IN Manchester to challenge Anthony Joshua for the IBF heavyweight title, Eric Molina has warned that he should not be underestimated.
“I’m unpredictable – and any man in this division can be KO’d on any night. To become champion, that’s the ultimate goal, and I think I have what it takes to knock him out,” he said. “Joshua has great balance, he’s athletic, tall, uses his reach – but there are things about him we don’t know yet and he knows it, too. We know he can punch and has the attributes to become a legend, but that missing piece of the puzzle is the chin. Can he take a punch? He hasn’t taken anything up to this date. A good boxing puncher can KO you with a shot at any given moment.
“Dillian Whyte has given Joshua his toughest test so far, then probably [Dominic] Breazeale. He hasn’t been pushed. He hasn’t been taken to a place where he’s had to dig deep. There are some holes in his game that we feel we can execute and hurt him.
“I’ve been an underdog all my life so it doesn’t faze me. Joshua is young, he’s strong, he’s got all the attributes of a great champion. But there are a lot of things that he’s yet to experience in the ring, and that’s what I have to capitalise on. Eventually he has to go through those things and get taken to those places that he hasn’t been yet. I have to take him there to win.
“I don’t question his stamina, but I do want to see him take a good shot. It’s the big question – and I’ve hurt everybody that I’ve been in the ring with. Does he have grit and determination? We’ll find out.”
He believes he proved a lot in his battling performance against Deontay Wilder. “Against Wilder I learned that I can get up. I can fight back and still win rounds. I learned I can fight through an injury; that I can bite down on the gumshield and give more than I ever thought I could give. It was a big stage against Wilder in his backyard so I’ve been on the big stage before. It doesn’t concern me at all – been there, done that. I’ve lost on the big stage but I’ve also won on the big stage,” he said. “Wilder is the most dangerous heavyweight in the world, Tyson Fury is the most skilled, the combination of both would beat Joshua. The most feared is Luis Ortiz. You have the heavyweights that no one wants to get in with. Everyone is calling everyone out, but when it comes down to it, it means nothing if you don’t get in there. You just have a certain bunch of guys that don’t want to fight another bunch of guys.”
Molina is plotting an inside the distance finish, saying, “Knockout is the only way I am going to win. I’m not here to take it on points, I am here to put him on the floor and take his belt. Any heavyweight can KO any other heavyweight, and I can KO Joshua. I’m a hard-punching heavyweight so I am extremely confident.”