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Southern California Fight Scene

By Francisco Salazar

Over a year ago last June, Art Hovhannisyan was inside the ring at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, CA. Across the ring from him was then-unbeaten Archie Ray Marquez. Because Marquez was unbeaten and stopped his previous opponent by knockout in a prior televised bout, most thought that he would be too much for Hovhannisyan. However, someone did not give Hovhannisyan the memo on what was supposed to happen on that summer evening. From the opening bell of their scheduled eight round bout, Hovhannisyan dominated the action, dropping Marquez a total of four times before the fight was mercifully stopped in the sixth round.

Tonight, Hovhannisyan will find himself in the ring at the same venue. Only this time, he will have a more-formidable opponent in Miguel Acosta, the former world title holder from Venezuela.

Will Hovhannisyan again prove people wrong and come out victorious or will Acosta be too much for the Armenian fighter living in Glendale? Hovhannisyan has proven people wrong once before and is eager to do so again to those same skeptics.

“I knew I was going to defeat (Archie Ray) Marquez,” Hovhannisyan said in a recent telephone interview. “I’ve always stressed that I wanted to fight the best out there. Miguel Acosta presents himself to be one of the best fighters in the lightweight division and I’m up for the challenge.”

Ideally, Hovhannisyan would like to campaign at 130 pounds. However, if there are fights at 135 that make ideal economic sense or could get him to a world title bout quicker, Hovhannisyan would campaign at that weight.

Although he has 16 fights as a professional, Hovhannisyan is no stranger to the ring. He fought over 200 as an amateur in his native Armenia. Even as an amateur, the 30 year old has always had a style suited for the pros.

“I can’t believe that I didn’t make my professional debut any sooner.”

One thing that Hovhannisyan has to his advantage is that he has not been in any serious fights that have worn his body down. Realistically, he wants to fight until he is 35 or 36 years old. However, as his trainer George Bastrmajyan points out, he could even fight beyond that age.

It all starts tonight against Miguel Acosta.

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I spoke with Joseph “Hoss” Janik earlier in the week. Janik has served as Victor Ortiz’s conditioning coach and is the owner of Knuckleheadz Gym in Ventura, where Ortiz trains out of.

He confirmed the split between Ortiz and trainer Danny Garcia that occurred after Ortiz was stopped after the ninth round at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 23rd.

Janik said that Ortiz and Garcia met less than two weeks after the fight. Janik said that the split between the two was amicable, shook hands, and went their separate ways.

“In this day and age, there are contracts between promoters and fighters. There are contracts between promoters and managers. However, there aren’t any between trainers and fighters. I guess it comes with the territory when you work with a fighter.”

No word yet on when Ortiz will return to training or who will be his next trainer. Ironically, Ortiz utilized the services of Danny Garcia after the publicized split with Robert Garcia.

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Unbeaten super featherweight Ronny Rios of Santa Ana, CA will fight David Rodela in a scheduled 10 round bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio.

Also scheduled to fight on the card will be former world lightweight title holder Julio Diaz. Both fights will be televised on Telefutura.

Rios (18-0, 8 KOs) is coming off of a one-sided eight round unanimous decision victory over Guillermo Sanchez in his last fight on April 8th. He is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and managed by Frank Espinoza.

Rodela (16-6-3, 5 KOs) hails from Oxnard and hopes to rebound from his second round knockout at the hands of Terence Crawford in Las Vegas last month. Prior to that bout, Rodela knocked out Baudel Cardenas in the second round in Port Hueneme, CA on February 25th.

Tickets will be priced at $45, $35, and $25 and could be purchased at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office or by calling (888) 905-5202.

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Boxing returns to the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula on Friday, July 27th as Kronk and Roy Englebrecht Promotions present a six-bout “Live Professional Boxing” card.

In the main event, unbeaten junior middleweight Tony Harrison (8-0, 8 KOs) will fight Calvin Odom (15-11, 11 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout. Popular welterweight Hector Serrano(14-3, 5 KOs), who now resides in nearby Perris, will fight Arturo Brambila in a scheduled six round bout.

What could be the fight of the night is a scheduled six round bout between Southern California super bantamweights Walter Sarnoi (10-3, 5 KOs) of Monterey Park and Christian Bojorquez (7-0, 1 KO) of San Diego.

Tickets are priced at $55 and $35, with a $5 service fee per purchase. Tickets are on sale at the Pechanga Resort Casino box office or by calling 1-888-PECHANGA.

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Recently, unbeaten super lightweight Antonio Orozco has been making news inside the ring, especially in his one-sided beatdown of Alberto Cruz last month in Indio.

However, on Thursday, Orozco made news outside of it as he married his high school sweetheart Claudia. Both were married in an outdoor ceremony near Orozco’s hometown of San Diego.

I have spoken many times to his manager, Frank Espinoza, about Orozco. He works hard in the gym, is humble, and is eager to learn. Highlights of his fight were shown on Showtime, with executive producer Gordon Hall in attendance. Fight fans could be seeing more of Orozco in televised bouts on Showtime, or on ESPN and Telefutura.

Welcome to the “club,” Antonio. Speaking as a married man, it is a great club to join.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Orozco!

You can follow me on twitter @Salazar_soccer Come say hi to me at ringside.

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