Artem Harutyunyan has wanted this type of opportunity for several years.

The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist might be unknown among American boxing fans, but the Armenian-born, German-bred lightweight contender cannot wait to surprise those discounting his chances of upsetting heavily favored Frank Martin on Saturday night. Unlike some 135-pound contenders, Harutyunyan didn’t hesitate to accept a fight with Martin after the undefeated southpaw dominated Dominican contender Michel Rivera in his last fight.

“He’s a good boxer,” Harutyunyan told regarding Martin. “He has talent. But he’s not an Errol Spence Jr. or Mayweather. He wants to be, but he isn’t.”

Harutyunyan has seen only short clips of Martin’s matches, but the awkward, orthodox boxer hasn’t noticed anything on film that he hasn’t encountered.

“He’s southpaw, but for me there’s no difference between southpaw and orthodox,” Harutyunyan said. “I have a lot of experience in my amateur career, with nearly 250 fights, and a lot of them were southpaws. It doesn’t matter for me. He’s just one step for me to go further and fight for the world title.”

The 28-year-old Martin (17-0, 12 KOs) is ranked second by the WBA, fifth by the WBC, sixth by the IBF and seventh by the WBO. Harutyunyan (12-0, 7 KOs) is rated in the top 15 only by the WBC, which lists him eighth among its lightweight contenders.

The 32-year-old Harutyunyan has competed almost exclusively in his hometown of Hamburg, Germany, where he moved from Armenia when he was 1 year old, since he turned pro late in 2017. He will make his debut in the United States when boxes Martin in a 12-round bout Showtime will televise as the main event of a three-bout broadcast set to begin at 10 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. PDT).

“I want to fight for the world title,” Harutyunyan said. “So, it doesn’t matter who is in front of me. I want to show the world who I am. This is my first time in Las Vegas and there was a big ‘Wow’ effect for me. And that’s what I want to represent in the ring. I want to take all those feelings inside the ring and I want all the people after my fight, after they see me, to say, ‘Wow!’ I want them to feel the same way I felt about Las Vegas.”

An appreciative Harutyunyan commended Martin for giving him an opportunity to prove himself.

“My style is difficult,” Harutyunyan said. “A lot of other fighters may be scared to fight me because my style is too dangerous. I was waiting for this opportunity for a lot of years. Now this opportunity is here and I want to [take advantage] of the chance.”

Showtime will air two 10-round bouts before Martin-Harutyunyan.

Dominican junior welterweight contender Elvis Rodriguez (14-1-1, 12 KOs) and Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (31-4, 12 KOs) are set to meet in the co-feature. Welterweight prospect Freudis Rojas (10-0, 10 KOs), a Las Vegas native, will meet Mexico’s Diego Sanchez (19-2, 16 KOs) in the opener of the telecast (10 p.m. EDT; 7 p.m. PDT).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.