ISTANBUL — Garbis Zakaryan, the first boxer to represent Turkey on the professional level, passed away at the age of 90 in Istanbul on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Zakaryan, a welterweight of Armenian descent, represented Turkey around the world for 22 years from 1944 to 1966.
Zakaryan, who is fondly remembered by his fans as “Iron Fist,” became a professional boxer after having won many local and amateur titles. Making his professional boxing debut in 1950, Zakaryan had 42 professional bouts. He finished his career in 1966 with 28 wins, nine losses and five draws. While boxing primarily in Turkey, Zakaryan also fought in Lebanon, France, Germany, Argentina and Brazil.
For a time he also trained another of Turkey’s most prominent boxers, Cemal Kamacı.
Zakaryan was buried in Istanbul’s Sisli Armenian Cemetery on January 29 after a funeral ceremony at the Armenian Church.