Frank Martin vs. Artem Harutyunyan: A Ghost of a Chance

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Undefeated rising lightweight contender Frank Martin is eager to show he's ready for the division's top dogs when he faces the unbeaten Artem Harutyunyan Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

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Frank Martin vs Artem Harutyunyan PREVIEW: July 15, 2023 | PBC on SHOWTIME

This Saturday, July 15, live on SHOWTIME (10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT) from The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, undefeated top contender Frank “The Ghost” Martin (17-0, 12 KOs) takes on undefeated Olympic bronze medalist Artem Harutyunyan (12-0, 7 KOs) in a WBC Lightweight Title Eliminator atop a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The Story

Frank Martin established his “for real” top contender status this past December when he dropped fellow unbeaten rising star Michel Rivera on his way to a one-sided unanimous decision victory. Prior to that, his career high-water mark wins had come against Jackson Marinez, Romero Duno, and Jerry Perez.

The 28-year-old Indianapolis native now trains out of the Dallas area and is working under the guidance of highly regarded trainer Derrick James and alongside promoter and unified three-belt welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. 

A win this Saturday keeps the ball rolling for Martin, who is looking to get into the mix at the deep end of the talented and lucrative lightweight division.

Artem Harutyunyan captured a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil and turned pro the following year. 

Born in Armenia, he fights out of Hamburg, Germany and has, thus far, remained “in country” for all  twelve of his professional bouts. 

In his most recent showing, in June 2022, he scored a unanimous decision victory over Humberto Galindo. Before that, he notched victories over Samuel Molina, Vladyslav Melnyk, and Miguel Antin.

Saturday’s contest will be his U.S. debut and the first fight outside of his German home base. He’ll be looking to not only earn his first world title shot, but to also make a name for himself on the world stage.

The Stakes

At stake in this WBC Lightweight Title Eliminator is a world title shot and likely an opportunity to join the mix of top 135-pounders in potential big-money bouts. 

The Matchup

Martin didn’t start boxing until the late age of 18, but he showed great boxing instincts and an aptitude for the sport that allowed him to develop quickly.

Strong and naturally tenacious, the southpaw’s style is a deceptively simple one, built around a range-finder jab, a follow-up left, and a right hook. His use of angles and subtle movement keeps opposition a step behind and unwilling to invest into a full-on attack. Although not a one-punch knockout artist, everything he throws is solid, well-placed, and impactful.

On defense, Martin maintains a high guard to pick off punches. He also likes to get under incoming shots to facilitate his own counters. 

ā€œ Iā€™m ready to make a statement. ā€ Undefeated Lightweight Contender - Frank "The Ghost" Martin

Harutyunyan prefers to fight coming forward, but also accounts fairly well for himself going backwards. Fighting behind a probing jab, the 32-year-old’s best offensive weapon is a winging right hand. The uppercut is also a favorite weapon.

Poised and confident, the Olympic bronze medalist is hard to rattle and pull off his game.

Defensively, Harutyunyan works to pick off shots whenever he can, but is also adept at swerving away from and ducking under punches.

The Words

Frank Martin

“Anyone who doesn’t know about me, I want to wake them up to who I am with a great performance on July 15. I know he’s undefeated too and coming in there to try and upset me, but we’ll be prepared for whatever he brings. I’m ready to make a statement. I’m definitely not looking past Harutyunyan, but I’m ready for the best fighters and this performance will show everyone how ready I am.”

Artem Harutyunyan

“I respect all of my opponents, but Frank Martin is just my next step toward reaching my dream of becoming world champion. I’m very happy to be making my U.S. debut in Las Vegas and I know that the crowd is going to love me. I’ve been training in Germany and working hard for months now. All of this is going to lead to an extraordinary win over Frank Martin.”

The Breakdown

On paper, Martin has just about every edge in this title eliminator, aside from, arguably, amateur pedigree. 

Martin will come into Saturday’s bout with advantages in athleticism, versatility, level of opposition, and overall skill level. He also has the benefit of elite-level world class training with Derrick James and alongside Errol Spence Jr. 

Harutyunyan’s Olympic run, however, can’t be discounted. His undefeated twelve-fight run as a professional also can’t be overlooked. Despite not having faced the same level of opposition as Martin, he’s looked good overall and has never suffered for lack of confidence. Up until now, he’s passed every test presented to him.

Expect Martin to immediately test Harutyunyan’s mettle by chopping away at him, both from the inside and the outside. If the Armenia-born German can’t keep Martin honest and respectful, the fight will be a lost cause and the American will work his way to a dominant victory.

Harutyunyan will need to utilize his jab to its full potential to establish distance and then work his way into spots where he can land his wide right hand. Old school boxing logic says that the best weapon against a southpaw is a long right hand and Harutyunyan will be looking to make that belief hold true.

Realistically, though, Martin is very good and on the verge of even bigger things. It’ll take a Herculean effort from the underdog and/or a big slipup by the favorite to keep Martin from moving on to the next stage of his career.

For a closer look at Martin vs Harutyunyan, check out our fight night page. 

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