Karapet wants justice at GLORY 10

Published on Jul 31, 2013

Karapet Karapetyan is not your avarage prizefighter. The 31-years old welterweight Armenian holds a master's degree in law and speaks five languages, including English, Russian and German. He is also one of the world’s top welterweight kickboxers, currently ranked at number five in the official GLORY World Series rankings.

Intelligence is a hallmark of Karapetyan’s game, as illustrated in his GLORY debut in April this year. He picked apart the highly-decorated Italian veteran Roberto Cocco before steadily turning up the pressure and dominating the fight. Karapetyan looked close to a KO but had to settle for a decision as the wily Cocco hung in there.

In September, Karapetyan (41-8-2) will make his second appearance for GLORY as he fights world number two Alexander Stetsurenko (48-7) of Russia. The fight, which takes place on the GLORY 10 card, is a rematch. The two met in Stetsurenko’s homeland last year in a Muay Thai promotion and Karapetyan thinks he was on the receiving end of a hometown decision.

“We fought last year in Moscow, Russia and I am very happy that we are getting the chance to fight again because on that occasion I do not feel the result was correct. I feel that I won the fight clearly and yet he was declared the winner,” he says.

“Not only was he declared the winner but it wasn’t correct anyway - two judges had it a draw and one judge had it for him so, on those scores, it should have been declared a majority draw. But it’s not problem for me, I respect the judges’ decision. Only this time I have to make a better fight so that it ends in the right way.”

Stetsurenko is ranked number two in the world, according to the official GLORY World Series rankings. He is one of a recent wave of fighters who are breaking out onto the world stage and elevating Russia to kickboxing powerhouse status.

“He’s a good technical fighter. I think he uses his hands more, he is more of a boxer, but he is capable of fighting in a complete style and mixing it all together. He’s a strong puncher, he’s a good opponent for me to fight and I’m looking forward to it,” says Karapetyan.

“He is ranked number two in the world; that is fair I suppose - though there are a lot of good fighters in GLORY and I think after we fight, maybe I go to number two and he goes down in the rankings.”

Los Angeles will be the host city for GLORY 10. The city is home to the world’s largest population of Armenian’s outside of Armenia. Mostly they are congregated around the Glendale and East Hollywood areas; part of the latter has been officially named ‘Little Armenia’ (some flavour of how diverse Los Angeles is can be gleaned from the fact that Little Armenia’s neighbouring district is ‘Thai Town’).

“I’m excited to be fighting in the USA and I am especially happy that the fight is in Los Angeles. There are a lot of Armenians in the Los Angeles area and I hope that they will come out and support me, we will put on a great fight for them,” Karapetyan smiles.

“It gives me power and motivation, the expectations on me are higher but it’s a good thing for me to fight there among so many Armenians, I like it.”

Karapetyan himself could easily have ended up in Los Angeles as one of the many youngsters who joined their parents on a great migration due to decades of upheaval at home. Instead his family trod another well-worn route for Armenians, settling in the Netherlands.

“They left Armenia in 1998, when I was 16. We all moved; my parents and my sisters. First we went to Rotterdam then from there we moved to Nijmagen. It was a difficult time for many people in Armenia after the war, my parents had some problems and so they left for the Netherlands to search for a better life,” Karapetyan reveals.

Armenians are over-represented in the ranks of professional fighters, both in kickboxing and MMA. Aside from Karapetyan, GLORY is home to standouts such as Giorgio Petrosyan and Sahak Parparyan. In MMA, the likes of Gegard Mousasi and Karo Parisyan have achieved a very high level.

“I think it’s in the blood of Armenians, they are fighters. If they want something, they go to get it. It is in their nature. There are many wars in Armenian history, lots of fighting, so I think it became part of us,” Karapetyan muses.

“I started with kickboxing not long after I arrived in Nijmagen. Back in Armenia I had done some martial arts training as a child but nothing serious. Holland was the first place that I really did some serious training.

“When I was in Nijmagen I was studying at secondary school and I was doing well, I was a very good student. But I felt there was something missing in my life, I wanted to do something physical.

“I wanted to use my body in some way and so I was looking for sports, but particularly for sports where it’s just you as an individual. I didn’t want team sports.

“So I found the gym of Perry Ubeda, a great fighter in kickboxing. Many fights and titles in kickboxing and Muay Thai. So I started my training at his school in Nijmagen and that was the beginning.

“After six months I had my first fight and after another six months I had my first B-class fight. It’s the second-highest class, so it was a high level already and it was hard.

“In the beginning it was hard but I learned a lot. At the same time I was studying. I ended up at the University of Nijmagen studying law, so I was studying and fighting at the same time.”

Karapetyan’s highly-focused nature led him to master the law even while he was mastering the art of fighting. He is a graduate of Radboud Nijmagen University, which has been ranked in the top 150 universities in the world by independent assessors.

“In 2011, I completed the final exams and graduated with a master’s degree in law. So I had the opportunity to go and work as a lawyer then if I wanted but I elected to continue with sport and to carry on being a professional fighter,” Karapetyan shrugs.

Laughing he adds, “My parents? I think they would prefer me in a profession which has fewer risks than kickboxing - but they accepted my choice and they stood by me and gave me all the support that I needed.”

GLORY 10 takes place Saturday, September 28 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. The card features a one-night, four-man middleweight tournament which includes world number one Artem ‘The Lion’ Levin, multi-time Muay Thai champion Steve Wakeling, American prospect Joe Schilling and Dutch knockout artist Jason Wilnis.


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