Big opportunity for Norwalk’s Oscar Molina foiled in TKO loss to Jarrett Hurd

Oscar Molina, left, takes a right cross from Jarrett Hurd during their fight Saturday in Brooklyn/Photo by Ryan Greene, Premier Boxing Champions


It was good for Oscar Molina of Norwalk to get some national television exposure. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t take advantage of it.

Molina this past Saturday faced another undefeated junior middleweight – Jarrett Hurd – underneath the welterweight title fight between Keith “One Time” Thurman and Shawn Porter, won by Thurman via narrow decision at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS).

A victory would have been the biggest of Molina’s career, but he was stopped in the 10th round by Hurd. Molina didn’t agree with the stoppage. But he was well behind on the scorecards, so he wasn’t going to win, anyway, unless he somehow managed to stop Hurd in that final round.

“I felt like Hurd was throwing a lot of punches in the 10th round, but they weren’t really hurting me,” Molina said. “He was staying busy, but he was never really hurting me.”

Molina was decked in the first round. He said he wasn’t in trouble then, either.

“I went low and I had my head down and he caught me with that uppercut in the first round,” said Molina, 26. “He got me with a shot I wasn’t expecting, but it was definitely a flash knockdown. I wasn’t hurt.”

Molina blamed himself for not being able to figure out Hurd’s defense, thus resulting in Molina smothering his own punches. He vowed to return in better form.

“This was a big opportunity for me and I felt like I fought a good fight,” he said. “I’m going to come back stronger. We’re going to work on a lot of things and get back in there.”

Molina is now 13-1-1. Hurd, of Accokeek, Md., is 18-0 with 12 knockouts.


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Keith Thurman retains welterweight title with close decision over Shawn Porter

Keith Thurman

Keith Thurman/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

Welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman on Saturday night slugged it out with challenger Shawn Porter over 12 rounds and when the grueling bout was over Thurman had retained his title with a close, yet unanimous decision at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The fight was televised on CBS.

Thurman (27-0) won by three scores of 115-113, which seemed to be the right call. Both fighters had outstanding moments. Thurman just seemed to have more.

The action was terrific and could be in the mix for Fight of the Year, though we have still have six months left of 2016.

There were no knockdowns, but both fighters were cut.

The bout was originally to take place in March, but Thurman was in a car accident, in which he sustained whiplash.

:Porter is 26-2-1.


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Dominic Breazeale is stopped in the seventh round by Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua knocks out Dominic Breazeale in seventh round after Chris Eubank and George Groves win

Anthony Joshua’s hand is raised after he stopped Alhambra’s Dominic Breazeale in the seventh round Saturday in London/Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra was simply outclassed in his challenge to heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua on Saturday at O2 Arena in Joshua’s native England.

Joshua appeared to have won ever round before decking Breazeale twice in the seventh round, the referee waving off the fight after the second knockdown.

The seventh-round TKO at 1:01 of the round was Joshua’s first title defense.

Breazeale (17-1) got in a few shots here and there, but there was never any indication he was going to take Joshua’s title

Joshua is now 17-0 with 17 knockouts.



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Sugar Ray Leonard will host meet and greet at July 15 Golden Boy card in Indio

Sugar Ray Leonard/AP photo by Darron Cummings


All-time great Sugar Ray Leonard on July 15 will spend an hour with fans during a meet and greet at a Golden Boy Promotions card at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio that will feature Pablo Cesar Cano  (29-5-1, 21 KOs) of Mexico taking on KeAndre Gibson (15-0-1, 7 KOs) of St. Louis in the welterweight main event.

Fans with tickets to the card will be able to mingle with Leonard from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Special Events Center.

Cano-Gibson will be televised live on Estrella TV beginning at 7.




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Dominic Breazeale pulls no punches when asked for prediction for fight with heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua

Dominic Breazeale

Dominic Breazeale/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of England and contender Dominic Breazeale of Alhambra on Monday played host to a conference call promoting their title fight Saturday at O2 Arena in London (on Showtime).

Joshua fielded questions first, then Breazeale. At the end, Breazeale was asked for a prediction. The former Division I college quarterback (Northern Colorado) pulled no punches.

“Knockout,” Breazeale said. “I keep telling you guys, man. Six, seven rounds, I’m knocking Anthony Joshua out.”

Breazeale, 30, is 17-0 with 15 knockouts. Joshua, 26, is 16-0 with 16 knockouts. He won the title with a second-round knockout of Charles Martin of St. Louis this past April at O2 Arena.


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Joe Smith Jr. stunningly stops Andrzej Fonfara in the first round in Chicago

Joe Smith Jr. at Friday’s weigh-in/Photo courtesy of Nabeel Ahmad, Premier Boxing Champions


Andrzej Fonfara had something to say about Joe Smith Jr. in the days leading to their light heavyweight bout Saturday at UIC Pavilion in Chicago.

“I know he has a big punch, because he wins fights by knockout,” Fonfara said of Smith, who took a record of 21-1 and 17 knockouts into their bout. “But who has he knocked out? The guy who was a little bit better, Will Rosinsky, he went the distance (with Smith). He has heavy, wide punches and we will be ready for him.”

Famous last words.

Some of those heavy punches found the heavily favored Fonfara (28-4). He was sent crashing to the canvas twice in the first round, the second time ending the fight as Smith shockingly knocked out Fonfara with 28 seconds left.

The fight was televised by NBC.

Fonfara came in ranked as high as No. 2 by one of the four major governing bodies. Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), of Long Island, N.Y., was unranked, but figures to find his way into the rankings after this.

Fonfara, of Chicago via Poland, was fighting in front of his fans.

Rau’shee Warren of Cincinnati got revenge when he won a majority decision over Juan Carlos Payano of Miami via the Dominican Republic to take Payano’s bantamweight world title. Scores were 114-114 and 115-113, 115-113 in favor of Warren (14-1).

Payano (17-1) had made the first defense of his belt when he won a split-decision over Warren this past August in Winter Park, Fla.


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Keith Thurman recovered from his whiplash in a careful manner

Keith Thurman
Keith Thurman/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions
Keith “One Time” Thurman was supposed to defend his welterweight title against Shawn Porter on March 12, but Thurman was involved in a car accident that apparently was caused when Thurman’s new car began to hydroplane in wet conditions in his native Clearwater, Fla.
Thurman is healthy again, but he had to go about his rehabilitation for the whiplash he sustained in a careful manner.
“It’s six weeks before I could go back to the gym,” said Thurman, who will tangle with Porter on June 25 in the main event at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS). “And then, we just had to take it (in) increments as far as recovering, as far as working hard.
“Didn’t want to push my body too hard right away. Didn’t want to re-aggravate anything. Just listened to my doctors, stay doing my regular checkup routines. And we’re good to go.”
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As usual, Abner Mares about to take on another top opponent – Jesus Cuellar

Abner Mares

Abner Mares/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Abner Mares has always been that fighter you want to see do well. He is never looking to fight a patsy. He wants to tangle with only the meanest hombres. It’s his credo.

“Definitely, definitely,” said Mares, of Hawaiian Gardens. “It will grab people’s attention and that’s the key point I want to make. I’m the type of fighter that wants to leave his career known as the fighter that never took an easy route and faced the tough fighters at their moment, at their times. And God willing, always came out on top.

“It’s not always going to be the same as my last fight. It was a great fight, a fight against Leo that I didn’t win, but I got the respect from people.”

Mares has a tough list of opponents adorning his ring record. In his most recent start, he lost a grueling 12-round decision to fellow Angeleno Leo Santa Cruz in a battle for a vacant featherweight title in August at Staples Center.

Mares, who has won titles in three weight classes, dusted himself off and has for the past several weeks been preparing himself for yet another top-line fighter by the name of Jesus Cuellar of Argentina. Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs) on June 25 will challenge Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) for his featherweight world title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on CBS, 6 p.m. Pacific time).

This is a crossroads fight for Mares. At 30, he is getting to that age when a fighter in the lighter weights begins to show the wear and tear of many ring wars. Even though he distinguished himself respectfully enough against Santa Cruz, Mares changed trainers, going from Clemente Medina to Robert Garcia.

Mares wants to know what he has left, and apparently he believes the best way to find out is to take on champions.

“Well, definitely what I want to prove to myself is that I still belong in this level type of fight against top fighters such as Cuellar, Leo or any other top-flight featherweight,” Mares said.

“And I think the reason that, my two defeats, when you just go through them real quick, first-round knockout against Jhonny Gonzalez (in August 2013). It was just, he caught me cold.

“My fight against Leo Santa Cruz, it was a tough fight. We went 12 rounds, it was a candidate for Fight of the Year, where I gave it my all but at the end of the day, I think I fought the wrong game plan. I think I defeated myself by not following instructions and not fighting a perfect plan.”

Mares, an Artesia High graduate, is certain he still has the goods.

“I’ve got a lot more to give, I’m going to show (it),” he said. “Now with my new trainer and the new mindset that I have, I think I’m going to prove just that.”

But again, Mares is trying to prove he’s still elite against a hard-hitting southpaw world champion whose only loss came nearly five years ago. Cuellar spoke like this could quickly turn into a toe-to-toe slugfest, so he must have something up his sleeve.

“We’re going to come out,” Cuellar said. “We’ve been training for this fight and we’re doing it on our strategies. We’ve been working on them. For this fight, if the opportunity presents itself, we’re going to take the fight to him.”


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Deontay Wilder sings praises of Chris Arreola at Birmingham news conference

Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Deontay Wilder was supposed to make the next defense of his heavyweight title against Alexander Povetkin on May 21 in Povetkin’s native Russia. But Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, and that bout was canceled.

Wilder announced this week he will instead defend against Chris Arreola of Riverside on July 16 at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. (on Fox). Arreola has twice fought for a heavyweight title, being stopped inside the distance by Vitali Klitschko and Bermane Stiverne in 2009 and 2013, respectively.

Wilder couldn’t say enough about Arreola on Wednesday at a news conference in Birmingham.

“As you see, Chris Arreola stayed patient,” said Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Ala. “You wonder why he continued to get title fights. It is his time. Some guys get chances after chances and some don’t. You can’t deny him. You can’t look past him. With the circumstances that we were facing, to come back and do a short notice-type fight, as far as looking for opponents, we knew it had to be the right person.

“Placing someone in a category doesn’t define who they are. We needed a fighter that would fit the description that he would fight with his heart, give it his all. I’m happy to introduce you to Chris Arreola. He is the perfect person for this opportunity. I don’t think there is anyone else who could take on this situation.”

Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) knows the 6-foot-7, hard-hitting Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) will be a difficult nut to crack.

“Deontay is a tough SOB,” said Arreola, 35. “An athlete has to be ready for that right hand and that jab. Be careful and be ready at all times.”


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Leo Santa Cruz to defend against Carl Frampton at Barclays Center in Brooklyn

Leo Santa Cruz

Leo Santa Cruz/Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions


Leo Santa Cruz of Lincoln Heights will defend his featherweight world title against former super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton of Northern Ireland on July 30 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn (on Showtime), Premier Boxing Champions announced Tuesday.

Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs), who has also won titles at bantamweight and super bantamweight, is coming off a fifth-round stoppage of Kiko Martinez in February at Honda Center. It was the first defense of this title.

The Big Apple is not familiar to Santa Cruz, so he’d love to show the East Coast what he’s about.

“I’ve never been to New York before and I’m looking forward to this big opportunity to put on a show for new fans in a new city,” Santa Cruz, 27, said. “I always fight for the fans and I’m excited to be able to do that somewhere I haven’t been before. Frampton is a good fighter. He has power and skills and he moves when he has to, but he has a weak chin.

“When he gets caught with a good punch, he goes down. He doesn’t like pressure and I have that.”

Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) is moving up in weight after defending his super bantamweight title three times.

“I am in terrific shape, I feel fantastic in the gym and I am ready for the biggest fight of my career,” Frampton said. “On July 30, I will become a two-weight world champion. I respect Leo Santa Cruz, he is a great fighter and person, but I am preparing meticulously to overcome any challenge he brings on July 30.”




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