Rare is the time when a former world champion and a contender are the main events on a club show, but promoter Kahren Harutyunyan is not your normal small-time promoter.
He dreams big.
The former prizefighter from Armenia graduated from UCLA and now dreams of not just boxing, but also a number of goals. On Saturday, Dec. 20, former junior middleweight world champion Roman Karmazin (36-3-1, 23 KOs) meets perennial contender Bronco McKart (51-8-1, 31 KOs) in the main event at Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood.
The fight card is promoted by Art of Boxing Promotions, began by Harutyunyan. He dreams of getting a law degree, giving Armenian prizefighters the exposure he never had, and of putting on the first pro boxing fight card in the city of Glendale.
A pro boxing card has never happened in that city that boasts the largest Armenian population in the country of more than 80,000.
“We have a lot of tradition of Armenian boxing,” said the articulate boxing promoter who won the NABO junior bantamweight title in 2005. “I want to give them the opportunities I never had. I was always the opponent who was supposed to lose.”
One year ago, he attempted to stage a fight card in Glendale and discovered that the city of Glendale had a ban on boxing that existed since World War II. That inspired him to lobby the Glendale City Council.
He succeeded. Early next year, his boxing promotion will be allowed an opportunity to put on the very first pro boxing card in that city.
“We got a solution. I got a conditional permit for a onetime event. We found out that the law has been there for 65 years,” said Harutyunyan, 26. “We had a lot of discussions with the mayor and city council.”
Even as a prizefighter Harutyunyan was not your average fighter. Despite a height disadvantage on most occasions, he fought current IBF flyweight world champion Nonito Donaire and gave him a rough time in losing by split-decision in Temecula back in 2006. It was also the same year he graduated from UCLA.
In June 2009, he plans to take the law school admissions exam.
On Saturday, a large fight card worthy of a big-time Las Vegas promotion takes place in nearby Inglewood. Harutyunyan does everything big.
“It’s always been my style to break the stereotypes,” said Harutyunyan, whose last pro fight was two years ago. “People think because I was a fighter I have no education or no intelligence. We can do many other things too.”
Highly regarded lightweight prospect John Molina signed a contract with Goossen-Tutor Boxing Promotions on Monday.
The hard-hitting undefeated Molina (14-0, 10 KOs) had been courted by several boxing promotion companies for the last two years and finally signed with the Sherman Oaks-based group that also has James Toney, Paul Williams and Riverside’s Chris Arreola.
Molina, 25, began boxing later than most pro fighters. He wrestled in high school and was trained up to now by South El Monte’s Ben Lira. Because of family matters Lira cannot train the Covina fighter so now Joe Goossen is taking over.
“We drive every day to Van Nuys to train with Mr. Goossen,” said Joe Molina, John’s father. “Ben Lira will always be a part of the team.”
Molina’s last fight was a knockout win over Fernando Lizarraga, but this past May, in Montebello, he knocked out rugged Mexican fighter Jose Lugo who went the distance with Philadelphia’s undefeated Danny Garcia and drew with undefeated Mike Dallas Jr.
“It’s time for me to move up in competition,” Molina said.
Bad news for the junior lightweights, as Molina has decided to give the 130-pound division a run.
“I fought at 130 and felt pretty strong,” said Molina. “Lizarraga hit me a few times and I didn’t feel a thing so I’m going to try it out.”
HBO.com has been featuring the Riverside heavyweight on one of its internet programs.
Arreola was the victor in a heavyweight showdown with Florida’s Travis Walker at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario two weeks ago. It was a knockdown fest with Arreola hitting the deck once and Walker floored three times.
Last Saturday, Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko knocked out Hasim Rahman and was asked who could be considered as possible opponents for the WBO and IBF titles he holds. The heavyweight world titleholder mentioned Arreola and England’s David Haye as strong possibilities.
“Of course we like that we’re considered by Klitschko,” said Henry Ramirez, trainer of Arreola. “Everyone wants Klitschko.”
Ramirez said that Arreola does not want to fight any more prospects and prefers a big name opponent or someone with a world title.
World Boxing Council Museum
A fund raising event for Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez has been planned for Jan. 17, 2009 at the WBC Legends of Boxing Museum in San Bernardino.
Former world champion Hernandez is suffering from a rare cancer located behind his right eye.
“He’s one of the great guys in the sport,” said Jaime Ochoa, the spokesman for the museum.
Hernandez, 42, only had two losses in his pro career and held the junior lightweight world titles twice. The losses came to future Hall of Fame fighters Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Now the likeable Hernandez works as a boxing and mixed martial arts analyst for television and radio. All proceeds will go to a fund to assist with the medical needs of Hernandez. For information go to www.wbclegendsofboxing.com
Fights on television
Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Mike Alvarado (23-0) vs. Miguel Angel Huerta (27-9-1).
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?