(AUG 22) Union City, New
Jersey -- Ardash Sahaghian, the originator of modern
championship boxing belts, will be inducted this year into the
New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.
Sahaghian began his career as craftsman of boxing belts in the
1970s. A jeweler by trade and artist by birth, he was invited by
a Philip Valentino to apply his range of skills to the
redesigning of championship boxing belts. At the time, Valentino
was beginning to manufacture the existing 2D models of the
The fruits of Sahaghian's labor
are what we have come to recognize as today's modern -- 3D --
boxing belts. Whether it be modifications to Ring Magazine
belts, designing of title belts, or reproductions such as the
John L. Sullivan belt, Sahaghian has contributed to over 30
years of boxing history.
Perhaps most recognizable of Sahaghian's work - due to national
TV - are the current WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO title belts. Yet,
his complete portfolio of work includes virtually all of the
boxing models used today as well as various MMA title belts and
Reflecting on his
prolific career and the news of the induction, Sahaghian
remarks, “I love to work with my hands. I’ve been working with
my hands since I was 14. I have to work. And I’m very grateful
for this honor.”
In 2008, Sahaghian’s
grandson, Edward S. Majian founded Sartonk Designs to preserve
his grandfather’s legacy and the history of championship boxing
belts. Having learned from his grandfather, Majian intended to
carry forth his family’s tradition of excellent craftsmanship.
“I’ve been blessed with many opportunities, many of them due to
the sacrifices and support of my grandparents. Founding SARTONK
was one such opportunity, as well as a responsibility to give
back,” expresses Majian. On the occasion of his grandfather’s
induction, he proclaims, “This is undoubtedly one of the
proudest moments of my life. My family and I are humbled by the
outpouring of excitement and support we’ve received from the
local boxing community.”
One notable supporter is internationally recognized boxing
referee and International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee, Joe
Cortez. “I’m happy Ardash is finally inducted. He’s one of the
individuals who should have been inducted years ago. He’s a
master, creator and legend. Without him, we wouldn’t have these
belts. In my heart, he’s a people’s champion, a champion of the
champions,” reflects Cortez.
Another supporter, Officer Joe Botti, has been involved in the
sport of boxing for over 30 years as a boxer, trainer, manager,
and gym operator. He has this to say: “I was thrilled when I
discovered that Ardash Sahaghian lived and created his boxing
belt designs in the same town in which I operate a boxing gym.
He is a true boxing legend and a master at his craft. When I
think of all the boxing legends I have met in my lifetime, I
place meeting Ardash, the creator of the modern boxing belt, as
one of my most memorable. I am honored to have him as a friend.
Congratulations to a true boxing legend!"
Now 90 years old, Sahaghian oversees the design of SARTONK’s new
belts and the production of those he created three decades ago.
Pictures: Top Left:
Ardash Sahaghian; Top Right: Ardash Sahaghian with fans at
International Boxing Hall of Fame weekend; Bottom Center: Edward
S. Majian and Ardash Sahaghian