Don King Brings Star-Studded Fight Card to China on Nov. 7
World Championship Boxing at Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu;
Heavyweights: Andrew Golota vs. Ray Austin, Jameel McCline vs. Mike Mollo;
WBC Strawweight Championship: Juan ‘El Exterminador’ Palacios vs. Teruo Misawa;
Also Appearing: Former Five-Time World Champion Marco Antonio Barrera
And Undefeated WBC No. 1-Ranked Super Lightweight Phenom Devon Alexander
CHENGDU, China—Fresh from the great success of the recent Olympic Games in Beijing, boxing promoter Don King has announced two heavyweight fights, a WBC Strawweight world championship and two additional matches featuring a former five-time world champion and a top-ranked undefeated challenger will all be part of his international fight card that he is presenting with Chengdu Sports Industry at Sichuan Gymnasium in Chengdu, China, on Friday, Nov. 7.
The greatest Polish heavyweight in history, Andrew Golota (41-6-1, 33 KOs), from Warsaw, Poland, will meet former No. 1 heavyweight contender Ray “The Rainman” Austin (24-4-4, 16 KOs), from Cleveland, Ohio, for the World Boxing Council USNBC International heavyweight championship.
A WBC heavyweight elimination bout will also be showcased, pitting established contender Jameel “Big Time” McCline (38-9-1, 23 KOs), from New York, against one of Chicago’s best young punchers, “Merciless” Mike Mollo (19-2, 12 KOs).
The interim WBC strawweight championship will be up for grabs when Juan “El Exterminador” Palacios (24-2, 19 KOs), from Managua, Nicaragua, squares off against Japanese champion Teruo Misawa (18-4-4, 7 KOs), who hails from Tokyo.
The Chinese crowd will also be treated to two of the best professional prizefighters in the sport appearing in separate bouts against opponents to be named. Former five-time world champion “The Baby Faced Assassin” Marco Antonio Barrera (63-6, 42 KOs), from Mexico City, will appear at lightweight and undefeated WBC No. 1-ranked super lightweight Devon Alexander “The Great” (15-0, 8 KOs), from St. Louis, Mo., will compete at the 140-pound limit.
A WBC female middleweight championship will be contested when champion Wang “China Doll” Ya Nan (7-0, 3 KOs), from Shanghai, China, defends her crown against Akondaye Fountain (7-1, 4 KOs), from Houston, Texas.
King has themed the event as “We Are Together,” which is the English translation of Wo Men Zai Yi Qi—the rallying cry used by the Chinese people to lift the spirits of those who were struck by May’s devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province near Chengdu that registered 8.0 on the Richter scale. Thousands perished in the temblor and that also left 1.5 million people homeless.
“We are all truly together in bringing this international event to China,” King said. “We are an American company coming together with our friends at Chinese Sports Industry to present this history-making fight card in Chengdu. The World Boxing Council will host its annual convention in Chengdu at the same time. And all of us support the ongoing recovery in Sichuan Province after the earthquake.
“The Chinese people proved their resilience by presenting China’s first Olympic Games in tremendous fashion and we will present a professional prizefighting success in Chengdu on Nov. 7. Working together we can achieve great things.”
This historic boxing event coincides with and will conclude the WBC’s 46th world convention, which begins in Chengdu on Sunday, Nov. 2.
The 40-year-old Andrew Golota, who has lived in Chicago since emigrating from Warsaw in 1991, is one of the best heavyweights to have never won a world title. He has been in four heavyweight world-championship matches, including three in a row during 2005 and 2006.
He fought then International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion Chris Byrd to a draw at Madison Square Garden in 2004, and later that year—after knocking down then World Boxing Association heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz twice in the second round at the Garden (and Ruiz had a point deducted for hitting on the break in round four)—he still suffered a decision loss. Many ringside observers felt Golota had won both contests.
Golota was defeated in the first round while attempting to dethrone knockout artist and then World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion “Relentless” Lamon Brewster in 2005. His first world title appearance in 1997 ended the same way against Lennox Lewis.
Golota recently rebounded with three wins. Most notably, he defeated Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin “The Clones Colossus” McBride with a technical knockout in round six when they met in 2007, and in his most recent appearance on Jan. 19, he won a unanimous decision over “Merciless” Mike Mollo.
