U.S. Olympic boxer fought here last year

Alexandria Town Talk, LA
July 11 2004

TOMPKINS: U.S. Olympic boxer fought here last year
Bob Tompkins / Staff Reporter/Columnist

USA Boxing officials weren’t kidding last year when they said there
might be a future Olympian in the Under-19 National Championship
Boxing Tournament that was held last August in Alexandria.

There was.

Vanes Matriroysan, a native Armenian and resident of Glendale, Calif.
who lost the 152-pound title bout to Nick Casal of Niagra Falls,
N.Y., here last August, is one of nine members on the U.S. Boxing
Team that will compete next month in Athens.

Curiously, after Casal won the title by beating Martirosyan, he said,
“It was the most competitive fight I’ve had this year. He definitely
belonged in the finals. He’s a good fighter.”

Martiroysyan, 18, was ranked just 14th in his weight class in
January, but he won 11 fights in six weeks and took advantage of
slips by boxers with bigger reputations to make the U.S. Olympic

A semifinalist at this year’s U.S. Championships in Colorado Springs,
Colo., Martirosyan then beat five foes in five days to win the
Western Trials, which got him to the Olympic Trials. After America’s
top two welterweights were disqualified, Martirosyan advanced to the
Trials final and beat Corey Jones, 18-4. He then outpointed Austin
Trout at the Box-Offs to make the U.S. team and won the Americas
qualifier in Tijuana, Mexico.

Vicente Escobedo, another member of the U.S. team, didn’t box here
last August, but Anthony Vasquez of Snyder, Texas, who was runner-up
in the 132-pound finals in the Under-19 Championships here, pulled
the upset of the U.S. Championships last March by defeating Escobedo.
The U.S. National Champion in ’03, Escobedo, 22, won the Western
Trials to get back on track to making the Olympic team.

Eric Parthen, the executive director of USA Boxing, expressed
disappointment last week that Alexandria is no longer trying to build
a USA Boxing Southern training center, as it hoped to do a year ago
before state and federal grants for such a project were rejected.

“We’re certainly disappointed that hasn’t become a reality,” Parthen
said, “yet Central Louisiana is still being mentioned as a possible
site in the future, so it’s not dead yet.”

Officials from USA Boxing spoke highly of this community, the
hospitality and news coverage during their experience here last
summer, when Alexandria hosted the U.S. Junior Olympics and the
International Invitational Boxing Tournament in addition to the
Under-19 National Championships.

After all those positives, it’s a shame the bitter aftertaste lingers
with Louisiana College’s logical legal bout with Houston’s Galena
Park Boxing Academy and Youth Center for not paying a $78,000 bill
for food and lodging for the boxers during the first two events.

Galena Park director Kenny Weldon said many times to local officials
that while his group could bring the events to town, it could not
afford to finance them. The England Authority last summer voted to
provide “up to $30,000” to help with the financing of the U.S. Junior
Olympics (facility rentals, lodging, etc.) and the City of
Alexandria, according to Councilman Myron Lawson, agreed to
contribute $35,000 as a general sponsorship for the first two events.
Those events, incidentally, never would have taken place here without
LC’s help.

We can’t wait to see how this gets resolved, and LC, understandably,
wants the waiting to end.

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS