Sweet Home Alabama: Wilder Defending on Home Turf

SWEET HOME(COMING) ALABAMA!

UNDEFEATED DEONTAY WILDER TO DEFEND
HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD TITLE AGAINST ERIC MOLINA
ON SATURDAY, JUNE 13, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

FROM BARTOW ARENA IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

Tickets Are On Sale Now!

ALL ACCESS: Deontay Wilder Premieres June 3 On SHOWTIME

Birmingham, Ala. (May 14, 2015) – Undefeated Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will make the first defense of his title when he faces Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina (23-2, 17 KOs), of Raymondville, Texas, in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® on Saturday, June 13, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Ala.

In the co-feature, undefeated Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza (19-0, 12 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, will be opposed by Andrey Klimov (19-1, 9 KOs), of Klimovski, Russia, in a 12-rounder for the vacant IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship.

The 6-foot-7 Wilder captured the heavyweight world championship with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision over defending titleholder Bermane Stiverne on Jan. 17 on SHOWTIME. It was the first time the hard-hitting Wilder, 29, had fought more than four full rounds and the only time in his seven-year career that one of his fights went to the judges. By winning, he became the first undefeated American to win a heavyweight title since Michael Moorer in 1994.

Molina, a 6-foot-5 southpaw, possesses punching power that commands respect and makes him a dangerous proposition for any opponent. He has won five in a row, three straight by knockout, including an eighth-round TKO over Raphael Zumbano Love on the Wilder-Stiverne undercard. If triumphant, the aggressive-minded 32-year-old would become the first Mexican-American heavyweight world champion.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Bruno Event Team are on sale now. Tickets start at only $25 with the best seats in the house going for $200. VIP packages are also available. To purchase tickets fans should visit alabamatitlefight.com. Tickets are selling fast and a sellout is anticipated.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to defend my heavyweight championship in my home state,’’ Wilder said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.

“It was one of my dreams to win a world title. This was my other dream to be able to defend it before all my fans in Alabama. I can’t wait until fight night to step into the ring and see the whole state coming out to support me.”

“I remember just a few months ago watching Deontay get ready for the biggest fight of his life,” Molina said. “I thought to myself, ‘someday, that’ll be me.’ I stared with envy not knowing that a few months later I’d get my turn.

“Winning the heavyweight world championship is my dream. Just as it was Deontay’s dream, it’s mine now. He had his turn, though it will be short-lived. I will become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion. Guaranteed. So, champ, come prepared for war. I’m coming to kick some ass.”

“Deontay Wilder is the first American to hold a heavyweight championship in years and one of the most exciting fighters in the division. His homecoming in Birmingham will be electric,’’ promoter Lou DiBella said. “The opening bout will be Jose Pedraza’s opportunity to establish himself as Puerto Rico’s next champion and a rising star. It will be a great night of boxing on SHOWTIME.’’

“We are excited to work with DiBella Entertainment to bring the first ever heavyweight boxing championship to the State of Alabama,” said Gene Hallman, president and CEO of Bruno Event Team, a nationwide leader in sports event management. “Alabama’s Deontay Wilder always puts on a show, so we expect the arena to sell out for this world heavyweight championship.”

“Deontay made an emphatic statement with his performance in January that he is one of the current and future stars of this sport, and we’re thrilled to welcome him back to SHOWTIME for his first title defense, ” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager SHOWTIME Sports. “But we all know that one punch can change everything in the heavyweight division and Eric Molina will be coming to Alabama to prove just that.”

ALL ACCESS: Deontay Wilder, which chronicles the champion’s Jan. 24 homecoming parade in Tuscaloosa and his preparation for the upcoming title defense, premieres on Wednesday, June 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Wilder, the first United States-born heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs won the WBO belt in November 2006, was born and raised in Tuscaloosa. He’s fought in Alabama five times, although the bout on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will mark the first occasion he’s fought outside of Tuscaloosa (four times) or Mobile (once). This will be the first fight in his home state since August 2012.

Wilder started boxing at the age of 21 after his daughter Naieya (pronounced nie-EE-ya) was born with spina bifida. Despite his late start in boxing, Wilder would go on to represent the United States in the 2008 Olympic Games, where he won a bronze medal. He is the last American male boxer to medal in the Olympics.

Until going the distance against Stiverne, Wilder hadn’t come close to putting in a full night’s work since turning pro in November 2008. The then-virtually untested slugger had fought a total of 58 rounds, an average of 1.8 rounds per outing. He’s registered 18 knockouts in the first round, eight in the second.

Molina, who resides in Weslaco, Texas, is a big slugger, rugged and strong. He has good skills and movement and, like Wilder, got a belated start in boxing but has had only two defeats as a professional.

“The Drummer Boy” is on a roll, coming off five consecutive victories. Molina’s matchup with Wilder will be his first shot at a world title.

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COMMENTS

-Radam G :

This bout will really be something to see if the U.S. mainland Deep South has really changed. Imma be watching big time to see how many paid -- and even none paid -- white fans are going to be in an arena or stadium watching a native-born black man beat up a brown man. Holla!


