyan, will try to build on his recent success with an Oct. 27 bout on HBO "Boxing After Dark" at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY that recently came together following an extended search for an opponent.

After signing a contract to fight on HBO shortly after his 10-round split-decision win over Miguel Acosta on July 20, Hovhannisyan (15-0-2, eight knockouts) waited patiently to lock down an opponent, with several prospective matchups falling by the wayside, according to his manager George Bastrmajyan.

But within the last week, Bastrmajyan said 26-year-old Argenis Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs) out of Brooklyn by way of the Dominican Republic has emerged as the next test for the 30-year-old Armenian native.

"He's really excited," Bastrmajyan said of Hovhannisyan. "He knew he could do a lot better [in his last fight].

"We're just going to take from here and we're treating this just like a world title fight. I have a feeling the winner of this fight is going to get a crack at a world title."

Martirosyan's clash with Lara has been set for weeks now, but was originally scheduled for the undercard of Manny Pacquiao's Nov. 10 fight at the MGM Grand, which was since moved, leaving Martirosyan's fight up in the air. But in the end, the fight simply moved farther up the Las Vegas strip, as was confirmed on Sept. 15, according to Martirosyan.

The eliminator will now lead into the main event of the Showtime-televised Orlando Salido and Miguel Angel Garcia's battle for the World Boxing Organization featherweight title.

"I would have loved it if it was at the MGM because the owner [Kirk Kerkorian] is Armenian and he always told me he would come to my fight if I fought at the MGM," Martirosyan said. "It would have been nice, but we're still at the Wynn, we're still up the street, he can come by."

Martirosyan, who improved to 32-0 (20 KOs) with his last win over Troy Lowry on Feb. 4 before having his last scheduled bout against Ryan Davis called off at the last minute, is primarily training for Lara (17-1-1, 11 KOs) at the Main Event Gym in Glendale.

"I've been preparing for Lara for the last two months," Martirosyan said. "I'm in good shape, I'm just ready to fight. We're going to take it to Lara on fight night."

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