Anthony Joshua will defend his IBF heavyweight title against thrice-beaten 34-year-old Eric Molina at the Manchester Arena on December 10th(via Sky Sports).
A couple of weeks ago, it appeared as though Joshua was on the verge of signing to fight former world heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko on that date. Things became complicated though when Klitschko made it clear that he wanted the bout to be for the vacant WBA heavyweight trinket and the parties were forced to wait while the governing body made a decision on whether or not to sanction the fight.
However, before the WBA could even render a decision, the Ukrainian revealed that he had suffered an injury in training and would be unable to compete in December.
So now Joshua faces a far less glamorous showdown with Molina.
Molina, who hails from Texas, is coming off arguably the biggest win of his career – a KO of faded former light-heavyweight and cruiserweight titlist Tomasz Adamek.
However, his most high-profile outing came in June of last year when he was stopped in nine rounds by unbeaten WBC titlist Deontay Wilder. Though the fight became more and more one-sided as it wore on, Molina did have some success in the early going and even wobbled the lanky former Olympian with a left-hook in the third.
The other two blemishes on Molina’s record both came via first-round stoppage, to Ashanti Jordan on his professional debut all the way back in 2007 and to Chris Arreola in 2012.
Joshua will be competing for the third time this year, having already seen off American’s Charles Martin and Dominic Breazeale in May and June respectively.
Also announced for the Manchester card was a bout between former Joshua victim Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora. Whyte has rebounded from his December 2015 loss to Joshua with three straight wins, while Chisora has won once since a split decision loss to Kubrat Pulev in May of this year.