GLENDALE — Anatoliy Dudcehnko, who's had some of his best fights in Glendale, and Gapo Tolmajyan, who trains in the Jewel City, will add some local flavor to tonight's "War at Woodland Hills 4," which is co-promoted by Glendale's own resident fight promoter, Kahren Harutyunyan.
Between their twin trilogies of shows at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, site of tonight's card, and the Glendale Civic Auditorium under the Glendale Glory banner, Harutyunyan and his partner Steve Bash have set a standard of staging accessible action-packed boxing events for area fight fans. They will look to continue the tradition when doors open at 7 p.m. tonight with first bell set for 7:30.
Dudchenko (11-2, 8 knockouts) has appeared on the undercards of all three Glendale Glory events, as well as the March 4 Warner Center War 3, where he defeated Joe Broken Rope via fourth-round technical knockout to run his current win streak to eight straight.
Tonight, the Ukrainian cruiserweight will take a step up on several fronts — to his first main-event fight and first eight-rounder, all coming against his most experienced opponent yet in Michael Simms (21-13-2, 13 KOs).
"He has been on a lot of [local] cards, he has built up a following," Bash said of Dudchenko, who has never lost on an Art of Boxing Promotions/Bash Boxing card. "I think the main reason why he's headlining — not to discredit any of the guys he's fought before — but, certainly, Michael Simms is a step up in class for Dudchenko.
"It's something he wanted as his next step up. Hopefully, he wins the fight and fights an even more important fight after that."
Simms, a former amateur world titlist, has never been knocked out in his pro career. He has lost two of his last three fights, including most recently an eight-round unanimous decision loss to Alexander Frenkel in March 2010.
Bash said Dudchenko hopes to use a win over Simms as a springboard to bigger fights, as other Glendale Glory/Warner alums have, such as Ray Beltran, who recently moved onto a ShoBox gig and Javier Gallo, who last fought on the undercard of a Manny Pacquiao card.
"It's as close to a 50-50 fight as you can get," Bash said. "The records kind of get thrown out because both fighters have world class ability."
Tolmajyan's Glendale Fighting Club stablemate Artur Bernetsyan was originally supposed to fight in the co-main event at War at Woodland Hills 4, but had to pull out when his camp deemed him not yet fully recovered from recent nasal surgery. Tolmajyan (10-1, 3 KOs), a super featherweight, had a fight of his own cancelled on June 11 and was able to step in to face Juan Suazo (7-4-2, 5 KOs) in a six-round lightweight tilt tonight.
"It wasn't for sure, it didn't go through," GFC head trainer Edmond Tarverdyan said of Tolmajyan's bout. "I don't know, some crazy problems with the promoter or the matchmaker.
"We need to keep [Tolmajyan] busy and Artur had just came back from nose surgery."
Tolmajyan is on his own eight-fight win streak, but hasn't fought since October after outlasting Yogli Herrera in an eight-round unanimous decision. It will be just the second fight for Suazo since 2004 and the first since he lost to Edgar Portillo in 2009.
"Gapo's been fighting a little bit heavier than he's supposed to, but he shouldn't have a problem stopping [Suazo]," Tarverdyan said. "He should be fine."
Also on the card, Hugo Centeno (7-0, 6 KOs) will take on Kelly Wright (4-6) in a four-round welterweight clash, which may be the most intensely cheered fight of the night, as the Oxnard-based Centeno is known to bring a large following.
"Hugo is definitely an up-and-coming prospect," Bash said. "My prediction is that he may be with us for another fight or two and then either sign with a major promoter or find himself on ShoBox.
"Part of the reason he's welcome to fight on our cards any time he wants is because he brings more people to our shows than anybody else that fights. He's got a very big following out in Oxnard."
Bantamweight Ivan Castaneda (1-1) will take on Gustavo Rojas (pro debut) in a four-round fight and super bantamweight Erik Ruiz will make pro debut in a four-rounder against Shaun Solomon (1-3-1).
There will also be tag team Lucha Libre professional wrestling match for the intermission and a ring girl bikini contest will run intermittently throughout the night.
"We're trying to add to the entertainment portion of the evening," Bash said.