Twin brothers Javier Molina and Oscar Molina are both former Olympians in boxing; though four years apart and for different countries.
Javier represented Team USA in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Oscar represented Mexico in the 2012 Olympics in London.
Southern California’s Molina brothers will co-headline the Goossen-Tutor Promotions fight card on March 9 at the OC Hangar in Costa Mesa. It’s their first time fighting on the same card in more than four years.
Riverside’s Chris Arreola had to drop out because of bronchitis.
“It’s kind of exciting to be fighting alongside my brother,” said Oscar Molina, who makes his pro debut.
It’s been a long journey for the twins who remember walking into a tiny boxing gym in Commerce and seeing Panchito Bojado speed through workouts to prepare for the 2000 Olympics.
That moment was imbedded in their minds and served as a catalyst to embark on their own Olympic journey.
“Panchito Bojado was always a great fighter. We watched him fight in the Olympics and all of his fights,” said Javier Molina, who was 9 years old at the time. “We learned a lot from him and the trainers in that gym.”
In time the quiet but friendly Molina brothers would establish their own reputations in tournaments throughout the Southwest. Their tiny gym hidden inside Bristow Park near East LA was a hot bed for a number of the best male and female amateur boxers for a period of time.
“There were 10 fighters out of Commerce. It was definitely fun,” said Javier Molina of their competitive gym club. “Everybody was winning. It was me and Oscar, Carlos (Molina) and Liz Quevedo and Patricia Marroquin winning national championships. Everybody was taking care of their divisions.”
Around 2006 a documentarian Justin Frimmer began exploring the Southern California amateur boxing scene as a topic. After a period of time he decided to focus on the Commerce Boxing Club and in particular the Molina brothers.
Thus began a regular routine for the Molina brothers, having their lives documented on film during their high school years.
“At first it was a little weird. We were around 15 years old and we would be waking up and he would be there,” said Javier Molina about Frimmer. “He was a cool guy. He was there almost every day for almost five years.”
The film was completed in 2011, before Oscar Molina captured a spot on the 2012 Mexican Olympic team. What were the odds of having two brothers compete on Olympic boxing teams for different countries in different Olympics?
Javier Molina scrapped his way to the 2008 Olympic boxing team by defeating the favorite, Karl Dargan. But twin brother Oscar Molina failed to qualify and was left behind. It was a dark moment.
“I needed one more fight to qualify and I ended up losing. I was pretty bummed out,” Oscar Molina recalled.
Through the advice of his trainer at the time, Robert Luna, he participated in an international tournament and won a gold medal. He decided to set a target for the 2012 Olympics and remained an amateur for four more years while his brother Javier competed professionally.
“To see them as little kids try, try, try and try and not give up is just amazing,” said Quevedo, a five-time U.S National champion female boxer. “Especially Oscar not making the Olympics the first time and making it the second time is really awesome.”
Oscar Molina spent many months away from home training at the Mexican Olympic training center in Mexico City. It was an unexpected life-building experience for someone who had never been away from his brother or family.
“I was training in Mexico for four years. I liked it, but I didn’t like being away from home. I had never been away from home. It helped me to be independent and do things on my own. I didn’t like to be away from my brothers, but it was a sacrifice to do what I needed to go to the Olympics,” Molina said.
This past summer, Oscar Molina’s dream came true and he competed in the Olympic Games in London. Though he wanted to win, he’s satisfied that he attained his goal of Olympic participation. Now Oscar is back and training alongside his twin brother Javier. Next Saturday they will be fighting on the same pro fight card.
“It’s a real big thing. We grew up fighting together. It’s been a while since we fought together on the same night … six years ago. Having to be on the same card as my brother it’s a real big deal,” Oscar Molina said.