Javier Molina Wins Battle of L.A. at the Belasco

LOS ANGELES-A super lightweight clash between rival Southern Californians saw Javier Molina win a clear cut victory over Jessie Roman after eight rounds on Friday.

Rival crowds packed the Belasco Theater in downtown L.A. with equal numbers of supporters as Norwalk’s Molina (18-2, 8 KOs) defeated Garden Grove’s Roman (22-4, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision on the Golden Boy Promotions card.

The incentive was the winner could be signed by Golden Boy.

Molina, a former U.S. Olympian, was the sharper and busier fighter from the opening bell. Though Roman has good technique and decent power, he was often out-punched by Molina who seldom was beaten in the punch numbers department.

It was difficult to find a round where Roman fired and landed more blows than Molina but he had several moments, especially in the seventh round when he attacked at the beginning of the round with a four–punch combination then switched to a body attack. Molina fought back but Roman kept the momentum. Other than that, it was mostly Molina landing pot shots then sliding out of danger.

After eight rounds all three judges had it 79-73 for Molina.

“I felt I fought really well,” said Molina, whose brothers Oscar and Carlos are also ranked boxers. “I got some ring rust off against a good opponent. I was off for two and a half years, so I’m happy to finally be back in the ring. This was something I needed. It’s my first fight at 140 pounds and I felt the difference. I feel great. I need to talk to my team now and see what’s next, but I want to stay busy.”

Roman was gracious in defeat.

“We came to fight, and tonight he was the better man,” said Roman whose brother Jose also fights and was in the crowd. “We are going to continue working hard for another opportunity and hope to come back soon. Congratulations to Javier Molina.”

Maybe Molina should fight Jose Roman next?

Other Bouts

Hometown fighter Rafael Gramajo (10-1-2, 2 KOs) eked out a win over Tijuana southpaw Victor Ruiz by unanimous decision but it easily could have gone the other way after eight action-packed rounds. The super bantamweight fight featured Gramajo scoring a knockdown in the seventh round but even in that round Ruiz stormed back and landed a sizzling three-punch combination. The judges saw it 78-73 and 76-75 twice for Gramajo. It easily could have been the reverse with Ruiz landing far more shots than Gramajo. But it was a very entertaining fight in all eight rounds.

“We need to go back to the gym to work on some things. I’m happy I got the victory tonight, but I have to stay busier in the ring. I’ll be back as soon as possible,” said Gramajo who lives in L.A.

The loser was extremely disappointed.

“It was a disgusting robbery,” said Victor Ruiz. “A flyweight beat a super bantamweight tonight. This is bad for boxing and I would love a rematch.”

Joshua Franco (14-1, 7 KOs) returned to the win column by knockout over Mexico City veteran Isao Carranza (15-12-1, 9 KOs) in a bantamweight showdown. A few months ago Franco had suffered a knockout loss but he showed no signs of timidity in wearing down the taller Carranza. Well placed uppercuts and three-punch combinations forced referee Jack Reiss to stop the fight after the Mexican fighter’s corner wisely asked for the stoppage at 1:36 of the fifth round.

“This victory means everything after my last setback,” said Franco who lost to Lucas Leone by knockout this past March. “I came better prepared than ever before, and my loss showed me that I have to keep coming back stronger and stronger. I want the rematch.”

Visiting middleweight Joey Alday Jr. (8-0, 7 KOs) arrived with an undefeated record and all knockouts, but Garden Grove’s tough Nam Phan (3-7-1, 2 KOs) snapped that streak with grit and head movement. Alday never could time Phan’s movement but was able to land far more frequently in winning by unanimous decision 40-36 on all three cards.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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