Azat Hovhannisyan to face Franklin Manzanilla on September 5
Junior featherweight contender Azat Hovhannisyan will square off against Franklin Manzanilla on September 5, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Monday.
The 12-round bout will take place at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. The fight will stream live on RingTV.com and Facebook Watch via the “Golden Boy Fight Night” page (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
The clash between Hovhannisyan and Manzanilla is a crossroads bout between former title challengers. The stakes are high for both fighters as neither can afford a loss at this stage of their caeers.
Hovhannisyan (17-3, 14 knockouts), who is originally from Armenia and now resides in Los Angeles, last fought on June 14, knocking out former bantamweight contender Glenn Porras in round four. Hovhannisyan has won his last three bouts since losing a unanimous decision to WBC junior featherweight titleholder Rey Vargas on May 12 of last year.
The 31-year-old Hovhannisyan believes his skill-set and power will be too much for Manzanilla.
“I feel I have a big responsibility by being the main event,” said Hovhannisyan, who also has a knockout victory over Ronny Rios. “I feel I have to put on an even better show now. Manzanilla is strong but his boxing abilities aren’t strong. On September 5, there will be a knockout.”
Like Hovhannisyan, Manzanilla also challenged Vargas for the WBC title. In that clash last February 9, the 31-year-old Manzanilla dropped Vargas in round two but would ultimately lose a unanimous decision.
Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KOs), who is originally from Venezuela and now resides in Barranquilla, Colombia, believes he has fought the better opposition between the two contenders, which could make the difference on September 5.
“With a doubt, I left a great impression in my United States debut against world champion Rey Vargas,” said Manzanilla, who won the right to face Vargas by stopping Julio Ceja on May 26 of last year. “Now (Golden Boy has) offered the opportunity to fight Azat Hovhannisyan, who is a strong fighter that is highly recognized in the sport. However I promise that I will walk away with my hand raised in victory to show that I am a solid contender for a world championship.”
In the co-feature of the Golden Boy telecast, featherweight Francisco Esparza will face Rigoberto Hermosillo in an eight-round bout.
Esparza (9-1-1, 3 KOs) suffered his first defeat as a pro in his most recent bout on May 4, losing to Aram Avagyan by unanimous decision in Esparza’s hometown of Las Vegas.
Hermosillo (11-1-1, 8 KOs), who resides in the boxing hotbed of Guadalajara, Mexico, also suffered the first defeat as a pro in his most bout, losing a split decision to Manny Robles III on May 16.
Middleweight Chris Ousley (11-0, 9 KOs) of Chicago will square off against El Paso’s Even Torres (7-8, 5 KOs) in a six-round bout.
Junior middleweight Edwin Soto (13-3-2, 5 KOs) of Puerto Rico and juinior lightweight James Wilkins (7-1, 6 KOs) of Staten Island, New York will fight in separate bouts to round out the card.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.
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