A Conversation with “the Nightmare” Whose past Year of Training for Fights That Fell Through Prepared Him for Gennady Golovkin Showdown Cinco De Mayo — Saturday,May 5 — at StubHub Center Live on HBO®
GLENDALE, CALIF. (April 20, 2018) — Two-time world title challenger and 2004 Olympian VANES “THE NIGHTMARE” MARTIROSYAN (36-3-1, 21 KOs), from Glendale, Calif., challenges undefeated World Middleweight Champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN (37-0-1, 33 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan.
The recently announced world championship rumble between the 2004 Olympians is only 14 days away and takes place on Cinco De Mayo — Saturday, May 5 — under the stars at StubHub Center and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Martirosyan was one of a handful of boxers in the conversation as Golovkin’s May 5 opponent following the cancellation of the Canelo rematch. Martirosyan was ready to go when the call came. He had been sparring with a couple of undefeated Russian boxers.
“Throughout the year, two camps started on and off. Every time we started somebody pulled out.,’ said Martirosyan. ‘The last was the WBC mandatory against Sulecki on March 17. We were getting ready for that and that didn’t happen because Sulecki pulled out to fight Danny Jacobs. So then we took a week off and got back in the gym again. It’s been like that for the past year – we would start camp then the fight falls through, then we take a week off and get back to camp again.
“Every time I talked to my promoter Don King, I would tell him my passion. I would tell him ‘give me a fight, let me show you what I can do.’ I knew he had been working hard to get me a fight then he got me this fight. When they asked me if I wanted it I said ‘of course.’ They asked me if I could be 176 by Friday and I said I am 176 right now. Thank God we were training and in such good shape. King got me the biggest fight and now it’s time to go.
“As a fighter, we train to fight and we are getting paid to fight. I am so happy because GGG is a fighter and he comes to fight. The fights that I didn’t look good in are against the people that ran from me like Lara and Andrade (recent decision losses) – they just try to run and outbox. I couldn’t make them fight. But GGG is coming to fight and that’s what I’ve been looking for – to show the boxing world what I can do.
“Styles make fights – everyone is human. I am fighting a person. Everyone is beatable – everybody.
Former UFC world champion and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey has shared the gym with Vanes for several years. “Ronda is a close friend of mine,” Martirosyan explained. “She’s always been a hard worker and gives us a lot of support. We came up together. We trained together when she only had one fight and was also working in a graveyard with dogs. Then she became a superstar. Ronda made it big in the UFC and now it is my turn to shock the world and let the boxing world hear my story. When she heard about the fight she told us she is very happy and real excited for us. ”
Golovkin and Martirosyan together boast a combined record of 73-3-2 (54 KOs) — a winning percentage of 94% with close to 3/4 of those victories coming by way of knockout.
Golovkin, boxing’s longest-reigning world champion (since 2010), and coming off consecutive title defenses against Canelo Alvarez and Danny Jacobs, will be making his 20th consecutive and record-tying middleweight title defense. Martirosyan’s resume boasts NABF, NABO, WBO Inter-Continental, WBA International and WBC Silver championship victories against the likes of former world champions Ishe Smith and Kassim Ouma, as well as a draw against Erislandy Lara. Standing at six-feet tall, Martirosyan will enter the ring as the taller and the younger gladiator. He is currently the WBC’s No. 1 world-rated super welterweight contender.
Header photo by Stephanie Trapp/Showtime