32 Years Since a Right to Starling’s Chin!
By: WBA Press
(July 29th) Thirty-two years have passed since that July 29th, 1988, when Colombian Tomás Molinares was crowned WBA world champion, defeating Marlon Starling in the sixth round at the Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City, with a powerful right hand that crashed into the champion’s chin. In Colombia, they had to wait more than a minute to find out what had happened, because the producer of the broadcast has ordered to go to TV commercials before the decisive punch in favor of the Colombian.
It all began on April 17th, after returning from San Andrés, where Molinares had knocked out Emiro Oliveras from Cartagena in two rounds. Billy Chams told us that the fight against Marlon Starling for the WBA Welterweight title was ready, and that he had made arrangements with Cedrick Kushner and Main Events for the title fight; but there was a problem, there was a fight signed in Cartagena against Eric Perea from Panama, in the same program in which Happy Lora would defend his Bantamweight title against the Argentinean Lucio ‘Metralleta’ López. For that reason, Julio Guerrero went to Billy Chams’ office to reconfirm Tomás’ fight in Cartagena on April 30th.
The fight in Cartagena would be Tomás’ last fight under the direction of Curro Dossman, because everything was ready for us to travel to Los Angeles to train under the direction of the Argentinean Amilkar Brussa, who had the Olimpic hotel ready, where the Venezuelan Antonio Esparragoza was preparing to fight Marcos Villasana. Molinares defeated Perea on April 30th, but we could not travel in May due to the delay in processing Molinares’ visa in the American embassy by Main Events. We were only able to travel on June 21st.
When we arrived in Los Angeles, Tomas Molinares, Billy Chams and I, we first went to the lab of Joey Olivo’s father, a former WBA Light Flyweight World Champion, to make a good mouth guard for the boxer.
Training began in California on Friday, June 24th, and I remember that we went early in the morning with Miguel Mercedes, Victor Cordoba and Diomedes Colome to Griffith Park, for the morning sprint. From that first day, the Panamanian Cordoba noticed the discomfort of the Colombian.
In the afternoon we drove to the Yacht Club in Brussa’s old Dodge Dart. When we returned to the hotel, he told us how little he could do for Tomás, if he did not do his part; we looked at him and thought, if this is the first day, what could happen from now on, when he had to work hard to make the weight.
After the first sparring session, Brussa was not happy because Molinares had gained weight and sometimes gave the impression that he would get out of the ring in the middle of the sparring session.
The time in Los Angeles was difficult, Tomás was homesick, he missed his girlfriends, mostly because they managed to communicate with him and give him their best arguments to show which one was the most in love.
Panamanian Victor Cordoba became our ally to ensure that he kept his eyes on the training sessions, so by July 15th, 14 days before the fight, he was already close to the limit of the category, and that, together with the intelligence shown in the sparring sessions, encouraged us to travel to Atlantic City hoping to defeat Marlon Starling.
However, if Cordoba was an important ally, Ruben Gomez was fundamental, he was the person who took us to the beach, to shopping malls, especially when I called him because Tomas was depressed. This Mexican became a guide and protector in Los Angeles, he would take us to his home to watch videos in VHS format with Starling fights, that’s where the blow that ended the fight came from. That’s why, after 32 years, we can say that this type of blow was thrown many times during the first five rounds because it was part of the training at the Yacht Club in every sparring session.
We all know from the course of the fight, as it became an important victory for Colombian sport, but that something that was in Tomás Molinares’ genes arose, bipolarity, which got combined with the evil of some friends who took him down the cliff, from which he has emerged, thanks to his family and Cuadrilatero, that never abandoned him. Billy Chams died 7 years ago and Tomás Molinares has only stopped going to his office in these times of pandemic.
Thirty-two years have passed and Colombians still remember that punch that crashed into Marlon Starling’s chin and turned Tomas Molinares into the WBA Welterweight World Champion. Although the Atlantic City Athletic Commission and Larry Hazzard declared the fight as no contest, the World Boxing Association, in compliance with its rules, kept him as a champion until the moment he abdicated, driven by his illness.
The WBA Mourns the Passing of Willie Savannah!
(July 26th) The World Boxing Association (WBA) mourns the passing of manager and coach Willie Savannah. Several media and journalists reported on Savannah’s departure at the age of 85 after a life dedicated to boxing and youth development.
He was in charge of the Savannah Boxing Gym in Houston, where he mentored several professional fighters, especially Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz, besides showing the path of boxing to young people and influencing their lives in a positive way.
The WBA regrets the departure of such an important man for the sport and sends words of condolence to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
Kabayel Is the New
WBA-Continental Heavyweight Champion!
By: WBA Press
(July 18th) Agit Kabayel became the new World Boxing Association (WBA) Continental Heavyweight Champion after beating Evgenios Lazaridis by a unanimous decision in an excellent fight at the Elbaupark in Magdeburg, Germany. The judges’ cards were 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92.
It was a special event, in which only a thousand people were able to enter under the necessary measures to ensure everyone’s safety. A great advance in world boxing after the pandemic break, and great news for everyone in the boxing world, which has been holding events mostly behind closed doors.