-deepwater2 :

Wilder is taking a step back fighting Molina. Wilder needs to fight boxers with a heartbeat so he can learn. Eric Molina is in Rod Salka territory because he is ranked in number 44 in the world. He is right around Shannon Briggs, why not fight Briggs? It would get the attention of the sports world. Arreola knocked this guy out in 1 round for crying out loud. TsAH is ruining his fighters by putting them In against cream puffs and pushovers. How many fans will come out and pay good money to watch Wilder punch a bag? Because that's how many people will pay to have him punch Molina. At least the bag will be there after 4 Rounds. Fighters from the USA that are ranked higher than this guy: Tarver Mansour Rossy Cunningham Arreola Scott! Fast Fres Jonathan Banks! Fast Eddie I get that the heavyweight belt holder can't be matched too tough because he is just supposed to be the world champion but why not put him in against someone that will give him a couple rounds. This fight is free but tsAH should pay us to tune in to watch it.


-oubobcat :

Molina actually has some somewhat decent skills. He has an above average jab for example when he uses it and it looks impressive against over matched foes. He is also a good combination puncher and has shown those skills at its best against similarly over matched foes. His problem...he stepped up once significantly against Chris Arreola and was destroyed. He had a deer in headlights look on his face in that fight early constantly retreating and flicking out his jab (not using it with the authority against the lesser fighters he faced). He actually surprised Arreola when he finally went forward and caught Arreola with a right hand on top of the head that momentarily stunned him. But quickly Arreola recovered and got Molina out of there in the first. Molina's other big problem...he holds his left very low and its a habit he refuses to break. Arreola ko'd him with a right and Molina was also hurt and dropped last year by Tony Grano with a lunging right. Molina reminds me a little of Bruce Seldon. No where near as fearsome looking or with as good a jab. How he reminds me of him though is that he looks very good against pedestrian fighters but is chinny and when he steps up tends to show fear in the ring. I see Wilder cracking a backward retreating Molina with a right hand that ko's him in the first. And probably does so within 90 seconds. By the way, the main event is bad but the co-feature is actually pretty decent and should be a solid competitive fight (for what its worth).


-Kid Blast :


What did Molina do to get this payday?


-deepwater2 :


What did Molina do to get this payday?
Got knocked out in 1 round by Chris A.


-deepwater2 :

Molina actually has some somewhat decent skills. He has an above average jab for example when he uses it and it looks impressive against over matched foes. He is also a good combination puncher and has shown those skills at its best against similarly over matched foes. His problem...he stepped up once significantly against Chris Arreola and was destroyed. He had a deer in headlights look on his face in that fight early constantly retreating and flicking out his jab (not using it with the authority against the lesser fighters he faced). He actually surprised Arreola when he finally went forward and caught Arreola with a right hand on top of the head that momentarily stunned him. But quickly Arreola recovered and got Molina out of there in the first. Molina's other big problem...he holds his left very low and its a habit he refuses to break. Arreola ko'd him with a right and Molina was also hurt and dropped last year by Tony Grano with a lunging right. Molina reminds me a little of Bruce Seldon. No where near as fearsome looking or with as good a jab. How he reminds me of him though is that he looks very good against pedestrian fighters but is chinny and when he steps up tends to show fear in the ring. I see Wilder cracking a backward retreating Molina with a right hand that ko's him in the first. And probably does so within 90 seconds. By the way, the main event is bad but the co-feature is actually pretty decent and should be a solid competitive fight (for what its worth).
If Molina goes 2 ,I will jump out of my seat.


-Kid Blast :


Molina goes in one


-Domenic :

Wilder is taking a step back fighting Molina. Wilder needs to fight boxers with a heartbeat so he can learn. Eric Molina is in Rod Salka territory because he is ranked in number 44 in the world. He is right around Shannon Briggs, why not fight Briggs? It would get the attention of the sports world. Arreola knocked this guy out in 1 round for crying out loud. TsAH is ruining his fighters by putting them In against cream puffs and pushovers. How many fans will come out and pay good money to watch Wilder punch a bag? Because that's how many people will pay to have him punch Molina. At least the bag will be there after 4 Rounds. Fighters from the USA that are ranked higher than this guy: Tarver Mansour Rossy Cunningham Arreola Scott! Fast Fres Jonathan Banks! Fast Eddie I get that the heavyweight belt holder can't be matched too tough because he is just supposed to be the world champion but why not put him in against someone that will give him a couple rounds. This fight is free but tsAH should pay us to tune in to watch it.
I agree wholeheartedly man. I'm not a big Briggs guy at this juncture, but easily a case could be made for him over Molina. Tarver too. Neither would beat DW, in my opinion, but it'd be a better event and storyline for a hometown type deal. Why not. Holyfield fought Vaughn Bean, and even a dangerous Bert Cooper, but had earned his stripes at that point. Next one needs to be a legit dude. I'm guessing we'll get that, then DW versus the winner of Klitschko-Fury for all the marbles. Hopefully at least!


-the Roast :

Briggs would have been a good choice. I have never heard of this Molina.