By Ian S Palmer
Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina Preview December 10th
England’s unbeaten Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF Heavyweight Championship against Eric Molina of Weslaco, Texas at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, December 10th. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the UK on Sky Box Office while American fans can catch it on Showtime. Joshua, who likes to stay active, won the title in his last on April 9th when he dethroned American Charles Martin by second-round knockout in England and then defended it against Dominic Breazeale of the U.S. in June via a seventh-round TKO. Joshua is a former Olympic gold medalist who won the title in just his 16th pro bout. Meanwhile, Molina stopped Tomasz Adamek in the 10th round back in April.
The 27-year-old Joshua enters the ring with a perfect mark of 17-0 with a 100 per cent knockout ratio of 17 stoppages. He ended his first 14 bouts and 15 of his 17 fights within the first three rounds. Joshua won the British title against Dillian Whyte last December and took the gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It’s safe to say he has better than average power, but his chin has still been untested up to now. He turned pro back in 2013 and has 41 rounds under his belt since. He’s a good-sized heavyweight by today’s standards as he stands 6-feet-6-inches tall and has a reach of 82 inches.
Joshua’s most well-known opponents so far have been Breazeale, Martin, Whyte, Kevin Johnson, Matt Skelton and Michael Sprott. Joshua arguably possesses better boxing skills than Molina and definitely has the edge in power. The former Olympic champ has decent mobility and upper body movement as well as a stiff jab, but he could be a bit too muscle bound. Joshua may try to stay away from a slugfest for the first few rounds by boxing Molina, using his jab and size advantage and nailing his opponent whenever he sees an opening. If he hurts him he won’t let up and it could be a short night.
The 34-year-old Molina enters the ring with a record of 25-3 with 19 Kos. He challenged WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder in June of 2015 in wilder’s first defence of his belt and put up a good fight before being stopped in the ninth round. He has decent size and power too at 6-foot-4 with a 79-inch reach and a knockout ratio of 68 per cent. Molina has the advantage in pro experience with 120 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 2007. However, Molina’s chin is quite susceptible as his three career losses have all been by been by KO with two of them coming in the first round.
Chris Arreola dropped him in 2012 and Ashanti Jordan stopped him in back in 2007 in Molina’s pro debut. Molina’s biggest wins up to now have been against the likes of Adamek, DaVarryl Williamson and Tony Grano, so he should perhaps count himself lucky that he’s getting a second shot at a world title. Molina needs to use his jab to work his way on the inside of the taller champion. If he can get close to Joshua he needs to make it an ugly fight and simply hope for the best.
Joshua may indeed have some weaknesses in his game and Molina will need to expose them. However, that’s going to be a tough task due to his questionable chin. The challenger’s only chance really is to land a bomb flush on Joshua’s jaw first and hope that he crumbles. It’s possible, but not likely, so look for Joshua to retain his belt by stoppage.