Legendary promoter Don King has signed undefeated Chicago heavyweight prospect Mike Mollo (15-0, 9 KOs) to a promotional agreement. Mollo will make his debut under the DKP banner on May 6 against International Boxing Federation No.7-ranked DaVarryl Williamson (22-4, 18 KOs) at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.
Mollo wants to bring some new blood to a division in desperate need of an infusion. Under the guidance of veteran trainer Al Bonanni, Mollo has been training at King’s private compound in northeast Ohio.
“Al has me chopping wood, hitting rubber tires with a sledge hammer and doing plenty of work with the medicine ball,” Mollo said of Bonanni’s regimen. “He calls it Old School. I call it hard work. There’s nothing to do out here in Amish country but train so I am 100% focused.”
“Mike is fundamentally sound and in the best shape of his life,” Bonanni said. “Williamson had an extensive amateur career and brings a tremendous amount of professional experience to the ring. We will not take Williamson’s power lightly. Our plan is to knock DaVarryl out.”
Already wildly popular with Chicago fight fans, Mollo used his hard-punching, aggressive style to capture the IBF, World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Council Latino heavyweight titles last November before a sold out, hometown crowd. Although they are continental titles, winning these belts is an important step toward helping an up and coming boxer climb higher in the world ratings of the sanctioning bodies.
Currently ranked No. 15 by the WBO, the 25-year-old Mollo knows that beating Williamson, who is also ranked No. 10 by the WBA, is his opportunity to position himself to fight for a major title. With King as his promoter, a win over Williamson places Mollo in a very promising position in the heavyweight division.
The 6’4” Williamson poses an important step up in competition for Mollo. Williamson has fought a number of high profile fights and most recently dropped a 12-round decision to Chris Byrd for Byrd’s IBF heavyweight title. A do-or-die fight for Williamson, Team Mollo knows that DaVarryl will bring his best to the ring.
Oliver McCall and Julius Long are just two of Mollo’s sparring partners who are helping him prepare at the King Training Camp.
“Say what you want about Oliver, but he knows boxing,” Mollo said. “The man can still crack.” “The Atomic Bull” knows Williamson’s style well having lost a controversial decision to him in November of 2004.
Another of Mollo’s sparring partners, 7-footer Julius Long is preparing for his own bout against Samuel Peter on April 28.
“What a jab,” Mollo said. “Long’s reach is ridiculous. It’s really helping me work on getting on
the inside. He’s helped me learn to make my own size work to my advantage.”
In addition to having the support of Don King, Mollo has gained the support of the late, great Rocky Marciano’s family.
“I understand that Mike wants to emulate Rocky both in and out of the ring,” Peter Marciano, younger brother of the “Brockton Blockbuster” said. “The Marciano family is looking forward to welcoming Mike with open arms to Massachusetts. I’m planning to personally take him on a tour of Rocky’s exhibit at the Brockton Historical Society when he arrives. I know Mike will
be inspired. The Marciano family will certainly be in attendance at the DCU Center on May 6 to lend our support.”
Mollo remembers Marciano well.
“I grew up watching film of Rocky Marciano. Both of our families came from Naples, Italy, so Rocky was a hero to my family. My strength and conditioning coach Joe Wright gave me a rare book written by Rocky called The Use of the Body. Joe found this book in 1967 while he was somewhere in England. I’ve been reading it and it’s a masterpiece.”
Mollo continued, “I can’t be Rocky, but I’m truly honored to have the support of the Marciano family. I hope to make them proud.”
With a large contingent of Mollo’s extended family and friends planning to travel to Worcester for the fight, Mollo is grateful for the support. Italian American groups from Boston, Brockton and Providence are organizing charter trips to support the man that they hope will be the next great Italian-American heavyweight champion of the world.
“I have to thank my manager Jerry Atardi and his partners in A Team Management for believing in me and getting me this opportunity. With Jerry’s help, Al Bonanni in my corner and now being signed with the greatest promoter, Don King, I know that with God’s help, I am going to win.”
Mike Mollo resides in Chicago with his fiance and four-year-old son Orlando.