Sam Peter-Eddie Chambers Undercard

Los Angeles, CA (March 23, 2009) – It’s been nearly 10 years since any professional boxing promoter signed more than one member of a U.S. Olympic Boxing squad – but that drought is over with the recent signings by Goossen Tutor Promotions of 2008 Beijing Olympic teammates Shawn Estrada and Javier Molina..

The Los Angeles-area natives and former Olympic team members -- one, the oldest boxer of the team and the other the youngest -- will appear together for the first time as professionals on the undercard of the March 27 ESPN “Friday Night Fights” featuring the blockbuster Heavyweight main event, Sam Peter vs. Eddie Chambers from the Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.

East Los Angeles’ 23-year old Estrada (2-0, 2 KOs) will take on Oakland’s Ray Craig (5-4, 2 KOs) in a scheduled four-round super middleweight bout. Molina, just 19 years of age from the nearby City of Commerce, will make his four-round junior welterweight debut against another local prospect, Alameda’s Jamie Cabrera who is also making pro debut.

It was back in 1984 when the late Dan Duva signed the Olympic version of the “Fab Five” of Pernell Whitaker, Mark Breland, Meldrick Taylor, Tyrell Biggs and Evander Holyfield fresh off their success at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, with all but Holyfield capturing gold medals. And then in 2000, Lou Dibella the former HBO television executive signed six Olympians from that class including Jermain Taylor, Ricardo Williams, Carlos Navarro and Brian Viloria.

“Today, making the team is almost as important as winning a medal,” said Dan Goossen, President of Goossen Tutor Promotions, who has had his eyes on Olympic alumni since his entrance into the sport in the early 1980’s. “People forget that Michael Nunn and Mike Tyson also came out of the 1984 Olympic program as alternates to the American team members. Nunn was one of our first major fighters we promoted, based mainly on his Olympic background. Our direction hasn’t wavered since then because making the team is very difficult in today’s world, and the athlete’s fortunate to make the team are usually successful in their professional careers.”

Besides Nunn and Tyson, to back up Goossen’s point you need to look no further than at the careers of Fernando Vargas, Vernon Forrest, Jeff Lacy, Eric Morel, Raul Marquez, Montell Griffin and Brian Viloria. The common denominator here is that these seven boxers all represented the U.S. in the Olympics, failed to medal, yet won world titles as professionals.

Goossen went on to promote other Olympians through the years, and has been the only U.S. promoter to land the last two U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists in David Reid (Light Middleweight, 1996 Atlanta) and Andre Ward (Light Heavyweight, 2004 Athens).

In just his 10th pro fight Reid tied the late Davey Moore’s record by becoming a World Champion in the quickest time by out pointing Laurent Boudouani for the WBA Junior Middleweight Title. Today, the 25-year old Ward is an undefeated (18-0, 12 KOs) WBO NABO Super Middleweight Champion and one of the crown jewels of the Goossen Tutor stable. It is expected that Ward will fight for a World Title in 2009.

Goossen went out and signed both Estrada and Molina as prospects he feels have World Championship potential despite the fact that they came up short in the medal count in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“The key to the Olympics in today’s world is the same as it is for all sports, including boxing, worldwide. At all levels the foreign athletes have caught up to and, in many cases, surpassed the American athlete.”

“Shawn Estrada wasn’t even favored to make the Olympic team. To earn his spot he had to beat both Fernando Guerrero (by a score of 20-12) and Daniel Jacobs (24-14) who were both favored over Estrada. Guerrero and Jacobs are now highly-regarded, undefeated pro prospects and you can see why we’re so high on Estrada,” Goossen marveled.

“Shawn Estrada, as everyone who followed his story leading into the Olympics knows, fought under extraordinary personal circumstances in Beijing. He earned a gold medal just for the courage he showed in representing his country as his father was quite ill and ultimately passed away when Shawn was in China. He has had to overcome several tragedies in his young life and he continues to use these for motivation in his boxing career and in making a better life for himself and his family.”

“In Javier Molina’s case, he was in high school (John Glen HS in Norwalk, CA) and the youngest member of the Olympic boxing team at age 17 and not given much of a chance to represent our country. So what does he do, he upsets the favorites in Dan O’Connor (18-10) and Danny Garcia (26-12) – both now promising, undefeated young professionals -- to qualify for Beijing. USA Boxing wouldn’t allow him to continue his training in Los Angeles so he could still go to school, so he put school on hold and went to Colorado Springs to train. After the Olympics, what does Javier do? He goes back to school!! This told me everything I had to know about Javier and his determination to succeed.

Arnulfo Bravo, part of Bravo Management, represents both Estrada and Molina, and shares Goossen’s views on their potential to achieve World Championship status as professionals.

“To me amateur boxing and professional boxing are different sports,” Bravo said. “In the pro game the gloves are smaller, there is no headgear, no tank top, body shots count, slaps don’t count for points, the ref doesn’t protect you as much as in the amateurs and I could go on and on.

“Shawn and Javier are more suited to the pros,” Bravo insists. “Shawn has an aggressive style. He comes in to knock you out, but he can box when he needs to. He can punch with both hands and has great boxing skills. Javier has great defense and is a great counter-puncher where he wears you out with pressure. Javier breaks you down until he knocks you out. I see both Shawn and Javier being world boxing champions in the future because of their amateur pedigree with great boxing skills and they have the professional boxing style.”

Another factor that can only help Estrada and Molina make the smooth transition from their amateur careers to the pros and keep things in perspective is the insight they can get from their new stablemate, Andre Ward, a man dedicated to being the best he can be in the ring as well as a devoted man of God and family outside the ring

The 25-year old Oakland, California native has been brought along methodically by Goossen Tutor and his management team with the goal in mind being to not only win a world title, but to do so at a time when he is experienced and skilled enough to retain it for years to come.

It should be very interesting to watch the development of Shawn Estrada and Javier Molina as their careers move forward in the professional ranks over the next several years to see if their names can be added to the list of former Olympians who became World Champions – medal or no medal.

Article posted on 22.03.2009

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