Friday, May 25, 2018

No Holds Barred: Mike Chapman on the Future of Catch Wrestling, Joe Stecher Days, Bill Smith Passing, Media Projects, and Retiring 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with wrestling historian and author Mike Chapman.

We spoke with him by phone Thursday.

With two important catch wrestling tournaments scheduled for July and August, there appears to be some life left in this latest but small and struggling incarnation of catch wrestling. However, as we discussed, much, much more needs to be done, and very soon.

"I just hope that somebody out there will say, 'Catch wrestling is a cultural part of American history that deserves to continue to exist,'" he said.

"And that somehow, with all your cajoling and all my cajoling, that we can get this done. You and I are out there telling people that there's a formula for this. And we're both willing to work with anybody. I think we'd both serve on a board if somebody came up with some kind of a platform and plan.

"You have invaluable knowledge that you'd like to share, and I'd like to think that I do, too."

We discussed how undefeated catch wrestler Curran Jacobs has become "the face of catch wrestling" to many younger people, and these upcoming catch tournaments.

In addition, we discussed how Mike will be a guest speaker and part of the "Joe Stecher Days" event on July 14-15 in the village of Dodge, Nebraska, Stecher's hometown. Joe Stecher was a world heavyweight wrestling champion in the days before professional wrestling ceased to be a sport. His two matches with Earl Caddock, with Caddock winning the first and Stecher the second, are still talked about. A video of highlights of that second match, held at Madison Square Garden on January 30, 1920, still survives today.

And we discussed the passing at age 89 of 1952 Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medalist Bill Smith; the planning of several wrestling media projects including a full-length dramatic film; his offer to sell his inventory of books and posters; why we don't really retire; and much, much more.

(Photo by Phil Monson, courtesy of Catch Wrestling Alliance.)

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No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Eric Molina Suspended for Doping, A Year-and-a-Half After Joshua Fight 

by Eddie Goldman

Another day, another fiasco for boxing, UK Anti-Doping, and the New York State Athletic Commission.

On May 22, 2018, UKAD announced that, after a tribunal hearing of the National Anti-Doping Panel, American heavyweight fighter Eric Molina had received a two-year ban for taking Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid which is a banned substance. The positive test came from a urine sample collected right after Molina's fight with Anthony Joshua in Manchester in the U.K. But that fight was on December 10, 2016.

It thus took a year-and-a-half to adjudicate this case, not dissimilar to the length of time it took to adjudicate the cases of Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury.

Molina had been "provisionally suspended since 27 October 2017" according to UKAD, in other words, about ten months after his fight with Joshua. But then, even though he had been "provisionally suspended", Molina fought again on November 4, 2017, in Brooklyn, New York, against Dominic Breazeale, and was stopped at the end of the eighth round.

So why did the New York commission allow a fighter who had been "provisionally suspended" by UKAD to fight? Was there no communication between the bureaucrats of the New York and U.K. commissions? Did nobody bother to check, or did no one care? Or does the New York commission not recognize a provisional suspension from UKAD?

Because of the delay in this case, the start date of Molina's suspension was backdated to October 28, 2017, and runs through October 27, 2019. Molina had been scheduled to fight Mariusz Wach this Friday, May 25, in Warsaw, Poland, on a card that was scheduled to be televised there. That card was, according to BoxRec, sanctioned by the Polish Professional Boxing Department, which also was set to allow a boxer under provisional suspension to fight. Now that fight looks like it will not happen.

Last but not least, this is the same UK Anti-Doping which had been enlisted to bring RUSADA, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, back into compliance with the WADA code following the exposure of Russia's state-sponsored doping program. RUSADA still remains out of compliance.

While the case of Russia may be the most egregious example of current known attempts to thwart anti-doping protocols, the breakdown of anti-doping procedures extends far beyond their borders.

The full judgment of the tribunal which heard the Eric Molina case can be read at:

(Photo of Eric Molina from Matchroom Boxing.)

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