HOVHANNISYAN DAYS AWAY FROM EX-CHAMP ACOSTA
By Doveed Linder
In this interview, lightweight Art Hovhannisyan (14-0-2, 8 KOs) discusses his background in boxing and shares a few thoughts on his upcoming fight with ex-WBA lightweight titlist Miguel Acosta (29-5-2, 23 KOs), which will take place on July 20th on Showtime. Hovhannisyan speaks very little English, so his manager George Bastrmajyan translated from Armenian.
DL: When did you first put on the gloves? How old were you and what were the circumstances?
AH: I was nine years old. It was a gym in Armenia. The city's name is Gumri. I was a very active kid. I was a good kid, but I had a fighterís instinct. I didnít live in a bad neighborhood. It wasnít like Tijuana or the ďhoodĒ in America, but I liked fighting. Growing up, none of my friends were into athletics. They werenít bad kids, but they just liked to hang out. When I went to the gym to train, I found something that was good for me. When I got into the ring for the first time, it was different than when I watched it on TV. But after I felt those punches, it gave me an extra rush. I used to watch Mike Tyson fight. He was my favorite boxer and he inspired me. I was always watching Tyson and I trained to be like him. I had over two hundred amateur fights, but I always wanted to be a professional fighter.
DL: How did your amateur career evolve into a professional career?
AH: When I went into the Armenian military, I was a boxer and I won championships. When I came back, I wanted to turn pro. There was no professional boxing in Armenia, so I moved to France. My first three pro fights were in France. After I moved to France, I didnít feel that I was being treated properly, so I moved back to Armenia. I eventually moved to America to train at Don Kingís camp in Ohio. When I was Ohio, people were talking to me about signing with Don King, but it never happened. My uncle introduced me to George Bastrmajyan and Edmond Tarverdyan who are my managers now. Edmond is also my trainer. They were in Glendale, California. I talked to them and they asked me if I had a contract with anyone. I told them that I didnít, so they bought me a plane ticket to come to California. I ran eight miles to the airport and moved to California, and Iím now 14-0 with 8 knockouts.
DL: What is your assessment of your opponent Miguel Acosta?
AH: I was there when Acosta fought Brandon Rios. He did well until he ran out of gas [Acosta got stopped in the tenth round of a tremendous fight against Rios]. When the opportunity came to fight Miguel Acosta, I was excited to fight a big name and show the boxing world what I can do.
DL: What is your prediction for the fight Acosta?
AH: He went down once before and Iím going to put him on the floor again.
DL: Anything in closing?
AH: Iím excited about the opportunity. I want to thank [promoter] Gary Shaw Productions, my matchmaker John Benenati, and George Bastrmajyan and Edmond Tarverdyan. As for everything else, Iím going to do all my talking on July 20th on Showtime.
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