by Cliff Rold
30-year old Russian Lightweight Andrey Klimov (16-0, 8 KO) knocked off 30-year old John Molina (25-3, 20 KO) of hopes of Covina, California, by majority decision in ten rounds and halted Molina’s hopes of challenging WBO Lightweight titlist Ricky Burns on Friday night at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Washington.
Both men were over the division limit of 135 lbs., Klimov at 137 ¾ and Molina at 134 ½. The referee was Bobby Howard.
After a tepid first two rounds, the more experienced Molina started to let his hands go. A cut opened over the left eye of Klimov and was ruled caused by a punch. More problems would be caused by punches in round four. Physically stronger, Molina started to go downhill against a Klimov who didn’t seem to have much more than a jab to keep him at bay. Finding the body throughout, and a nice left to the head late, Molina seized control of the contest. He couldn’t keep it.
Klimov rallied a bit in the fifth; sitting down on more of his punches and using his right hand in close. Molina was all over him to start the sixth but Klimov stood his ground and was blocking a lot of the incoming fire while finding holes for counters. He lost the mouthpiece for a moment but didn’t lose any of his momentum.
The fight stayed narrowly contested in each of the next three rounds, Molina throwing the harder stuff and landing to the body while Klimov looked like the man landing cleaner with short shots to the face.
In the final two rounds, it remained hard to call as both men has their moments with neither doing anything dramatic to make a case. It came down to the judges and they came in with a reasonable The first score announced reflected the closeness of the bout at 95-95 with the other two coming in at 97-93 and 96-94 for Klimov.
Molina suffers his second loss in three fights after suffering a first-round stoppage in challenging then-WBC Lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco in September 2012.
The televised co-feature provided a solid ten rounds of action to prime the pump.
30-year old Super Middleweight Farah Ennis (21-1, 12 KO), 168 ¾, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, used a knockdown in the final round to secure a unanimous decision over 35-year old veteran Anthony Hanshaw (23-3-2, 14 KO), 169 ¾, of Kernersville, North Carolina.
Hanshaw, who was out of the ring for a few years after a 2008 knockout loss to Andre Dirrell, built an early lead in a physical fight for both men. As the rounds wore on, the younger man asserted himself and closed strong. Hanshaw appeared dazed late in round nine, partly perhaps from fatigue, and suffered a knockdown in the final frame. Hanshaw, game to the end, rose and evaded another trip to the floor late in the round to hear the scores read aloud. Those scores came in at 95-94 and 96-93 twice for Ennis.
Ennis was making his first start since July 2012 and wins his fourth in a row since a narrow points loss to then undefeated Alexander Johnson in 2011.
The referee was Paul Field.
The card was televised in the U.S. on ESPN2 as part of its “Friday Night Fights” series, promoted by Goosen Tutor.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org