Kabayel knew the opportunity he had and the high expectations surrounding the pioneer organization’s regional belt. Therefore, he gave his all from the first round and went forward against a taller and heavier opponent, who had about 19 pounds of advantage at the weigh-in on Friday.
That pressure was important for the victory of the local fighter. His jabs, combined with his body blows, gradually demolished Lazaridis, who began in earnest but had to give in to Kabayel’s incisive attack.
The victory places the German boxer on the boxing world map and gets him closer to better opportunities to become world champion. It was the 20th victory in Kabayel’s career, who has 13 KOs. For his part, Lazaridis left his record at 16 wins, 3 losses and 10 KOs
The WBA Regrets the Death of Diogenes Cardenas!
By: WBA Press
(July 8th) The World Boxing Association (WBA) deeply regrets the death of Diogenes Cardenas, president of the Nicaraguan Boxing Federation, who died from complications arising from Covid-19.
Cárdenas was a man who loved boxing and worked for the Nicaraguan fighters. He won the appreciation of all national associations, who had voted for him in 2018 for a third consecutive term as president of the organization in the Central American country. The period for which he was re-elected would end in 2022.
Nicaraguan and global boxing is mourning the loss of a family member. The loss of Cárdenas strikes a blow to boxing, especially to his country, in whose successes he had been very much responsible.
The WBA prays for the soul of Cárdenas and for the serenity and resignation of his family in this difficult time.
The WBA Regrets the Passing of “Ñato” Marcel!
By: WBA Press
(June 29th) The World Boxing Association (WBA) mourns the death of former WBA champion and Panamanian boxing legend Ernesto “Ñato” Marcel on Monday in Panama City, at the age of 72.
Several Panamanian media confirmed the death of Marcel, who had been battling various health conditions for several months.
Marcel was born in 1948 and made his professional boxing debut in 1966 at the age of 18. He lived a life linked to sports; he played basketball during his childhood and adolescence, until he discovered his talent for boxing in 1964 after he was not selected for a basketball team that would tour San Andres.
On August 19th, 1972, he won the WBA Featherweight title after defeating Venezuelan Antonio Gómez by a majority decision in Maracay, Venezuela. The “Ñato” made four defenses of his championship and retired as a champion. Among his outstanding performances were the rematch with Gómez and, of course, the last fight of his career when he defeated Alexis Argüello by unanimous decision.
In the ring, he was a tough boxer who fell by knockout only once against a young Roberto “Manos de piedra” Durán. He defeated some of the greatest figures at the time and left his record at 49 wins, 4 losses, 2 draws and 23 knockouts.
The WBA prays for Marcel’s soul and sends condolences to his family and closest friends. The “Ñato” was a warrior in and out of the ring. Peace to his soul.
WBA 99th Convention Week Begins!
By: WBA Press
(June 29th) The World Boxing Association’s (WBA) 99th Convention will raise its curtain on Wednesday with several important activities during four intense working days, in which we will take a look at the history of our organization and boxing in general, but with an eye on the years to come.
The WBA is the oldest organization in boxing, and therefore it has a great responsibility with the sport and the paths to take in the years to come. The pioneer organization decided to take the lead in the midst of the challenges boxing is facing, and to be at the forefront of the situation.
This convention is the kick-off for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the WBA, which will be hosted in Moscow in July 2021. The most important topics today will be discussed through the different forums of the agenda, which is adapted to today’s reality.
The General Assembly will be held on Wednesday, when the President, Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, will meet with the Directorate members to talk about current affairs of the WBA starting at 10:00 a.m. (Eastern United States).
Thursday will begin with the Championships and Classifications meeting at 10:00 a.m., followed by a short presentation from Mendoza at 11:55 a.m., in which he will talk about the 99 years of WBA history and will present the forum that will have the participation of the most important promoters in boxing history, Don King and Bob Arum.
On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the “Challenges in Boxing” forum will take place. Mendoza will talk about the current challenges of the discipline together with British promoter and president of Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn, and with the renowned journalist Claudia Trejos. The day will continue at 11:00 a.m. with the “Boxing and Gender Equality” forum, where the great fighters and defenders of women’s rights Miriam Gutiérrez, Claressa Shields and Hanna Gabriels will compete with Orlando “Phenomenon” Cruz, the only boxer who has declared himself gay.
Finally, at 12:00 p.m. the day will be completed with the “Amateur Boxing” forum, in which the two-time Italian Olympic medalist Clemente Russo, former world champion Omar Narvaez, WBA Director Miguel Torruco, and Ricardo Contreras, president of the Mexican Boxing Federation, will participate.
The last day will be Saturday, with presentations from the Medical Committee at 10:00 a.m., followed by the forum “Veganism and Boxing”, with the participation of Chris Algieri, Bernard Hopkins and President Mendoza. The day will close with the Judges and Referees Seminar.
The 99th Convention will set the table for the 100th anniversary of the pioneer organization, aiming to lay the foundations for the years to come and to remain at the forefront of the sport.