ESPN Friday Night Fights will return to the UIC Pavilion on FEBRUARY 1, 2013 headlined by an IBF Junior Middleweight Title Eliminator between Chicago fan favorite and perennial contender “King” Carlos Molina and two division and five-time world champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks.
Presented by 8 Count Productions, Round 3 Productions, Warriors Boxing and Blue Wave Boxing in association with Don King Productions, advance tickets are priced are $151, $101, $51 and $31 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster (Ticketmaster.com, 1-800-745-3000), the 8 Count Productions Offices, 312-226-5800 or the UIC Pavilion Box Office, 312-413-5740.
Also featured at ESPN Friday Night Fights is a sensational ten round welterweight clash between Mexican boxing legend and two-time former world champion Jose Luis “EL Terrible” Castillo and upset minded Miami, Florida’s Antwone “The Truth” Smith.
In a special attraction eight round clash, fast rising Polish heavyweight prospect Artur “The Pin” Szpilka will battle Chicago based heavyweight contender “Merciless” Mike Mollo.
Additionally featuring in separate bouts will be local favorites; middleweight contender Donovan “Da Bomb” George, 23-3-1 (20KO’s), highly regarded and undefeated super middleweight prospect Mike “Hollywood” Jimenez, 8-0-0 (5KO’s) and popular welterweight newcomer Jimmy Murphy, 1-0-0 (1KO).
“We’re very proud to work with the terrific team at ESPN on this Friday Night Fights presentation and we’ve got a sensational card to kick off the 2013 year in style for Chicago boxing fans.” said Dominic Pesoli. President of 8 Count Productions.
“This the first time in over four years that Carlos has fought at home in Chicago and it’s a huge opportunity for him to face a multiple time world champion in Cory Spinks.”
“In the co-main we’re bringing back former world champion Jose Luis Castillo who won a fantastic “blood and guts” war with Ivan Popoca in July at the UIC Pavilion and our special attraction between Szpilka and Mollo should be bombs away from the opening bell.”
“Complimenting these three fights Donovan George is returning to fight in Chicago for the first time in two years, ‘Hollywood’ is back at the UIC Pavilion where he won his first three pro fights by knockout and we’re excited to have Jimmy Murphy fight on our card for the first time.”
“We’ve had massive crowds at the UIC Pavilion for our last two events and we’re expected another tremendous crowd of Chicago boxing fans. For the best seats, I strongly encourage fans to purchase tickets in advance for this event.”
The 29-year-old Molina, 20-5-2 (6KO’s), known for his sensational upset performances over his eight-year professional career, is coming off a ten round shutout unanimous decision win over Damian Frias on AUGUST 17 which was also broadcast on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
Earlier this year, Molina was the victim of horrendous judgment as he was disqualified him after the tenth round enroute to a decisive victory over James Kirkland on MARCH 24 in Houston, Texas.
In a bout broadcast on HBO’s World Championship Boxing, Molina’s corner mistakenly entered the ring before the bell rang following the tenth round. At the time of the stoppage Molina was significantly ahead on two of the scorecards.
Born in Patzcuaro, Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico, Molina holds victories over former world champion Kermit Cintron, very highly controversial draws with former world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Erislandy Lara and clear-cut victories over contenders Danny Perez, Allen Conyers, Ed Parades and Alexis Camacho.
Fighting out of St. Louis, Missouri and from the legacy of his father, heavyweight champion Leon Spinks and uncle, light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks, Cory Spinks has won world titles three times in the welterweight division and twice as a junior middleweight.
Spinks’ illustrious career included an up and down 2012 as he looked sensational defeating Sechew Powell in a twelve round unanimous decision on JANUARY 28 but getting stopped by Cornelius Bundrage in the seventh round on JUNE 30 as he challenged for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title.
Molina is currently world ranked #4 by the IBF and #7 by the WBC while Spinks is ranked #12 by the IBF.
The 23-year-old Szpilka, 12-0-0 (9KO’s), a native of Wieliczka, Poland, will be making his Chicago debut in front of the huge legion of Polish fight fans.
Sporting an undefeated record of 12-0-0 (9KO’s), the hard hitting southpaw is coming off his career best victory, a dominant ten round unanimous decision on JUNE 30 over two-time world title challenger Jameel McCline in Lodz, Poland.
Born and raised in nearby Oak Lawn, Illinois, the heavy handed Mollo, 20-3-1 (12KO’s), is best known in Chicago for two brutal second round knockouts; over Mike Tyson conqueror Kevin McBride at the Allstate Arena in 2006 and contender Art Binkowki at the Sears Centre in 2007.
In his last start, Mollo battled to a hard fought eight round draw with Gary Gomez on AUGUST 6, 2010 at the UIC Pavilion.
Fighting in the ten round televised co-main event, former two-time world champion Jose Luis Castillo, 64-11-1 (55KO’s) will return to the UIC Pavilion against Antwone Smith following his eighth round stoppage of Chicagoan Ivan Popoca on JULY 13 which was broadcast on ESPN Friday Night Fights.
The 25-year-old Smith, 22-4-1 (12KO’s), heads back to the ring following a career highpoint with a ten round decision win over previously undefeated Ronald Cruz on SEPTEMBER 21, broadcast on NBC Sports Network from the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Further details on this world-class evening of professional boxing will be announced shortly.
The UIC Pavilion is located at 525 S. Racine, at the corner of Harrison and Racine on the campus of University of Illinois-Chicago. Doors on the night of the event will open at 7pm with the first bell at 7:45pm.