Former U.S. Olympian and world title challenger Vanes Martirosyan sets forth to begin a new chapter in his career Friday when he faces Mexican knockout artist Mario Alberto Lozano.
The 10-round junior middleweight bout headlines ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) from the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, Calif.
Much has changed for Martirosyan (32-1-1, 20 KOs) since last November when he lost by split decision in a 154-pound title bout to fellow unbeaten Demetrius Andrade. The loss sent Martirosyan, 27, into depression and ended his long relationship with Top Rank.
Martirosyan, based in Glendale, Calif., decided to make a change and signed with promoter Dan Goossen, along with his promoter and trainer Joe Goossen. Martirosyan has been outspoken in how pleased he is with the move after his frustration during his Top Rank tenure with then-trainer Freddie Roach, who sometimes left him to care for other pupils, thus undermining their training camps. Martirosyan said he now feels at home and with a team 100 percent dedicated to his preparation.
However, he'll need to show off the benefits of this change when he faces Lozano (28-4, 22 KOs), 26, a power puncher from Chihuahua, Mexico, who has won nine of his past 10 bouts.
Lozano, who is one fight removed from a debated decision defeat to hometown fighter Charles Hatley in Dallas, was named the opponent for Martirosyan after the first option, Argentine Luciano Cuello, abandoned the fight due to economic differences.
For Martirosyan, a native of Armenia, the fight is expected to be a real test due to his opponent's aggressive style. Lozano sets the pace with a jab that he often surprises with by transforming it into a hook.
While Lozano employs an orthodox guard, he effectively uses both hands for his power shots, especially on hooks from the outside. Martirosyan's advantages appear to be his speed and wingspan. Look for him to attack early from distance with his jab before releasing hooks and overhand shots from multiple angles.
In the co-main event, a 10-round lightweight bout, Anthony Peterson (32-1, 21 KOs) faces Dominican Marcos Jimenez (20-4, 13 KOs). Peterson, brother of junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson, suffered his only loss in 2010 against former titlist Brandon Rios.