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Azat Hovhannisyan: Luis Nery has my respect, but he’s in for a war

Azat Hovhannisyan is gearing up for a war against Luis Nery on Feb. 18.

Azat Hovhannisyan faces Luis Nery in what could be an all-action battle on Feb. 18
Azat Hovhannisyan faces Luis Nery in what could be an all-action battle on Feb. 18
Golden Boy/Cris Esqueda

Azat Hovhannisyan will face Luis Nery in a WBC junior featherweight eliminator on Saturday, Feb. 18, with the two meeting in a DAZN main event from Pomona, Calif.

Hovhannisyan (21-3, 17 KO) has won seven straight fights since coming up short in a WBC title challenge against Rey Vargas in May 2018, battling through opposition and keeping himself relevant in a 122 lb division that has changed quite a bit since his last major opportunity.

Now, he squares up with Nery (33-1, 25 KO), a former 118 and 122 lb titlist who has won two straight since losing a junior featherweight unification against Brandon Figueroa in May 2021.

Most expect this to be a terrific action fight, and Hovhannisyan — who is nicknamed “Crazy A” for good reason, with his style — sees it that way, too.

“When the contract came to fight Nery, I was so thankful,” he said on Thursday. “I thought, ‘Finally the time has come. I’ve waited three-and-a-half years for this opportunity. I respect Nery, but in 10 days it will be war. I think I will win.”

Hovhannisyan was last in the ring in April 2022, stopping Dagoberto Aguero in the second round on the Ryan Garcia vs Emmanuel Tagoe undercard in San Antonio.

Nery, 28, made a low-key return to the ring in Tijuana last October for his most recent outing, stopping David Carmona in the third round of a 130 lb stay-busy bout. Most last saw him in Feb. 2022, winning a split decision over previously-unbeaten Carlos Castro on the Keith Thurman vs Mario Barrios PPV undercard in Las Vegas.

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