CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – World Boxing Council No. 10-ranked heavyweight Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina (18-1, 14 KOs), from Lyford, Texas, will face the toughest challenge of his young career on Saturday when he tangles with WBC No. 1- ranked heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola (33-2, 29 KOs), from Riverside, Calif., at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. (SHOWTIME EXTREME at 8 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast.)
Molina grew up just a few hours south of the site of Saturday night’s fight, and he would like nothing more than to score an upset in the this all-Mexican-American heavyweight showdown taking place in his home state. Molina has chosen a surprising name to take over the reins as his head trainer for the biggest match of his life: former WBC heavyweight champion Oliver “The Atomic Bull” McCall.
“Oliver and I sparred last year in Miami, and he was quick to share his knowledge with me,” Molina said. “Anyone who has met Oliver knows how outgoing he is. He noted what he thought was working for me and what wasn’t as effective.”
McCall said it took him by surprise when Molina asked him to take over as head trainer.
“I happened to be in South Florida last year and both Eric and I had upcoming fights so we sparred,” McCall said of the beginning of their relationship. “I was impressed with his height, size and heart. I sensed he was athletic and had skills. He also had a good right hand.
“Then Eric asked me to come to Texas to spar with him for this fight he has with Arreola. I wasn’t expecting to be asked to train Eric. Once we started talking it just clicked. They saw what I had to teach and they wanted more.
“Out of the blue, they asked me to take over as trainer. Turned out it was his trainer’s idea, too. I was flattered.”
McCall went to work preparing his young charge for the biggest fight of his life.
“I saw some things he needed to hone to become a top contender. It’s one thing to be fighting anyone on an undercard. It’s a whole other deal when you’re fighting the top guys, champions and such. You have to be ready.
“Eric has to jab, move in the early rounds and can’t hesitate to land the right hand, just let it go. If he lands a few good right hands the fight will change. Arreola will become more cautious and that’s where Eric’s opportunity lies.”
Molina sees McCall providing him with continuing education.
“I recently graduated from college and I felt like Oliver was giving me the equivalent of a master’s degree in heavyweight boxing. He was trained by some greats. He’s educating my jab, sharpening my strengths, eliminating bad habits and providing me with the proper strategy.
“His foundation of how to beat Chris Arreola was similar to what I and my team had been thinking, but his insight was much more detailed. He immediately honed in on my athletic ability and broke it down for me like a puzzle. He’s providing me with the tools and knowledge that will give me the best chance of winning on Saturday.”
McCall says he’s reaching back in his life to summon the knowledge of his past trainers.
“I have so much knowledge,” McCall stated emphatically. “I’m happy to share what I’ve learned. I want to be an asset to American heavyweights by sharing what I gained from greats like Richie Giachetti, Georgie Benton, Emanuel Steward and Willie Rush. These are great trainers that shared their wisdom with me. Now I’d like to pass that down. American boxing needs it, especially the heavyweights.”
Molina sees an upset in the making.
“You saw what happened in the past to fighters who underestimated Oliver McCall,” Molina said. “A lot of them ended up on their backs.
“I remind people of that when they say he’s unproven as a trainer. Just watch me on Saturday night. I plan on scoring an Oliver McCall-style upset over Chris Arreola.”
Tickets to see the event live and in person are priced at $25, $35, $50, $75, $100 and are available at the American Bank Center box office and on Ticketmaster.com. VIP packages are also available by calling (817) 296-4546.
Arreola vs. McCall will be televised on SHOWTIME EXTREME beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Two additional fights on the card can be seen on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). In the main event, former world champion Paul Williams (40-2, 27 KOs), of Aiken, S.C., will face Nobuhiro Ishida (24-6-2, 9 KOs) of Osaka, Japan. Ishida has won his last two bouts via first-round stoppage, including an upset over then-undefeated James Kirkland in April of 2011, while Williams owns victories over Sergio Martinez and Antonio Margarito.
