Mitchell Molina, cousin of local boxer Masedonio (Nune) Molina, had his professional boxing debut on December 21 at the Grand Plaza in Toledo. Mitchell faced Anthony Kelly, a fighter who had already had four professional bouts. Mitchell won by unanimous decision after four rounds which makes him undefeated in his professional career at 1-0 in the middleweight (154 lb.) division, and he aims to stay that way.
“It was nerve-racking,” Mitchell says of the time leading up to his debut. “When I was with the doctor, before the fight, reality set in, this is the pro fight.” Mitchell was supposed to be the fourth fight of the night, but he was moved up to the second so he was rushed down after his medical check. “I thought I would have all this time after to relax and get settled, but as soon as I come out they’re saying, ‘come on, you gotta go, you’re next.” Needless to say, it was a whirlwind and Mitchell had to focus. “As soon as we started workin’ the mitts I was ready.”
“Mental preparation is extremely underrated,” says Mitchell’s older cousin, Nune, who has been a pro for almost 7 years and has a 6-0 record with 6 knockouts. “If you’re not ready in your head, it doesn’t matter how big, strong, or fast you are.”
Nune also had a fight that night, the sixth of his pro career and the toughest to date. Nune fought Wade “Pay the Toll” Tolle from Monroe, Michigan. Tolle entered the fight with a 5-0 record just like Nune, but he’d been active whereas Nune hadn’t had a fight in two years. “I broke my knuckle in my last fight,” Nune said. “I put on weight and had to get back into shape.” This meant that Nune had to drop 68 pounds in 6 months while shaking the rust off his knuckles. It seems he did all that and more as he handed Wade Tolle his first loss via a second round knockout.
To recap, Mitchell and Nune Molina both had professional fights on December 21, both won those fights, both have undefeated professional records, and both belong to the Wauseon Boxing Club. Another thing both men have in common – they both must overcome an opponent that they can’t beat in the ring – the business. Small-town fighters have a harder time making their way in boxing because of the business end. Smaller towns mean smaller followings and smaller prospective ticket sales which means not getting the big promoters and not getting a shot at the big fights.
At one point, Nune, of our own Wauseon, Ohio, was ranked 18th in the nation in the super middleweight division (165 lbs.) and still he couldn’t get fights. If a boxer is good and isn’t a big name, he can get skipped over. Boxers from bigger markets will choose not to fight him to keep their good records because they have the luxury of cherry-picking their opponents, Nune and Mitchell do not and may never have that luxury.
Nune has been boxing since he was 14 (20 years), and Mitchell since he was 13 (12 years). Both men won nationals as amateurs and both are undefeated professionals. They are professional athletes who live in our communities and somehow their accomplishments and plight find their way to the rear sections of the newspapers with three-point shooting contests and birthday lists. Has boxing fallen from the public eye in the last decade with the onset of pay-per-view, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s gotten any easier or less entertaining.
Hopefully Nune and Mitchell will both have fights coming up in March or May by way of the Purgatory Fight Series. “My clock is ticking,” says Nune who admits that most boxers only do it into their mid thirties. “My main goal now is to open doors for the next generation. There are a lot of quality fighters in our club, and I don’t want someone with the talent to give it up because there are no opportunities in the area. I always tell all of them to follow their dreams and I want to help them be able to do it.” “We just want to keep going,” added Mitchell. “To see what doors we can open, how far we can take this.”
Nune and Mitchell both wanted to thank the Defiance Athletic Club for all the help their boxing team gives them. They also wanted to thank Gene Campbell, the Head Coach for the Wauseon Boxing Club and Assistant Coach, Mitch Molina. They also wanted to thank everyone, family, friends, and fans who have come out and supported them over the years.
The road of the small town boxer is definitely harder than that of the men born in major markets. “So why not move?” some may ask. “I’m proud of where I’m from,” Nune said. “Everywhere I go I say I’m from Wauseon, not west of Toledo or south of Ann Arbor, but Wauseon, with the Wauseon Boxing Club because I’m proud of where I’m from.”
It seems that communities should be at least as proud of their athletes as the athletes are of them yet there was a professional boxing match featuring Nune held at the Fulton County Fairgrounds a while back (to my knowledge the only professional sports event ever held in Wauseon) and the attendance from the community was less than impressive. Small town boxers need their name out there. They need big followings and fans willing to buy tickets to get them the better fights and bigger promoters.
Mitchell and Nune run 1 mile every day per round of their upcoming matches. They do countless push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and any other kind of ‘ups’ you can think of. They spend long lengths of time beating a big tractor tire with sledgehammers. Mitchell also goes to school and works while Nune works, owns his own DJ service, and looks after his two children.
These gifted athletes need the support of their communities, and it starts with just being proud that they’re from the same place we are. Talk them up, brag about them, treat them like your favorite college or pro team, but remember that they’re even closer than that. They grew from the same soil, had the same teachers, ate at the same restaurants, and wore the same school colors as we did. Wouldn’t everyone be proud to see “Masedonio ‘Nune’ Molina, Hometown: Wauseon, OH” or “Mitchell Molina, Hometown: Fayette, OH” on pay-per-view? Wouldn’t everyone tell their friends exactly how close they live to that guy? Wouldn’t it be great to be just a small part of making that happen?
If so, put it on Facebook; Tweet it; tell everyone you know about the next fight; buy a ticket; carpool; scream and shout; buy a tee-shirt; post some pictures; tell your other friends how much fun it was; and bring them to the next one; because it’s something special to say that man, your neighbor, your old classmate, is one of the best in the nation, who knows, maybe one of the best in the world, at what he does, and you saw him before he was big, shook his hand on the street and said, “good fight,” you watched him blow up, because he’s from right here, just like you and me.