Vanes Martirosyan Visits Local Club!
EXCLUSIVE: Special Meet & Greet with the Olympian
By Michele Chong

Pro fighter Vanes Martirosyan made a special guest appearance last week at the Burbank Boxing Club (BBC) in Southern California.

As a former amateur star, 2004 United States Olympic boxer and professional world champ, the Armenian-American athlete was a great inspiration to the kids, teens and adults that work out and train with Head Coach and BBC Founder Steve Harpst.

Vanes and his co-manager Shahe Mazbanian were greeted with a huge round of applause when they entered the boxing club located in the Burbank Community YMCA.

"Vanes was a big hit last night; all the kids were so excited to meet him!" Harpst commented. 

The BBC's amateur fighters Toni and David just won their bouts at a nearby show (Toni won a "Best Bout" belt) while BBC pro Damien Lopez is looking to lace up in April. The boxing club has an energetic mix of male and female members, all working together to either compete, lose weight, firm up, sharpen defensive skills while learning the art of boxing.

Martirosyan participated in a lively Q&A session with the club members and posed for photos with the team. The Glendale hero spoke of his time as a 17-year-old Olympian and being starstruck when meeting all of the NBA players up close. He also said his father Norik is a huge inspiration and motivating factor in his rise to the top. Norik was a boxer in Armenia and lost a limb in the war; Vanes says his dad proves how tough and strong someone can really be.

Vanes, 31, knows what it takes to reach the elite level. He began boxing at age seven and his brother Vatche is also a pro fighter. During Martirosyan's time in the spotlight he was a National Amateur Champion and Golden Gloves Champ and has won the NABF Super Welterweight title, the WBC Silver Super Welterweight strap and the WBO Inter-Continental Super Welterweight championship. He has beaten the likes of Ishe Smith, Kassim Ouma, Willie Nelson and more.

Still fighting in the 154-pound division in which he began his professional career, Martirosyan (36-3-1, 21 KOs) says he was supposed to fight this month and is still hoping to be on a card. He also wants to cement a rematch against nemesis Jermell Charlo, who has a match scheduled for June 9 in Los Angeles. Vanes and his crew think that this Staples Center fight would be a popular draw for the SoCal fans and the Armenian community. His team mentioned that Vanes is ranked #2 and should soon take the #1 slot in the weight division so this rematch makes sense they say.
I asked if they wanted a tune-up fight first as his last fight was in May 2016 versus Erislandy Lara but his team says Vanes is ready to go, in shape and ready to rumble. He is currently promoted by the one and only Don King.

BBC fighter Damien Lopez is a young pro who's been sparring with Vanes as the two prep for future matches. The experienced fighter has been a mentor to Lopez. And during Monday night's Meet and Greet with the boxing club, Vanes shared his wisdom with the crowd, spoke of the discipline and dedication it takes to win, and revealed how it is to have Ronda Rousey as a stablemate (both train with GFC's Edmond Tarverdyan).

"He was a great guest," says Coach Steve. "Everyone really liked him. You can tell by the way he treats kids that he has a good heart."

Indeed. During the event, Vanes took time to answer all the questions that the kids had for him. He's been in the fight game almost all his life; he knows the score. He knows what it takes to become an amateur champion, an Olympian and a professional world champ. Road work at 4 a.m. Strict dieting. No late hours. Being home schooled to focus solely on his training. Giving up all the temptations that are dangled in front of normal teens. 

But was it all worth it? YES. Holding up the gleaming world championship belts is what it's about.

And the youth and teens looked up in awe and admiration as Vanes spoke to them. He also joked around with the amateurs and took countless selfies with them. The champ said he had a lot of fun visiting the club and meeting everyone.

Vanes Martirosyan told us several times that he wants that Jermell Charlo rematch so if that comes to fruition, the Burbank Boxing Club is ready to watch him on TV and cheer on the local star!


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