In the co-feature, undefeated Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs), of Tallahassee, Fla., will risk his International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heavyweight title for a third time when he faces former world champ Gabriel Campillo (21-3-1, 8 KOs) of Madrid, Spain.
The event is presented by Goossen Tutor Promotions. The Williams-Ishida bout will be promoted in association with Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions. The Cloud vs. Campillo bout will be promoted by Don King Productions in association with Sampson Boxing, LLC.
**Patrick Nielsen named 2011 Danish Boxer of the Year**
Up-and-coming middleweight sensation Patrick Nielsen (12-0, 6 KOs) has been named “2011 Boxer of the Year” by the Danish Professional Boxing Federation (DPBF). President Michael Seemann-Hansen honoured the 20-year-old on Wednesday night during the “Før VM-braget - Markussen-Magee” live show on TV3+. “Patrick had a great year,” Seemann-Hansen said. “His performances in the ring have been very successful as he moved up the rankings and even won the junior world title. He is learning very quickly and he is making great progress. We are delighted to honour him with our annual award. He is a great representative for the sport of boxing.”
On Saturday, Nielsen takes on Jozsef “Shatter-Machine” Matolcsi (30-20, 17 KOs) at the first Nordic Fight Night. “I feel honoured to be the Danish Boxer of the Year,” Nielsen said. “2011 was a great year but 2012 will be even better. I will keep climbing up the rankings and I will start on Saturday with a victory over Matolcsi.”
Tickets for the event at Broendby Hall are available at billetnet.dk. The TV3+ broadcast starts at 20h on Saturday night.
Amateur star to appear on Brook, Bellew and Froch undercards
Promoter Eddie Hearn has announced that Scotty Cardle will fight on three huge bills at the very beginning of his career.
The GB star will make his professional debut on the undercard of the Kell Brook vs. Mathew Hatton showdown at the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield on March 17, live on Sky Sports.
A month later he will be in the ring again on the undercard of Tony Bellew’s British light-heavyweight title defence against Danny McIntosh. ‘The Big Bang’, promoted by Coldwell Boxing in association with Eddie Hearn, is being held at the Echo Arena Liverpool, April 14, also live on Sky Sports.
Cardle will make his third professional appearance on the undercard of Carl Froch’s homecoming bout in Nottingham in May, the details of which are still to be confirmed. The busy schedule will be a fast and furious welcome to the paid ranks, but follows promoter Eddie Hearn’s philosophy that it’s important for young fighters to be as active as possible.
“I’m delighted to be able to add Scotty to these bills,” said Hearn. “I’ve got high hopes for him in the pro game and he’ll get a great taste of big British boxing nights in Sheffield, Liverpool and hopefully Nottingham.”
Cardle’s debut is part of a fantastic undercard for the Brook vs. Hatton showdown which features a second Commonwealth super bantamweight title defence for Carl Frampton, Greg Proksa’s first defence of his European middleweight title against Kerry Hope and former British welterweight champion Lee Purdy aiming to get back on track against Nottingham’s Adnan Amar.
Exciting middleweight prospect John Ryder hopes to take his unbeaten record into double figures against Huddersfield danger man Alastair Warren who fought for the WBC Youth World title in 2010. Eamonn O’Kane makes his fourth pro appearance when he takes on Wayne Reed, while unbeaten Dudley middleweight Ryan Aston faces Barnsley’s Lee Noble and Sheffield Heavyweight David Howe also features.
Limited tickets for Kell Brook vs. Matthew Hatton plus a full championship undercard now remain priced £30 and £100 from the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield Box Office on 0114 256 5656 and at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk . £40, £60 and £150 VIP tickets have now sold-out.
Tickets for ‘The Big Bang’ with Scotty Cardle’s second outing on the undercard priced at £30, £40, £60 and £80 are available from the Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400 and www.coldwellboxing.com
VIP packages for ‘The Big Bang’ are priced at £150 and are exclusively available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com