By Chris Cella
After a week off, boxing returns to ESPN next Friday night, June 7. Headlining the weekly edition of Friday Night Fights are lightweight contenders John Molina (25-2, 20 KO and Andrey Klimov (15-0, 8 KO).
Molina is coming off a 4th round TKO win over Dannie Williams this past January where he claimed the WBO NABO title, and will be looking to move one step closer to fighting for a world title by dismissing of Klimov. Last September Molina stepped into the ring against his toughest competition in Antonio DeMarco as he battled for the WBC lightweight title, but was upset as he was stopped in the first round. In his last 12 wins Molina has only gone the distance once, and is anxious to getting back to world championship contention.
“As of right now everything in camp is the mindset that is purely on Klimov,” said Molina. “I know him and I know sometimes fighters like Klimov go under the radar with the fans and television executives because he’s from Russia and not see here in America often. But in beating him it will take a great performance from me, and I’m prepared to do just that. The fight plan is to go out there and look impressive. Control the fight. If it goes the distance, we’re ready. If a knockout comes, we’ll jump all over it.”
An impressive showing resulting in a ‘W’ is Molina’s surefire way to have a shot at the world title in his subsequent outing.
But in his way will be the undefeated Russian looking to get to his biggest fight of his career.
Klimov is a slick and crafty boxer with sound technique and the ability to make opponents miss, which he will need to execute to avoid the power of Molina. Through 15 fights he has shown both power and the ability to go the distance without fading, and will be ready for whatever Molina brings into the ring next Friday.
“I will box and stay out of a straight line, and try to move in and out on him,” said Klimov. “I will not look for a knockout. I’m ready to go at the same pace for all 10 rounds, if it goes the distance. My ultimate goal would be to fight for the championship of the world. I never duck anybody and fight whoever is put in front of me and now it’s in my hands to beat Molina impressively so everyone knows who I am.”
Although there isn’t a world title on the line as these two lightweights go to battle, there might as well be. The winner will be able to control his own destiny by lining himself for a world contention bout.
At 30-years-old time is of the essence for both pugilists. Molina has reached the big stage before and came up short, and wants nothing more than to redeem himself by raising the world championship hardware in 2013, while Klimov has fought his whole career and maintained an unblemished record in pursuit of fighting for all the marbles.
The undercard of the night features super-middleweights Farrah Ennis (20-1, 12 KO) battling Anthony Haushaw (23-2-2, 14 KO).
The action gets underway live from the Little Creek Casino Resort in Washington Friday, June 7 at 10 p.m. Eastern.