The official pre-fight weigh-in on Friday will mark five years to the day of the last time David Avanesyan saw a fight go to the scorecards.
Seven straight fights have ended in the distance—a stoppage loss to then-unbeaten Egidijus Kavaliauskas followed by a six-fight knockout streak. Avanesyan vows to continue that run through the biggest fight of his career, on the road versus WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska (Saturday, BLK Prime Pay-Per-View/PPV.com, $39.99).
“I’ve knocked out my last six opponents,” Avanesyan reminded BoxingScene.com. “There is one percent chance Terence Crawford will be my seventh knockout in a row.”
It will land among the year’s biggest upsets should Avanesyan (29-3-1, 17KOs) accomplish that feat. The 34-year-old Russian-Armenian—who now lives in Nottinghamshire, England—is a massive underdog versus Crawford (38-0, 29KOs), a switch-hitter and pound-for-pound entrant who fights at home in Omaha for the first time in more than four years.
Avanesyan has grown accustomed to life on the road and taking matters out of the judges’ hands. It began with a March 2019 come-from-behind, ninth-round knockout win of then-unbeaten Kerman Lejarraga in Bilbao, Spain. Avanesyan returned to the venue six months later, this time ending the rematch in just 126 seconds before fighting in Spain for a third straight time on the year in a December 2019 first-round knockout of Jose Del Rio in Barcelona.
The pandemic put his career on hold, twice postponing plans for a showdown with 2016 Olympian and unbeaten British contender Josh Kelly. The two eventually met last February 2020 at Wembley Arena, which has now hosted Avenesyan’s last three fights—a sixth-round stoppage of Kelly, a second-round knockout of Lancashire’s Liam Taylor last October 2 and a first-round knockout of unbeaten but overmatched Oskari Metz on March 19.
Crawford has stopped each of his last nine opponents, including all six since moving up to welterweight in June 2018. The three-division champ stopped unbeaten Jeff Horn in nine brutally one-sided rounds to win the WBO welterweight title. Five wins inside the distance have followed in as many title defenses, including a tenth-round stoppage of former two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter last November 20 in Las Vegas.
Avanesyan’s last fight for any version of the title came in a February 2017 defeat to Lamont Peterson, losing the secondary WBA welterweight title he previously claimed in a May 2016 win over former three-division champion Shane Mosely. Saturday will mark his first true title fight, which he insists will end with the biggest win of his career.
“I get to show everyone who I am,” vowed Avanesyan. “This has come at the right time in my career.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox