It’s either down to the sheer star-power of IBF heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, or it’s down to the Dec 10 card in Manchester being a pretty stacked one, but 15,000 tickets have already been sold for the card that will be topped by Joshua’s second title defence against dangerously determined challenger Eric Molina.
The two stars of the main event met today at a press conference and, unlike Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte who met yesterday, both men had nothing but respect for each other. Joshua said he is anticipating a “game” Molina, while the 34-year-old Mexican/American said he is aiming to “take what Joshua has,” and that, “I can win the fight with one punch at any given moment.”
Joshua, still only 27 and 17-0(17) also said that his opponents, “up their levels by 50-60-percent” when they face him. “I thought he [Molina] was the toughest out of the few so that’s a good challenge for myself.”
Joshua is a huge betting favourite to win and most people think he will get the job done by relatively quick KO. Still, Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn both acknowledge how dangerous Molina is. Joshua also spoke how the game effort Molina put forth when challenging WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder shows that his challenger “is here to push the champions to their limit.”
Can Molina, 25-3(19) test Joshua the way he tested Wilder last summer? Can Molina hit and hurt Joshua the way he hit and hurt Wilder in the early going of their battle? It is largely the credible and gutsy showing Molina gave against Wilder that got him this, a second world title opportunity, and Molina says he will make the most of it, as improved a fighter as he is today.
With the likelihood of a sold-out Manchester Arena on fight night, the atmosphere will be something special. Will AJ send his fans home happy, or will “Drummer Boy” Molina silence the huge crowd by causing a stunning upset? With that huge fight with Wladimir Klitschko set for Joshua next spring, Molina would be wrecking plenty of big plans if he scored the upset.