Olympian visits Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville Herald, TX
June 25 2004

Olympian visits Brownsville
By Criselda Valdez Villarreal
The Brownsville Herald

June 25, 2004 – Vanes Martirosyan lives and breathes the adage that
`winners never quit and quitters never win.’

Martirosyan – the No. 1-ranked welterweight boxer in the United
States – traveled to Brownsville on Thursday to visit with
participants in the 2004 U.S. Junior Olympic National Championship

The now Glendale, Calif., resident moved from Armenia to the United
States when he was 4. Nearly four years later, Martirosyan’s father
Noviq encouraged his active son to “do something positive and go to
the gym,” Martirosyan, now 18, said Thursday at the Jacob Brown

At the urging of his father, Martirosyan put on his first set of
boxing gloves and learned the sport. Eventually, his older brother
Vahe and his younger brother Vatche also started boxing.

When the time came that he wanted to play basketball, the Martirosyan
patriarch wouldn’t let him leave. Perhaps his father saw his second
born had Olympic potential.

His father was right.

In a few weeks, Martirosyan will travel to Athens, Greece for the
second time this summer to participate in the 2004 Olympics Games as
part of the boxing team.

The trip from his home in California to the island is just a plane
ride over, but the journey to the U.S. Olympic team was a little more

There are seven Olympic team-qualifying games, according to Julie
Goldsticker, USA Boxing director of media and public relations.

The last two were the Everlast U.S. Championships in Colorado and the
Western trials in Bakersfield, Calif. – and the only two that
Martirosyan fought in.

The championships in January ended in disqualification after
Martirosyan threw a `body shot,’ Goldsticker said.

With only one chance left at the Western trials in early February,
Martirosyan said his father and Uncle Serg Martirosyan encouraged him
to have fun. After all, they told him, he had nothing to lose.

Walking into the trials as a relative unknown and definite underdog,
Martirosyan’s first fight was against the U.S. No. 2-ranked boxer in
the welterweight division Timothy Bradley.

`I beat him,’ he said quietly.

After winning the championships, Martirosyan moved on to the Olympic
Team Trials in Tunica, Miss., just two weeks later. According to
Goldsticker, the winners are determined by double elimination and the
winner of a `box-off’ – which features the winner of the weight-class
and the winner of the consolation weight-class – in Cleveland.

Martirosyan walked into the `box-off’ the champion and after winning
that game, became an Olympian.

He had just one more trial ahead before being named to the team –
Gold Rush games in Tijuana, Mexico. To be on the team, Martirosyan
explained, boxers have to win an international game.

Andre Berto, formerly ranked first in the United States before
leaving for his native home in Haiti, proved to be his biggest

Martirosyan won in a decision match after four rounds.

`I had to beat him to prove to everyone that I (deserved) to go,’ he

He knows that had it not been for his father encouraging him to stay
with boxing, he wouldn’t be going to Athens.

`I’m going for the gold,’ he said.

Martirosyan and two other members of the U.S. Olympic boxing team
will be at the former Amigoland Mall at 7 p.m. today for the first
Boxing on the Border fund-raiser for the Foundation for Brownsville

The fund-raiser will feature auctions, and attendees will have the
chance to meet the three boxing Olympians.

To purchase tickets or for more information on the Boxing on the
Border Fundraiser, call Dr. Rose Gowen’s office at 504-6880.