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Martirosyan ready to meet Roman

Boxing: Unbeaten Glendale light middleweight faces experienced foe in world title eliminator bout at Staples Center Saturday.

June 02, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

LOS ANGELES — With a packed luncheon and press conference Wednesday at the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles and a weigh-in to follow Friday at Staples Center's Star Plaza, the countdown has begun for Vanes "Nightmare" Martirosyan's much-anticipated Saturday night matchup with Saul Roman.

The HBO-televised 12-round clash of unbeatens Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and champion Sebastian Zbik for the World Boxing Council middleweight title dominated Wednesday's press conference and will anchor Saturday's card at Staples Center.

But, as he's the closest thing to an actual hometown hero on the card, Martirosyan's 10-round fight is generating plenty of interest, considering the WBC Silver light middleweight title and WBC light middleweight semifinal title eliminator bout has the potential to catapult the undefeated Glendale native toward superstardom.

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"This is my hometown fight and once again I'm thankful to have a great promoter like Top Rank to put me in a great fight like this in my hometown," Martirosyan (29-0, 18 KOs) said. "I promise I won't disappoint. …I guarantee Saturday night I'm going to win and I'm going to win big by knockout."

The winner of Saturday's fight would assume WBC top-contender status, but would reportedly have to win a final eliminator bout to land a WBC light middleweight title shot against either Saul Alvarez or Ryan Rhodes, who will square off for Alvarez' WBC light middleweight belt on June 18 in Guadalajara.

"I'm very excited," Roman said through a translator. "This is a moment I've been waiting for, I've worked hard for this and hopefully I come out with a good result."

Roman enters at 34-8 with 29 knockouts and in the past four years has fought such notables as Yuri Foreman (loss, 10-round unanimous decision), Kassim Ouma (win, 10-round split decision) and Sergio Martinez (loss, fourth-round TKO). He also shares common opponents with Martirosyan in Ouma, Nelson Estupinan and Michael Medina, whom Roman handed the third loss of his career via second-round TKO on Jan. 29.

While mindful of Roman's resume and knockout ability, Martirosyan is approaching the fight in typically confident fashion.

"He has a lot of guys that he's fought like Sergio Martinez under his belt that he has the experience from," Martirosyan said. "He's a tough fighter, but I think the way I'm going to beat him, it's going to look so easy. I just hope I get the credit for it.

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