Nish Kerkorian was born in Fresno, California, to immigrant parents of Armenian origin. Armenian was his first language. His family moved to Los Angeles following the depression of 1920–21. Kerkorian was an amateur boxer and helped train his brother Kerk who became a fairly skilled amateur boxer under the tutelage of his older brother Nish Kerkorian, fighting under the name "Rifle Right Kerkorian" to win the Pacific amateur welterweight championship. Nish Kerkorian also had a younger sister, Rose Kerkorian.