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Rey Vargas to defend 122-pound title against upset specialist Azat Hovhannisyan

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Undefeated WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas 31-0 (22) will defend his title against Azat “Crazy” Hovhannisyan 14-2 (11) in the main support bout to Sadam Ali’s WBO junior middleweight title defence against Liam “Beefy” Smith at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York on May 12.

Both fights on the Golden Boy Promotions card will be broadcast by HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” from 10pm ET.

Vargas picked up the vacant WBC super bantamweight title with a majority decision win over Gavin McDonnell in Hull, England in February last year. He has since defended the title against Ronny Rios and Oscar Negrete, winning both contests on points.

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“I’m ready to make the third defense of my world title in what will be the next step of a historic career,” the 27-year-old Mexican champion said to ESPN.com. “I’ve faced the best contenders since becoming world champion, and May 12 will not be the exception.

“Hovhannisyan is explosive and fast, but I will be prepared to win in exciting fashion to show that I’m the best in the world.”

Hovhannisyan, a 29-year-old Armenian now fighting out of Los Angeles, California, shot into title contention with his upset sixth round knockout of contender Ronny Rios last month. When Vargas fought Rios two fights earlier, he needed the full twelve rounds to secure victory.

“This is the most important fight of my career,” Hovhannisyan told ESPN.com. “I’ve prepared for this fight my entire life. Vargas is a great champion and this will be a hard fight, but I will do anything it takes to win this title.”

Oscar De La Hoya expects both fights on the HBO telecast to produce fireworks.

“Both of these world championship fights on May 12 will provide action from the opening bell,” the Golden Boy Promotions CEO told ESPN.com. “Rey Vargas is the man to beat in the 122-pound division, and Azat Hovhannisyan has put in the work to potentially dethrone him.”

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