Unbeaten IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) continued his dominance of the division, as the rising British star knocked out American Eric Molina (25-4, 19 KOs) in the third round of their bout in Manchester, England.
“Disaster avoided tonight,” Joshua said. “He started off teeing off with some haymakers early on. There are not too many tactics he can do. It’s hard for him to come in and fight when you aren’t giving him any options. Someone who is boxing with you can give you options, but someone who is boxing on his back feet cannot.”
Despite a lot of pre-fight talk entering Saturday's bout, Molina appeared ultra-tentative throughout the fight, as he generally was reluctant to consistently engage or even counter the larger-than-life Joshua.
Joshua floored Molina with a huge left in the third, leaving the Texas native crumpled in the corner. Molina looked dazed and barely beat the count, but he soon was again in trouble and defenseless seconds later, forcing the referee to halt the contest at 2:02.
“This is the start of my story and there will be many more things to come when I step into this ring," said Joshua. "I’m not one to talk and I’m not one to mess around, but if I did start talking I think people would find out what I’m all about. I’ve stayed consistent and I’ve stayed patient and I’m still undefeated.”
The final result of this bout was not surprising, but what was unexpected was the post-fight announcement that followed.
After the fight, Matchroom Sport's Eddie Hearn announced that Joshua will make the third defense of his title on April 29 against former long-reining heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko at London’s Wembley Stadium.
“We are moving into a huge arena (Wembley)," said Joshua. "[Klistchko is] a very respectful man outside of the ring, and he’s very competitive in the ring. This is the step up people have wanted. Klitschko wants his belts back and may the best man win.”
Klitschko who was watching the fight ringside, entered the ring after the bout and also showed respect for his future opponent.
“He is the best man in the heavyweight division and his record speaks for itself," said Klitschko. "This is the fight that the fans want and that is why this fight will happen.”
Klitschko then grabbed the microphone and addressed the pro- Joshua crowd:
“Do you want to see a big fight? Do you want to see a fight where two Olympic champs are involved? Do you want to see the fight between A.J. and W.K.? You got it.”
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services