Boxing News Dec 28 2004
Simonyan fights for world title!
By Francisco Salazar
Unbeaten #1 rated super bantamweight Art Simonyan hopes to make himself and his native Armenia proud when he faces Israel Vasquez for the IBF world championship tonight at the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon, CA.
The bout will headline a six-bout card, presented by Ringside Boxing Promotions and Banner Promotions.
Simonyan (14-0-1, 7 KO's) from Glendale, CA by way of Yerevan, Armenia, had his coming out party with a technical knockout victory over Radford Beasley on an ESPN2 Friday Nights Fights telecast in December of 2002.
The following year, he won the USBA 122lb title with a a 12 round unanimous decision against former world title challenger Carlos Contreras in July 2003.
In May of 2004, he earned the right to face Vasquez when he defeated Fahsan (3K-Battery) Por Thawatchai by a 12 round unanimous decision in May. The bout was designated as an elimination bout.
Simonyan realized the significance of his last bout. However, he also understands the importance of this fight. "I'm training for everything in this bout. This is a big bout for me."
Simonyan has had to endure numerous obstacles in his quest to fight for a world title.
After a successful amateur career in Armenia, in 2000 Simonyan left behind his pregnant wife and moved to Glendale, California, which has an Armenian community of about 350,000. He has never seen his daughter, who is four years old now. He speaks to his family by telephone, but greatly misses their presence.
Simonyan turned 29 yesterday, but instead of celebrating his birthday with loved ones, he spent part of it making sure he made weight on the scales.
Simonyan hopes that these sacrifices will pay off big. He understands that Vasquez, who has won his last four bouts in a row, will be in top form to defend his title.
"He's a boxer who will come to fight," said Simonyan, who has won his last seven bouts in a row. "I know that he likes to brawl. I feel that I did my homework so that I could come out victorious."
Until this month, no Armenian fighter has ever won a world championship. Now Simonyan hopes to become the second Aremian this month to do the deed. (Flyweight Vic Darchinyan became the first Armenian champion when he KO'd Irene Pacheco for the IBF title on December 16 in Miami , Florida.)
His co-trainer, Peter Cunningham, feels that Simonyan is up to that challenge. He has seen Simonyan improve since early in his career.
"We all know a good fighter when you see one," said Cunningham, one day after Simonyan was finished training for the day. "Since the first day when I saw Art in the gym, I knew and recognized that he would one day be champion of the world. I love his skill, his sense of purpose, and his attitude is great. He definitely has the tools of a champion."
As Simonyan has grown to the solid fighter that he has become, he has also accumulated a mixture of bravado and maturity. He has gone as far as saying that he as a surprise for Vasquez, something that not even his previous opponents have seen. Still, Simonyan notes what the stakes are for this fight.
"This is the most important fight of my career. If I win this fight, my success will begin.".
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Update: Simonyan lost the fight in the 5th round.