NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Having fought just three times since 2019, pending unrestricted free agent Azat Hovhannisyan is looking to kick his career into overdrive. 

Hovhannisyan (21-3, 17 KOs) will get the major opportunity he’s long been clamoring for this Saturday when he takes on former two-division world champion Luis “Pantera” Nery (33-1, 25 KOs) at the Fox Theater Pomona in California on DAZN. 

The 34-year-old Armenian contender nicknamed "Crazy A" has previously had knockout wins against Ronny Rios and Franklin Manzanilla.

Promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and managed by former manager of the year Egis Klimas, Hovhannisyan has the right partners around him to provide him career-shifting opportunities. 

“This is a very important moment for me in my career. The last time I got a world title shot against Rey Vargas in 2018 I fell short and I want to make sure that never happens again. This is my second opportunity and I need to make the most of it,” Hovhannisyan told in an interview. 

“I’ve been preparing to put myself in this position. I’m ready for my moment.”

Hovhannisyan’s 12-round bout against Nery will be a WBC title eliminator for the super bantamweight crown currently held by Stephen Fulton. 

“If I beat Nery, I should have a lot of opportunities presented to me at 122 pounds. I’ve been ready for a title shot for a while. I want to fight Naoya Inoue, Stephen Fulton, and Murodjon Akhmadaliev now,” said Hovhannisyan.

“I’m going to be a promotional free agent after the Nery fight. We’re not closing the door with Golden Boy or pursuing a particular route with anyone else but it won’t prevent us from pursuing the best path in the future. I want to be able to have the freedom to work with every promoter in order to make the big fights. I want to maintain good relationships so that the doors are never closed. This is a business. The goal is to further my career and make money. It’s complete and utter nonsense when people say fighters are afraid to fight each other.”

The relentless and always-entertaining Hovhannisyan is coming off a highlight-reel worthy, second-round stoppage win against Dagoberto Aguero in April.

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at], or via