Martirosyan returns home a local hero

Los Angeles Times , CA
March 23 2004

Martirosyan returns home a local hero

Boxing: Glendale resident honored by Homenetmen Glendale Ararat
Chapter after qualifying for 2004 Summer Olympics.

By Charles Rich, News-Press

LOS ANGELES – Outside the boxing ring, he’s shy.

Flashbulbs popped inside the Baghdararian-Shahinian Hall of the
Homenetmen Glendale Ararat Chapter on Monday night to catch a glimpse
of Vanes Martirosyan, who was flanked by family members, city
councilmen and former international boxers in honor of him earning a
spot on the 2004 United States Olympic boxing team.

The 17-year-old Martirosyan, a Glendale resident, won the gold medal
in the welterweight division when he beat Haiti’s Andre Berto, 25-21,
in a four-round decision in Tijuana. The 6-foot, 152-pounder
qualified for the Olympics – which will be held in Athens – on
Thursday after he beat Adam Trumpish of Canada in a semifinal bout.

“I’m shy, but I’m going for the gold medal,” said Martirosyan, a
senior at Verdugo Hills High. “It hasn’t hit me yet that I’ll be
competing in the Olympics, and I feel like I’m living a dream.

“I’m so happy to be back home. To come back to Glendale after being
in other countries, you feel the love.”

Martirosyan, who sported a small welt under his right eye, had
several trophies and victory belts displayed on a small circular
table. He was given a plaque by the Homenetmen Chapter, commemorating
his accomplishments.

Martirosyan received plenty of advice, including some from Glendale
City Councilman Bob Yousefian.

“You’ve achieved such a high goal,” Yousefian said. “You can achieve
what you dream in this country.

“We are proud that you are Armenian, American and from Glendale.”

The support didn’t stop there.

Burbank resident Vazek Gazarian, who spent nine years on the Iran
National Team, said Martirosyan could win the gold medal.

“I’m so glad for him,” said Gazarian, who fought in the 1960 Summer
Olympics in Rome after he won a silver medal at the 1958 Asian Games
in Tokyo. “I hope he’s got a good chance.

“In any fight, you’ve got to have good luck.”

Martirosyan’s father, Norik, introduced him to boxing in 1994.
Martirosyan said he’ll be flanked by his family – in the United
States and Greece – when the Olympic boxing competition begins in

Until then, there will be many practices to prepare Martirosyan for

“You can’t be shy in the ring,” said Martirosyan, who was one of
seven U.S. boxers to qualify for the Summer Olympics. “I’m already
getting advice on using my jabs more.”