Second String: Putting Glendale on the fighting map

June 04, 2010|By Grant Gordon

"What would be better than walking down any street in any city and knowing you're a champion." — Rocky Marciano

One could likely trace them all the way back to Armenia.

Now they extend into North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Pasadena and Encino.

They extend back to legends in the fighting world like Gokor Chivichyan and "Judo" Gene LeBell.

They are the roots of the Glendale fighting world.

While dotted in years past by this boxer and that boxer, the direct fighting past of Glendale pales in comparison to its present and future.


In roughly the last three years, the Jewel City has become a burgeoning hotbed for rising mixed martial artists and boxers.

Those who train and reside in Glendale have popped up in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, World Extreme Cagefighting and as some of boxing's most promising contenders.

While the roots of Glendale's fighting history are long, it's rise to current prominence has happened rather quickly. And it seems as though nothing's slowing its ascent.

"We've got a lot of good fighters now," says Edmond Tarverdyan, a former champion kickboxer who owns the Glendale Fighting Club and trains aspiring fighters. "It's getting big."

Leaving his past mixed-martial-arts triumphs behind in New Mexico, Alberto Crane made the trek to Glendale to make a life with his wife and start a family.

Along with the move came burning questions, however.

"I didn't know where I was gonna train," Crane recalls. "That was a big problem."

That was the spring of 2007. Not long after, Crane was preparing for his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut at the Glendale Fighting Club.

Having fought professionally himself, former boxer-turned-promoter Kahren Harutyunyan knew plenty about fighting and plenty about overcoming obstacles. Perhaps his biggest fight was one he started when he went to the Glendale City Council in the hopes of lifting a 62-year city ban on boxing.

That was the fall of 2008. Not long after, as spring turned to summer the following year, Harutyunyan was preparing Glendale Glory, the first sanctioned boxing card in Glendale in more than six decades.

Whether in the squared ring of boxing or the often caged octagon of MMA, fighters with Glendale ties are rising in the ranks, claiming notoriety and furthering their skills.

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