Vanes Martirosyan has learned to be patient inside the ring. The approach can only help the undefeated super welterweight as he deals with the politics of boxing.
Martirosyan (28-0, 17 knockouts) is looking for a world title shot in 2010. He owns the NABF and NABO belts, which both will be at stake tonight when he faces former world champion Kassim Ouma in the 10-round main event at the Hard Rock Hotel.
“I’m very excited about this year,” Martirosyan said. “This is what I’ve been working toward — a (world) title shot — and this fight is an important step to getting that.”
Martirosyan, who is working with trainer Freddie Roach again, said he’s a much better all-around fighter now and is punching with more power.
Roach and Martirosyan teamed for the first 17 fights of his career before Martirosyan left in 2008 to work briefly with Ronnie Shields.
“Freddie has been unbelievable to work with,” Martirosyan said. “When I look at my last three fights — all knockouts — I can see how much better I’ve gotten.”
Since they reunited last spring, Roach has made the 23-year-old former U.S. Olympian think more in the ring and not just rely on his physical gifts.
“I’m a more complete fighter,” Martirosyan said. “I’m taking my time. Before, I was anxious. I just wanted to take my opponent out and get out of there. With Freddie, I’m pacing myself, and I’m still getting the knockouts. When the trainer tells you to do something and it works, it does so much for your confidence.”
Roach said getting Martirosyan not to rush was more about channeling his anger inside the ring.
“I’m getting him to stay calm, use his brain,” Roach said. “We got him back to his fundamentals, and he’s looking real sharp.”
Martirosyan also has been working with Alex Ariza, a member of Roach’s team who is the strength and conditioning coach for Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan.
Ariza has Martirosyan working on quickness and balance more than strength. He does exercises in a swimming pool and speed work on a track.
Martirosyan said the unorthodox training methods appeal to him.
“I like it; it’s different,” he said. “You don’t get bored.”
Martirosyan hopes to get a shot at WBA champion Yuri Foreman, IBF titleholder Cory Spinks or WBO champ Sergiy Dzinziruk later this year. But he can’t afford to take a step back, making tonight’s fight critical.
“This is the biggest fight for me so far,” Martirosyan said. “But I’m ready to keep moving forward and get the year off to a great start.”
Ouma is 26-6-1 with 16 KOs but has lost four of his past five fights
Tonight’s main undercard fight between Miguel “Mikey” Garcia and Joksan Hernandez was canceled after Hernandez had visa problems and couldn’t enter the country from Mexico.
The card is the first in Top Rank’s new TV agreement with Fox Sports Net and will feature local fighters Diego Magdaleno and Anthony Lenk on the undercard. Opening bell is at 7:15 p.m.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913.