Art Hovhannisyan will now fight Alejandro Perez

Nothing ever seems to go as it's supposed to when it comes to the burgeoning boxing career of Art "Lionheart" Hovhannisyan.

Long hampered throughout his unbeaten career by injuries — in large part due to his hard-hitting style in the gym — and untimely fight cancellations, Hovhannisyan was set to face Logan McGuinness in the main event of Showtime’s “Showbox” series on Feb. 22 from the Morongo Casino in Cabazon.

But, McGuinness is out, according to Hovhannisyan’s manager, George Bastmajyan.

But, all is not lost for Glendale’s Hovhannisyan, as the Glendale Fighting Club prospect is still set for the “Showbox” main event and will now face Alejandro Perez for the North American Boxing Assn. super featherweight (130 pounds) interim title and the hopeful ascent to the No. 2 ranking in the World Boxing Assn., Bastmajyan said.

An added element to facing Perez is that Hovhannisyan and his GFC contingent are very familiar with the 26-year-old pugilist, who trains at the Wild Card Boxing Club. Bastmajyan said Perez and Hovhannisyan have likely sparred at least 80 rounds.

“That guy’s one of my favorite people in the whole gym, because he’s the nicest guy,” Bastmajyan said.

GFC and Wild Card have had a long-standing relationship, as the likes of Hovhannisyan and Gapo Tolmajyan of the GFC have sparred at trainer Freddie Roach’s world-famous Wild Card. Obviously that will change ahead of the February bout, though, as Bastmajyan said him and GFC trainer and proprietor Edmond Tarverdyan will now have to bring in some sparring partners.

Despite all that, Bastmajyan is confident in his charge’s prospects against Perez (16-3-1, 11 knockouts).

“I know my boxing and Art should stop it,” Bastmajyan said. “Him and Art spar and they hit each other and it’s obvious Art’s the bigger guy. You can see the power.”

Hovhannisyan, a 31-year-old native Armenian, boasts a 15-0-2 record with eight knockouts and is coming off arguably the biggest win of his career in an action-packed split decision over Miguel Acosta on July 20, 2012 in another “Shobox” bout. Hovhannisyan was then slated to make his HBO debut, but that fell through when his opponent fell through.

Hovhannisyan was then scheduled to fight McGuinness (19-0-1, nine KOs), the sixth-ranked super featherweight in the WBA and the NABA champion. But McGuinness, the fifth-ranked contender by the WBA, apparently took his share of hard knocks in his unanimous decision win over Carlos Manuel Reyes in December and incurred some lingering effects.

“He won the fight, but we looked at the fight and he took a lot of punishment,” Bastmajyan said. “In the back of our heads, we were thinking, ‘Is this guy gonna be alright?’

“I guess in his first sparring session, he took some shots in the head and felt nauseous. ... And the doctor told him he shouldn’t fight. We kind of had a feeling it might not happen.”

So now, Hovhannisyan and his camp are banking on the Perez bout happening and aiding the Glendale fighter in his next step toward earning a major title shot. Hence, Bastmajyan said they chose the fight over a proposed younger, more unknown opponent.

“[Perez] has a really good resume and we’re better off fighting him,” said Bastmajyan, who added that Tolmajyan might still be added to the Feb. 22 undercard.

Hovhannisyan’s bout will mark the start of a hectic and momentous two days for the Glendale Fighting Club. His main event will come a day ahead of UFC 157 in Anaheim, where the GFC’s Ronda Rousey will defend her Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight title against Liz Carmouche in the pay-per-view main event that will be the mixed-martial-arts organization’s first-ever women’s fight. Also on the pay-per-view card, fellow GFC trainee Manny Gamburyan will face Chad Mendes in a featherweight bout between former title contenders.

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