By Steve Kim
On Friday night at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa, California, Azat Hovhannisyan impressively halted former title challenger, Ronny Rios, in six rounds.
With that nature of his victory, he may have earned a crack at WBC super bantamweight titlist Rey Vargas.
His trainer, Freddie Roach, believes he's ready for anyone at 122-pounds - "I believe so, he's ready to deal with all of them. He's got a great punch and great skills."
The 29-year old Armenian was signed by Golden Boy Promotion last year had a reputation as being one of the roughest fighters in the gym the past several years.
Roach says of Hovhannisyan (14-2, 11 KO's) - "he's got a real skill set but he has great punching power, also. He can hit with both hands and he has a great chin."
Hovhannisyan says he will need a bit of time to recover from a swollen hand. But he says with a few months,"any champion, no problem. Any champion, I'm ready."
Roach concurs - "Line them up, we'll fight anybody."
Azat has now won eight fights in a row, since losing a six round majority decision to Walter Santibanes in November of 2014. His other career defeat came in his pro debut, when he lost a four round decision in his pro debut.
Vargas (31-0, 22 KOs), who is trained by Hall of Fame coach Nacho Beristain, was last seen in action back in December when he won a twelve round decision over unbeaten Oscar Negrete.
The champion stayed active in 2017 with two other outings. Earlier in the year, he traveled over to the UK to win the vacant WBC title a twelve round decision over the talented Gavin McDonnell, and then in August he won a twelve round decision over Ronnie Rios in an HBO televised bout.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.