I must admit, I’m not a fan of boxing – not that I’m against it, I just never got into it or understood its purpose. But from what I can gather, the ultimate goal for boxers is to win the prized jewel – an intricately designed, hand crafted title belt.
It may surprise you to find out who is behind these ornate belts. No, it is not designed by a world famous jeweler, or made in the factories of France or Italy. It’s made in New Jersey by a man named Ardash Sahaghian. He is the “originator of the modern boxing belt.” A man, who finally at the age of 91, in 2012, was recognized for his work, and was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.
Sahaghian’s beginnings were not about fine jewels and belts. He worked odd jobs when he was younger in his birth country of Romania, until be began to train to become a jeweler. The Soviet Union was not kind to Sahaghian. He was arrested, tortured and sent to jail, upon which, his mother passed away after witnessing what her son was going through. This and other events pushed him to immigrate to America.
Long story short, he and his family settled in the United States. On one occasion, Philip Valentino, Sr. was so impressed with Sahaghian’s work, that he asked him to redesign old boxing belts. While interviewing for the Armenian Weekly, he stated, “These belts are like big pieces of intricate jewelry, or sculptures. It was not such a big change for me, just bigger than what I did… They became my biggest creations.”
In 2009 Sagaghian’s grandson, Edward Majian founded SARTONK to “safeguard a boxing legacy that dates back over three decades.” As their website states, Sahaghian’s most visible works include belts for the: WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO.
To keep this amazing gift alive, SARTONK is participating in a small business competition that can grant them $25,000! I encourage you to help keep this tradition going from one generation to the next.
Support them by voting once a day, EVERYDAY until February 23rd! Click here to vote!
For photos of their work, check out ESPN PHOTO
Learn more about SARTONK at http://www.sartonk.com/! And spread the word!!