Standing in the way of Golota’s quest for a fifth chance at a world championship is durable Ray “The Rainman” Austin, a competitor who has risen from the tough streets of Cleveland to become a world-championship-level contender.
Austin is a mammoth 6-foot-6-inch puncher who normally weighs just below 250 pounds. His size and strength alone present challenges for anyone stepping into the ring with him.
When he is in peak physical condition, he can contend with anyone as evidenced by the fact that he fought all of the following notable fighters to a draw: Lance “Mount” Whitaker, Larry Donald and future heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov.
Austin earned his first and only world-title shot when he faced IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on March 10, 2007, where he suffered a second-round technical knockout at the hands of the Ukrainian giant.
He won a unanimous decision over Domonic Jenkins in Carson, Calif., on Sept. 27 in his last outing.
Jameel McCline has been a “whisker” away from winning his first heavyweight world championship, twice, and has contended in four world championship matches.
He is another giant boxer that stands 6 feet 6 inches tall and has weighed as much as 277 pounds before entering the ring. For a big man who came to the sport later than most, his athletic abilities and agility—not to mention punching power—are astonishing.
He beat Michael Grant and Lance “Mount” Whitaker in 2001, and the following year he defeated Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs and faced Wladimir Klitschko in his first world-championship match. He fought gamely against Klitschko but suffered a 10th-round loss by technical knockout.
He shocked then IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd when they met at Madison Square Garden in 2004, sending Byrd to the canvas with a devastating right hand early in the second round. Byrd literally hung on to McCline in desperation and narrowly escaped being knocked out. Byrd not only recovered but went on to win a narrow split decision.
McCline regained his championship-level skills in 2007 when he and Nikolai “Russian Giant” Valuev set an all-time record for combined weight at 590 pounds. McCline suffered a heartbreaking loss in his third world-championship appearance when he was forced to withdraw against Valuev after suffering a freak knee injury at the end of the third round that left him unable to continue.
Undaunted, McCline became a last-minute substitute after Oleg Maskaev was sidelined after a training injury just before he was to meet Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter for the WBC interim heavyweight championship at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 6, 2007. McCline shocked Peter by sending him to the canvas in the second round and twice more in the third. The referee almost halted the contest, but Peter survived the round and rebounded to win by decision.
Mike Mollo wants to end McCline’s quest to appear in another championship match and catapult himself back into title contention. The Chicago native ran his undefeated record to 15-0 before suffering his first setback at the hands of DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson in 2005.
The young prospect regrouped quickly, and stunned Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin “The Clones Colossus” McBride with a second-round stoppage when they met in 2006.
In the biggest test of his career, Mollo tangled with Andrew Golota earlier this year in a highly entertaining slugfest. Mollo had his opponent staggered on several occasions, but the wily Golota survived the early storm to prevail by decision after 12 rounds.
Juan Palacios fought for and won the WBC interim strawweight championship by defeating Omar Soto by technical knockout in round 10 when they met in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 2.
Palacios comes from the notoriously tough streets of Managua, Nicaragua, and like so many of his fellow countrymen before him, he fights in an exciting, straightforward style. He is a busy fighter who is comfortable boxing or brawling.
His challenger, Japanese champion Teruo Misawa has built a respectable record and will be fighting for the first time outside of his native country. He plans to use this opportunity to prove himself on the world stage.
Marco Antonio Barrera is one of the greatest fighters of this era, winning five world titles in three separate weight divisions. Now a lightweight, Barrera would like nothing more than to become the first Mexican-born champion to win world titles in four weight divisions before he hangs up his gloves.
His wins over Prince Naseem Hamed, Erik Morales, Johnny Tapia and Paulie Ayala will always be remembered in the annals of boxing history and by boxing fans everywhere for the way Barrera displayed his considerable skills and tremendous heart.
Chinese fans will also be able to witness one of the top prospects in all of boxing when Devon Alexander appears on the card. Fans in his native St. Louis are expecting great things from this undefeated WBC No. 1-ranked contender at the 140-pound limit. Boxing aficionados have also been buzzing about the emerging skills of this 21-year-old, who will be challenging for a world title in the very near future.