Luis Nery vs Azat Hovhannisyan is now official for Saturday, Feb. 18 on DAZN, with Golden Boy promoting the WBC 122 lb eliminator from the Fox Theater in Pomona, Calif.
“I am ready for the next challenge and prove yet again that I am the best, super bantamweight in the world,” said Nery. “Azat Hovhannisyan is an experienced and high-quality opponent, but the reality is that I’m ranked No. 1 by the WBC and if I win this fight I will be ready to challenge Stephen Fulton or Murodjon Akhmadaliev so they can no longer avoid me. Luis Nery is here for the long haul.”
“I have a lot of respect for Luis,” said Hovhannisyan. “He’s a former world champion and a very talented fighter. I know I’m going to have to do everything I can to win.”
Nery (33-1, 25 KO) is a former bantamweight titleholder and has had one of the sport’s more controversial runs since exploding onto the world scene with a TKO-4 win over Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2017, but he has been a top fighter at both 118 and 122. His lone loss came via stoppage against Brandon Figueroa in 2021, and he’s won two straight since, beating Carlos Castro in early 2022 and then David Carmona in a 130 lb stay-busy last October in Mexico.
The 28-year-old southpaw will be the favorite in this fight, but Hovhannisyan (21-3, 17 KO) is a hard-charging fighter who will be more than game, and he’s also the natural 122 lber in this matchup.
Hovhannisyan, 34, has won seven in a row, six of them by stoppage, since losing a title shot against Rey Vargas in 2018.
“You will see two hungry fighters who have been waiting for their chance at another opportunity to be at the top of their division,” said Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya. “You will see Hovhannisyan live up to his name as ‘Crazy A’ and pull out all the stops against Nery in this title eliminator to get a step closer to becoming a world champion.”
“We are very excited to have Nery back in the United States,” said Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Boxing. “This fight is a great challenge for Luis, but he is at the top of his game and has not stopped preparing. I am sure that Nery will show why he is one of the best fighters in his division and that he can beat anyone.”
In short, this really does shape up as a potentially great fight, could be an absolute war for as long as it lasts, and a nice addition to the schedule. It also gives U.S. fans something to watch on that evening, because Feb. 18 had been empty until now.