John Molina of Covina, Calif., is just one of the rising stars Los Angeles boxing fans will get a chance to cheer for come Saturday, Sept. 26, in what is shaping up as one of the year’s finest undercards.
Molina will join talented Olympian super middleweight Shawn Estrada of East L.A., while local boxing fans will undoubtedly recognize the name of Mexican super bantamweight Salvador Sanchez II, the nephew of the legendary former Mexican world champion Salvador Sanchez.
Hot heavyweight prospect Joe Hanks has also been added to the show in fights to precede the main event world title showdown between WBC heavyweight champion Vitali “Dr. Iron Fist” Klitschko and WBC No. 1 contender Cristobal “The Nightmare’’ Arreola at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“We are excited to announce that Goossen Tutor has added local favorites John Molina and Shawn Estrada to the undercard fights,” said Tom Loeffler, manager director of K2 Promotions.
“And on Mexican Independence Day, we are thrilled to add Salvador Sanchez II to the show. Of course boxing fans will remember his uncle the great Mexican featherweight champion Salvador Sanchez.”
Molina is currently 17-0 (13 KOs) and scored a second-round TKO over Frankie Archuleta in May on the Andre Ward-Edison Miranda undercard in Oakland, Calif., in his last fight.
Molina is promoted by Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions and trained by his brother Joe Goossen. “I’m ready to show Los Angeles there’s another hot Mexican star rising,” said the confident Molina.
“Joe (Goossen) has got the regimen and our work ethic is the greatest. We’ve been working on my defense, but everyone knows it’s my offense that excites the fans. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me, I’ll be looking for an exciting knockout.”
Molina said he prides himself in his work ethic, discipline and his heart. “They are the key ingredients, in my opinion, to becoming a world champion,” he said. “You can have all the tools to be a world champ, but if you don’t have the work ethic, you’ll just be another kid who always says ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda.’”
The name longtime boxing fans will find most familiar is Sanchez II. The 24-year-old from Santiago Tianguistenco, Mexico , has dreams of following in his uncle’s footsteps.
Salvador Sanchez was a great featherweight world champion who was involved in the first fight featuring two featherweights ever to be televised by HBO. He had a 44-1 records with 32 knockouts when he was tragically killed in 1982 in a car accident at the age of 23. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1991.
Sanchez II turned professional in Mexico City in 2005 and is currently 15-3-2 with (8 KOs ). Sanchez has won 15 of his last 16 bouts and has improved greatly under the management of Elvis Grant Phillips and trainer Jimmy Montoya.
He was voted prospect of the month by “Boxing Digest” last year. Besides the striking resemblance physically to his uncle, Sanchez II is looking more and more like his namesake in the ring as well. He wants to be a world champion by the age of 25 and wears his uncle’s trunks and robes in the ring and looks like a throwback to the 80’s.
Super middleweight Estrada, 24 and also represented by Goossen Tutor, is 6-0 with six knockouts in his young career. He will tussle with Sam Haynes (5-3, 4KOs) of Portland , Ore. The East L.A. fighter also was on the Ward-Miranda undercard in Oakland and scored a quick first-round knockout against Cory Jones in his last fight to keep his record perfect.
Undefeated heavyweight Joe “The Future” Hanks (9-0, 5 KOs) has also been added to the card and will face Washington D.C. heavyweight veteran Jonathon Felton.
Hanks is originally from Newark, N.J., but has relocated to Southern California with his last six fights taking place in Montebello and the Irvine Marriott, respectively. He now lives and trains out of Kings Sports Gym in Carson. In his last fight in August, he beat previously unbeaten (10-0) heavyweight Ashanti Jordan by unanimous decision in a six-round bout.
In the HBO televised portion of the show and part of the spectacular co-feature heavyweight fights, hard-hitting undefeated heavyweight Alexander Ustinov (17-0, 14 KOs), of Minsk, Belarus, who will take on once-beaten Cedric Boswell (31-1, 24 KOs), of Atlanta, GA.
This will be a 12-round championship fight for Ustinov’s WBA European title, where the winner is guaranteed to rise to the top of the division.
The other compelling heavyweight match features two talented American brawlers. Once-beaten Johnathon Banks (21-1, 15 KOs), of Detroit, Mich, will take on Javier Mora (22-4, 18 KOs), of Anaheim, Calif., in a scheduled10-round fight.
Klitschko will return to the famous site of two of his most memorable fights when he defends his WBC crown against the unbeaten Arreola, who is trying to become the first heavyweight champion of Mexican decent.
Klitschko brings a record of 37-2 with 36 knockouts into what will be an exciting, hotly contested 12-round showdown. The dangerous-punching Arreola, of Riverside, California, via East Los Angeles, is 27-0 with 24 KOs .
Tickets are on sale at all TicketMaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the Staples Center Box Office. Tickets are priced at $500, $300, $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25.
The event will be promoted by K2 Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions.