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'Lionheart' enters lightweight bout at Chumash Casino hungry for a fight

Boxing: Local lightweight Art Hovhannisyan set to take on Miguel Acosta in first fight in nearly a year.

July 19, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
  • Art Hovhannisyan trains at the Glendale Fighting Club.
Art Hovhannisyan trains at the Glendale Fighting Club. (Alex Collins, Glendale…)

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Glendale-based lightweight boxer Art "Lionheart" Hovhannisyan is quick to acknowledge that tonight is the most important night of his career so far and he has trained accordingly.

"It's the biggest fight in my career, so it's the [longest] camp I've had in my life," said Hovhannisyan, who has trained for tonight's 10-round clash with Miguel Acosta under the guidance of Glendale Fighting Club proprietor Edmond Tarverdyan. "I'm ready for a fight and I'm hungry for a fight because my last fight was last August. I'm ready for 'Showtime.'"

Hovhannisyan (14-0-2 with eight knockouts) is set to do battle in the televised main event of tonight's "Shobox" card on Showtime emanating from the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, where, with a win, he could see his career accelerate quickly after it's been stuck in neutral since his last fight on Aug. 5, 2011, with his last victory coming nearly two months earlier.

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The opportunity comes with some degree of risk, however, as Acosta (29-5-2, 23 KOs) is the most accomplished and perhaps most dangerous of the fighters the 30-year-old native of Gyumri, Armenia has faced in his six-year professional career.

The 34-year-old Acosta, a native Venezuelan who fights out of Caracas, is a multiple-time former world champion, holding the World Boxing Assn. World lightweight title belt as recently as Feb., 2011 and has fared quite well against undefeated fighters in the past, having handed three opponents their first pro losses.

"I don't really care who my opponent is," Hovhannisyan said. "We've worked on my physical speed and my power so I can prove on Friday I'm better than him. Everybody will see.

"It's a big name for me, but I don't think it's going to be a hard fight because I know he's a top fighter and he's smart, but if he [lets] down one time I will get him down."

Hovhannisyan fought to a four-round technical draw with Cristobal Cruz in his last fight after beating Archie Ray Marquez via convincing sixth-round knockout in his previous outing. Both fights were held at Chumash.

Since then, Hovhannisyan has been working with a new strength and conditioning coach, and sparred often with former WBA Super World light welterweight champion Amir Khan during his training camp.

"He's looking very good, we had a great training camp," Tarverdyan said. "He's been training really, really hard, harder than ever.

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