Hunter and Molina advance in Olympic Qualifier


Hunter and Molina advance in Olympic Qualifier


Light welterweight Javier Molina (Commerce, Calif.) put on a show in his quarterfinal contest with Barbados’ Matthew Robinson, recording a 14-3 victory while super heavyweight Michael Hunter (Las Vegas, Nev.) won an 11-4 decision over Colombia’s Oscar Rivas Torres in his Americas Qualifier opener.

Molina used the first round of action to test his opponent, using strong defense and movement to claim a 2-1 lead after one. He fully found his rhythm in the second round, timing Robinson and landing endless, crisp right hands on his southpaw opponent. Molina rode his strong right hand to a 7-1 advantage at the halfway mark of the bout. He continued his onslaught in the third round, throwing quick, powerful combinations to build up his lead. “I felt a lot better today. He kept throwing the right hook trying to counter. I kept trying to shoot in quick with the right hand so he wouldn’t get me with the right hook,” he said.

Molina’s efforts earned the 18-year-old an 11-3 lead at the end of three, and he didn’t let up in the fourth. He held Robinson scoreless over the final two minutes of action, whilst adding to his own point total to claim a 14-3 final victory. With the win, he joins his four teammates in the semifinal round, where he will face Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo on Monday. “I started getting looser throughout the bout and I get see him getting tired and that he didn’t want to be in the ring so it just gave me a little more momentum,” Molina said.

Molina needs to place in the top three to qualify for the Olympic Games, with the third place boxer  being determined by a box-off between the two semifinalists.

Hunter was the final U.S. boxer to climb through the ropes at the Americas Qualifier, but his opening round seemed to mirror many of his earlier teammates. The 19-year-old showcased his superior speed early on but led by only a 2-1 margin after the first round of action. He picked up the pace in the second stance, throwing fast punches in combinations and building his point total. Hunter held a 5-1 lead at the midway point of the contest, but didn’t rest on his lead. He continued to pepper Torres with straight shots mixed with superior movement to move out to an 11-3 advantage with one round remaining. “I won so I can’t complain, but I thought it was a little sloppy,” Hunter said. “My jab was working but I didn’t know if they were giving me points for it so I was stepping it up with my right hand and that was working.”

Hunter went on to win an 11-4 victory over Torres to join his five teammates in the semifinal round. He will battle the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Clayton Laurent on Monday.

Sunday will be an off day with six U.S. boxers competing in Monday’s semifinal action.

The U.S. bouts will be the following:

132 lbs/60 kg: Sadam Ali, Brooklyn, N.Y./USA vs. Juan Nicolas Cuellar, ARG
141 lbs/64 kg: Javier Molina, Commerce, Calif. vs. Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo, CUB
165 lbs/75 kg: Shawn Estrada, E. Los Angeles, Calif. vs. Carlos Gongora Mercado, ECU
178 lbs/81 kg: Christopher Downs, Fort Carson, Colo./USA vs. Luis Gonzalez, VEN
201 lbs/91 kg: Deontay Wilder, Tuscaloosa, Ala./USA vs. Rafael Lima, BRA
201+ lbs/91+ kg: Michael Hunter, Las Vegas, Nev./USA vs. Clayton Laurent, ISV

Javier Molina Quotes
“I kept trying to feint him. Every time I came in all he did was throw the right hook so I kept feinting him so he could throw the right hook before I came in and I could throw the right hand. It was working.”

Michael Hunter Quotes
“He was real strong, I could tell just be looking at him that he was going to be strong. He was a better boxer than I thought too.”

“The game plan was just to box him, use my jab, not many super heavyweights are faster than me so I just wanted to use my speed.”

“I’d like to thank my mom, my little brother and my family back at home.”