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December 10, 2016 Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina at Manchester Arena (formerly M.E.N Arena), Manchester, Lancashire, United Kingdom for the IBF World heavyweight title
Anthony Joshua knocks out Eric Molina, faces Wladimir Klitschko next
Anthony Joshua continued his heavyweight starship when he knocked out Eric Molina Saturday night to retain his IBF heavyweight title. His win against Molina has set up for him a unification fight against Wladimir Klitschko. Joshua will take on the Ukranian heavyweight star on April 29 at Wembley Stadium. This is a tough battle that will also see the WBA belt on the line.
Back to Joshua vs Molina fight which took place at the 21,000 seater Manchester Arena, Joshua had the match going in his favor right from the start. After a rather actionless first round, AJ managed to deal the American a powerful left hook before the bell sounded.
Molina was intent to spoil in the second round and had perceivably acquired a sour attitude. He therefore made the second round difficult for his British counterpart, barely giving him room for attack. Some minutes into the second round, Molina flung a trio of overhand rights but AJ managed to avoid each by taking a calculated step backwards. He then seized the opportunity and landed Molina a brutal left hand uppercut.
A third round knockout
After being slowed down a bit in the second round by his challenger, Joshua came back to the third round meaning nothing but business. The Watford, Hertfordshire born boxer landed his Texas born opponent a left-right combination in the opening moments of the third round. This sent a visibly struggling Molina into even more confusion. Joshua followed his powerful combination with a hard right hand that saw Molina slump to his corner in a daze.
Rather surprisingly, Molina managed to get up from his corner before the referee’s count ended. Getting up however proved to be even more disastrous for Molina as Joshua descended on him with a series of rights and lefts prompting referee Steve Gray to wave off the match at that very moment. It was then clear that AJ had carried the night.
Stars present ringside
Aside from the pressure of defending his IBF heavyweight belt for the second time, Joshua must have felt another kind of pressure, that of trying to prove to his potential opponent(s) that he is indeed a force to reckon with. Present ringside as Joshua tackled Molina was none other than Wladimir Klitschko, the ironman he will be facing at Wembley next year. The ringside crowd had gotten wild with excitement and catcalls the first time the Ukranian’s face was shown on the giant screen.
Also in attendance were renown boxers David Haye, Shannon Briggs, and WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew. David Haye and Tony Bellew are set to face each other in a grudge fight on March 8.
Prior to the Joshua vs Molina fight, the Manchester Arena crowd had been treated to an engaging all-British fight between Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte. The two Londoners took on each other in 12 rounds after which Whyte was declared a winner by decision. Their fight has been described as a battle of equals.
Joshua on his fight with Molina
AJ described his fight against Molina as a slow and calculating one. He explained that Molina barely gave him options and therefore he had been forced to create them. He further said that he is going to keep on handling business like he should.
Joshua will now be facing Klitschko in an April 29 mega fight. It will certainly be a gruesome battle for AJ as Klitschko will be seeking to redeem his name after losing his titles to Tyson Fury last year.
A stellar career record
AJ has a very impressive career record. He has gone undefeated in all his professional matches. The Saturday night win was his 18th win and 18th knockout too. The 27 year old Briton has sure done well for himself.
On his part, 34 year old Molina has 25 wins out of 29 professional matches and a total of 19 knockouts. That’s a fairly good career record for the American sportsman.