Anthony Joshua is looking to continue his charge towards heavyweight boxing supremacy when he defends his IBF belt against Eric Molina on December 10th at the Manchester Arena.
After a puzzling few weeks, it was announced that Olympic champion, Joshua would defend his blemished record of 17 fights without defeat against the dangerous American, Molina instead of the preferred target of Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had made no secret of his desire to secure a bout between the pair for December 10th, after Klitschko’s proposed rematch with Tyson Fury fell through.
Fury became heavyweight champion last November after defeating the former lineal champion, Klitschko on a unanimous points decision and in the process, he won the WBA Super, WBO, IBO and IBF (now owned by Joshua) titles.
Talk of a fight between Klitschko and ‘AJ’ intensified rampantly but Klitschko’s insistence on the vacant WBA Super belt being on the line rather than fighting just for Joshua’s IBF title, prevented a pre-Christmas ‘war’ from taking place next month.
But the WBA have since approved the Ukrainian’s demands for his former belt to be part of the deal and the fight will now go ahead next Spring providing Joshua overcomes his next opponent, which is far from certain.
Texas-born Molina, will travel to England with plenty of experience as he heads into his
issues which prevented the much-awaited rematch between the pair.
The 34-year-old took WBC world champion Deontay Wilder to nine rounds and has since earned vast praise from his compatriot.
Of the upcoming fight, Wilder said on Molina: “Molina will be a challenge for him.
“We all saw Molina fight me, and he put up a hell of a fight because it was for the belt, and he wanted to provide for his family. I think he’s going to do the same.”
And Joshua’s promoter Hearn has described the fight as “more important than ever”, as he looks
ahead to sewing together a bout between the national hope and his aging opponent for Wembley stadium in a fight which would eclipse Carl Frochs’ mega fight against George Groves in 2014.
Although, the Brit will be the overwhelming favourite to come through the fight unscathed and the 27-year-old should be in buoyant form after breezing past Dominic Breazeale with another emphatic knockout last time out meaning he is yet to be taken the distance in his whole career.
But, the Londoner is not underestimating Molina and accepts that he must raise his level to retain his perfect win ratio.
“I’m expecting this to be the toughest fight of my career so far and I will be ready for an all-out war.”