Carlos Molina looks to upset British prospect Josh Kelly


Undefeated British welterweight prospect Josh “Pretty Boy” Kelly, 5-0 (4), has been impressive so far in his young career, since turning pro. However with only five fights under his belt, he is taking a massive step up in class when he faces former IBF world junior middleweight champion “King” Carlos Molina, 28-8-2 (8), on March 31 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.


The fight will be one of the support bouts to the highly-anticipated clash between undefeated heavyweights IBF/WBA beltholder Anthony Joshua and WBO titlist Joseph Parker.


The general feeling from the Kelly camp on Molina, who is approaching his mid-30s, with a lot of miles on the odometer, in a 38-fight, 15-year career, is that the time is right for Kelly to test himself against the former champion. Despite having a much deeper resume than Kelly, Molina went winless in 2017 and Pretty Boy and his team feel he is ready to test himself against the vastly more experienced Molina.


However if you run that idea by King Carlos, he clearly has other ideas on who is going to come out on top in this one. Molina has been in the ring with a very impressive list of opponents, including Cornelius Bundrage, Ishe Smith (in a title winning effort in 2013), Cory Spinks, James Kirkland, Kermit Cintron, Erislandy Lara, Mike Alvarado and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.


To say Molina has a huge advantage in experience would be an enormous understatement and the Mexico-born, former Chicago resident plans to use every bit of that experience in the bout.


Kelly, a 2016 Rio Olympian, is certainly an accomplished amateur and is making some fast strides as a professional. In his most recent bout, he stopped former IBF Mediterranean junior middleweight champion and 36-fight veteran Jean Michel Hamilcaro.


And now Kelly, who only turned pro last April, will face the biggest test of his career in Molina.


It was evident in a recent interview that Molina feels promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and the Kelly camp clearly view him as a steppingstone to bigger things in the ring. That said, Molina feels they should have been a little more selective.


Clearly while Kelly knows a win over a former champion like Molina is a huge boost for his career, Molina also knows knocking off an upstart prospect in his hometown will do wonders for his current career trajectory. “I’m not one to turn down fights,” said the veteran Molina, “I wanted the fight and the opportunity that comes with it.”


Molina also feels that when the bell rings, he is going to surprise a few people who haven’t seen him compete before. “My style isn’t what most people think it is,” continued Molina. “I’m tricky and I box. I have a defense that my first trainer Lou Askanette instilled in me from day one, that has been a huge part of my success in boxing and it’s a tool I use every fight. People usually appreciate my fighting style after they have seen me fight a second or third time. It sounds strange but it is hard to see what I do in there, with all the subtle things I make happen.”


While Molina knows he is in with a flashy, fast and strong prospect in Kelly, he feels he brings more than enough experience to the table to handle anything Kelly will throw at him on fight night.


“I’ve watched his five pro fights and he has some impressive looking skills,” said Molina, “but nothing I haven’t dealt with before.”




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