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Lionheart looks to keep moving forward

Boxing: Back from his latest injury, Art Hovhannesyan readies for HBO undercard and next career level.

July 16, 2010|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

SOUTHWEST GLENDALE — Just a day prior to weigh-ins for his next bout, Art Hovhannesyan zips up a sauna suit and takes off on a treadmill at the Glendale Fighting Club.

Perhaps symbolically, he faces a broad and clear window as he runs in place toward the great wide open.

Having garnered a reputation among hardcore and local boxing fans as a burgeoning prospect, the Glendale boxer known as "Lionheart" has thrilled many with his brawling, bullish style and impressed just as many with his progress and maturation in becoming a more polished boxer.

But Hovhannesyan's career on the rise has suffered through a fair share of injuries that have forced him to pull out of bout opportunities or prevented him from taking them on.

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But now, Hovhannesyan proclaims that he is back, healthy and ready to go, as he's set to face Christian Favela in an eight-round lightweight bout on Saturday night at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage as part of the undercard for an HBO "Boxing After Dark" promotion.

"I'm 100% ready and happy," said Hovhannesyan (11-0-1, 6 KOs).

The 28-year-old will look to win his ninth straight fight overall and his fourth in a row by knockout.

While Hovhannesyan will go in as an overwhelming favorite, being able to pull off a knockout win might be another story.

Favela (19-27-6, 10 KOs) hardly holds an impressive record, but he's been nearly impossible to stop and has fought a laundry list of unblemished prospects.

He's gone 2-2 over his last four fights, but is just 2-10 over his last 12. Still, all of them have been decision losses and seven of those losses came to fighters with unbeaten records.

Nevertheless, a knockout is what Hovhannesyan and his team are aiming to accomplish.

"That's what we're going for," said Hovhannesyan's manager and cutman, George Bastrmajyan, who is quick to admit that though the fight is untelevised, there will be plenty of the right people to impress at the HBO card, which will be main-evented by Timothy Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs) and Carlos Abregu (29-0, 23 KOs).

Having recently been signed to fight under the umbrella of both Banner Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions, Hovhannesyan appears headed in the right direction.

His biggest obstacle thus far has been the aforementioned injuries.

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