Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina Ready to Make an Impact on the Heavyweight Division

by Pavel Yakovlev: (August 1, 2011) - Heavyweight Eric Molina is going places in boxing. Already rated 12th in the world by the WBC, Molina is expected to fight for a major regional title next month in Las Vegas. Should he win, as expected, Molina will likely enter the WBC’s top ten ratings. By any measure, this represents quick upward mobility. According to boxing insiders, there is good reason for Molina’s rapid advancement: he can fight. Currently 17-1 (13 KO’s) since turning professional in 2007, Molina shows poise and skill in the ring that is more developed than would expected for a fighter of his experience level.

Standing 6’5”, 225 lbs and packing considerable power in both mitts, Molina is known for his combination punching. Working behind a long, persistent left jab (his reach is 84”), Molina tends to throw punches in bundles, constantly complimenting his right handed powerpunching with hurtful left hooks to his opponents’ ribs.

Recently, Molina and his trainer Ricky Fisler took some time to answer questions.

How did you get involved in boxing?
Eric Molina: I started boxing when I was 22 years old. My reason for starting boxing was to stay in shape. I was always an athlete, and I did sports in high school and college. I played a lot of football, baseball, and basketball. I had four amateur fights and then turned professional because I couldn’t be paired for many amateur fights. In Texas, there aren’t many amateur heavyweights. I had to drive all over the state looking for fights. My first fight as a professional was a loss on a Golden Boy card, but since then I have gone on to a 17 fight winning streak.

Ricky Fisler: Where Eric comes from he is one of the tallest fighters, standing 6’5” and now weighting 235 lbs.The resources for a heavyweight in southern Texas are very limited, and we are now in the process of giving him all the resources he needs to compete in the heavyweight division.

I understand you grew up in Texas, and have a college background?
Eric Molina: I grew up in Lyford, which is about 25 minutes from the Mexican border. I am a third generation America. I graduated this year from South Texas University at Brownsville, and have a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

What can you tell us about your fighting style?
Eric Molina: My style, I’d have to say, is very awkward. I take advantage of mistakes and look for openings. I am still developing every day. I’m a strong puncher, and my emphasis is on combination punching and pressure. Five punch combinations. But my best asset is using my mind to win, looking for openings, exploiting that that. Right now, I’m a young fighter in the heavyweight division. We’re developing a style to master, trying to keep it simple.

Ricky Fisler: He’s very heavy handed, has long arms and great leverage. He’s got a lot of natural ability, great skills, and he has the potential to become a future champion. We are working with him to develop his ring generalship and to get him to utilize his 84” reach.

Tell us about your management and training team.
Eric Molina: My conditioning coach from back home in Texas is Moe Cuellar, and I am trained by Al Bonanni and Ricky Fisler. I call them “Team Drummer Boy.” My manager is Jerry Attardi, who is from south Florida and has had several world champions. They are working together to help me get the resources I need to pursue a world title.

Last year you signed a promotional contract with Don King. Any comments?
Eric Molina: I first met Don King when I went to Panama last year to spar with Guillermo Jones for his fight against Valeri Brudov. I am very proud to be signed with the number one promoter in the world, Don King. I know he has a plan for me and I trust that he will move me in the right direction.

How did you get “Drummer Boy” as a ring name?
Eric Molina: I like the image of the drummer boy because of the courage they had as they led soldiers into a fight. The drummer boys were some of the most courageous guys ever to enter battle. They advanced against the enemy without weapons, armed with only their drumsticks.

Making the transition from high school and college athlete to boxer must have been challenging. What kinds of obstacles, physically and psychologically, did you have to overcome to successfully make the transition?
Eric Molina: Well, it has never been easy for me. School and work were my priorities for a long time. I had to work to survive, and school is something I always knew I needed. Boxing started off as something that I just loved to do but didn’t pursue full time, at first, because I didn’t make enough money from it to survive. Combining all three, boxing, work, and school, was hard but I finally graduated and put myself in a position now to pursue my dream of winning a world title.

Can you tell us more about the combination punching you are working on in the gym?
Eric Molina: Yeah, we’re just working on throwing combinations and moving, using my entire height and length, staying mobile and finishing defensive after combinations. I’m working on this in my second training camp, here in Florida, under Al Bonanni. Al brings a style of boxing that has proven to work and is successful.

How important is body punching to your style?
Eric Molina: Body punching is very important. I think heavyweights don’t do it enough. I try and keep a balance of head and body attacking as best as I can.

Tell us about your appreciation of Mexican and Mexican-American boxing history. I understand that you watched many of the greats on television before you took the sport up.
Eric Molina: I grew up watching Julio Cesar Chavez and Salvador Sanchez. I would watch the old fights, the replays. I’m proud of being a Mexican-American fighter without a doubt. We have some of the most diehard fans back at home in the Rio Grande Valley, hands down. In a weight class that has few Mexican-Americans, I can assure the people that I will represent myself with respect, class, courage, and dignity in everything I do.

You started out as a cruiserweight, and moved up to the unlimited division. Only recently have you acquired the body mass necessary to function as a full-blown heavyweight, in that your weight increased from the 195 lbs range to over 220 lbs. Was that an easy physical transition to make?

Eric Molina: I didn’t really have to put on the weight. When I was a cruiserweight, I was walking around at 225 lbs. In training, we had to work on getting my weight down more than working on tactics, and it was a drain. Moving up was the best thing I could do. I don’t think it was good, health-wise, to try to keep making the 200 lbs weight limit.

Ricky Fisler: Yeah, it was an easy transition for him to make. As a cruiserweight, Eric always struggled to make 200 lbs. He stands 6’5”, and that weight limit would be hard to make for anyone that height. He had to spend more time working on losing weight than working on the fundamentals and technique. Now, at heavyweight, he has finally grown into his body. He weighs 235 lbs now, and is still growing into his frame as a heavyweight.

Article posted on 02.08.2011

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