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Art Hovhannisyan headlines 'Shobox'

Glendale fighter ready to take on sparring partner in Showtime main event.

February 21, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Boxer Art Hovhannisyan prepares for a training session at the Glendale Fighting Club.
Boxer Art Hovhannisyan prepares for a training session… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

For those who have followed the promising boxing career of Art "Lionheart" Hovhannisyan, they have come to expect a couple things — an all-out, entertaining fight and some bumps in the road to stardom.

Now 31, the Glendale slugger remains unbeaten, but a slew of injuries and fight cancellations have impeded his progress.

The latest setback was when opponent Logan McGuinness was forced to pull out of their bout — for a possible World Boxing Assn. contendership and the North American Boxing Assn. title — with an injury.

Thus, in times of struggle, sometimes all you need is a friend, and that’s what Hovhannisyan has in Alejandro Perez, who stepped in to take McGuinness’ place.

“He’s my friend — but outside the ring,” Hovhannisyan said. “Inside the ring, he’s my opponent. Business is business.”

And business is sure to be booming when Hovhannisyan and Perez put their friendship aside for 10 rounds in their super featherweight main event Friday night on Showtime’s “Shobox” at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon.

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“I feel the same way,” said Perez, who’s sparred myriad rounds with Hovhannisyan at the Wild Card Boxing Club, run by renowned trainer Freddie Roach. “Out of the ring we can be the best of friends. We worked together a lot at Wild Card. However, once you’re up there [in the ring], it’s a business.

“We know each other very well. We know each other’s styles. I think that’s one of the factors that makes the fight so interesting.

“It’ll definitely be a very exciting fight.”

While a top ranking in the WBA is likely the largest prize in the fight, to the victor also goes the NABA interim title.

“It’s like my wishes came true — slowly,” Hovhannisyan said of the opportunity. “It’s my first title shot.”

Hovhannisyan (15-0-2, eight knockouts) will return to the ring after a hiatus of roughly seven months, while the 27-year-old Perez (16-11-1) takes the fight on a bit of short notice and a layoff of more than a year. But he said he’s more than ready to go.

“It’s been OK,” said Perez of taking the fight on late notice. “I always keep myself in the gym whether I have a fight [scheduled] or not.”

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