OMAHA, NEB. - Undefeated World Junior Welterweight Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter TERENCE "Bud" CRAWFORD will make the first defense of his unified World Boxing Organization (WBO) / World Boxing Council (WBC) / Ring magazine 140-pound world titles when he rumbles with one-time world title challenger and current No. 1 contender JOHN MOLINA JR.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with TGB Promotions, the Crawford vs. Molina world championship event will take place on Saturday, December 10, at CenturyLink Center Omaha (455 North 10th St., Omaha, Neb. 68102), and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 9:35 p.m. ET/PT.
Reserved seat tickets to the Crawford - Molina world championship event, priced at $27, $52, $77 and $127, go on sale Today at 3:00 p.m. ET. They can be purchased at the CenturyLink Center Omaha box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. To charge-by-phone call (800) 745-3000. To order online, visit ticketmaster.com.
"Molina is a tough opponent who has been in the ring with the best of the division," said Crawford. "I can't wait for December 10 because Molina is really a good puncher and I will be going in there to fight as well. For me, fighting in Omaha means so much. There is no place like home."
"I am thankful for the opportunity," said Molina. "I am training hard for what I know will be a great fight."
"It's an honor to bring a warrior like Molina to Omaha and to test Terence Crawford at his best," said Brian McIntyre, Crawford's trainer and co-manager. "This is also a great opportunity for people who haven't seen Terence in the ring live before, to do so."
"This is another great opportunity for Terence to showcase his pound for pound ability," said Cameron Dunkin, Crawford's co-manager. "John Molina is a very tough contender who is coming off some terrific wins. It's a wonderful opportunity for Terence to get back into the ring to make another great statement!"
"The Omaha fans will be packed to the rafters in support of their favorite son Terence Crawford," said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. "John Molina will provide a great test for Terence but I think it's a test Terence will pass with flying colors. A victory on December 10 will make a strong argument for Terence to be named Fighter of the Year."
"This is a just an overall great match up. John is coming off a huge victory over Ruslan Provodnikov and is prepared to shock everyone again by beating Crawford on December 10th," said Tom Brown, president of TGB Promotions, Molina's promoter.
"Terence Crawford has established himself as an elite world champion who is seeking and earning pound for pound respect," said Peter Nelson, executive Vice President, HBO Sports. "When Crawford fights in his native Omaha, he becomes that city's one-man hometown team. In a career punctuated by upset victories, John Molina Jr. now has the opportunity to spoil the holiday season in Omaha and take home Crawford's super lightweight titles."
Crawford (29-0, 20 KOs), of Omaha, Neb., is a two-division world champion who has won four of his last six bouts by stoppage. He unified the 140-pound titles in a battle between consensus Top-10 pound-for-pound fighters on July 23, successfully defending his WBO junior welterweight title for the third time by winning a unanimous decision over previously undefeated WBC super lightweight champion Viktor Postol. That victory also garnered him The Ring title, designating him the lineal champion.
The consensus Top-Five pound-for-pound fighter will be looking to repeat his star-making 2014 which featured three world championship victories as well as Fighter of the Year honors from the Boxing Writers Association of America and major media alike. Crawford, 29, captured the vacant WBO junior welterweight crown on April 18, 2015, via a devastating sixth-round knockout of once-beaten No. 2 world-rated contender Thomas Dulorme. His title defenses include stopping No.2 world-rated contender Dierry Jean in front of a packed house at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha on October 24, 2015, knocking out Top-10 contender Hank Lundy in the fifth round last February 27, at a sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden, and headlining his first pay-per-view on July 23, where he totally dominated Postol.
Crawford began his career-best year on March 1, 2014, just 13 days short of the sixth anniversary of his professional debut. He captured his first world title, the WBO lightweight title, dethroning defending champion Ricky Burns on Burns’ home turf of Glasgow, Scotland. Scoring a powerful and unanimous decision, Crawford put the boxing world on notice with his virtuoso performance as he pulled out all stops in dismantling Burns, rocking the defending champion throughout the fight, while switching back and forth between orthodox and southpaw stances. He followed that with a dramatic and critically-acclaimed knockout victory of undefeated former world champion and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa on June 28, 2014, in a Fight of the Year nominee.
It was one of the most-watched fights of the year with over 1.2 million viewers catching the live, first-time airing of the fight, according to Nielsen Media Research. He concluded 2014 on November 29 with a thorough shellacking of one-time world title challenger and No. 1 contender Ray Beltran, winning 11 of the 12 rounds. Crawford, who is friendly with Warren Buffet, is only the second Nebraska native to be recognized as a boxing world champion. Perry “Kid” Graves, from Rock Bluff, captured the welterweight crown, knocking out Johnny Alberts in Brooklyn, in 1914, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Molina Jr. (29-6, 23 KOs), a hard-hitting, high-pressure brawler from Covina, Calif., who challenged for a world title in 2012, returns to the ring from a career-best victory over the heavily-favored former WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov on June 11.
Using excellent boxing skills not seen in previous fights, Molina pulled off the upset, winning a unanimous decision and sending Provodnikov into retirement while skyrocketing up the rankings where he is currently world-rated No. 1 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and No. 3 by the WBC and the WBO. He unsuccessfully challenged for the WBC lightweight title in 2012, losing to defending champion Antonio DeMarco. Career highlights include knockout victories over former world champion Mickey Bey and one-time world title challenger Hank Lundy in 2013 and 2010, respectively, when they were both undefeated contenders. He is trained by Shadeed Suluki.