History | Dec 10 2017

On this day a year ago Anthony Joshua beat Eric Molina to set up Wladimir Klitschko unification clash

When Anthony Joshua blasted through the last barrier between himself and Wladimir Klitschko. John Dennen reported from ringside at the Manchester Arena
Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina
Anthony Joshua v Eric Molina IBF World Heavyweight Title  |  Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

ERIC MOLINA stood between Anthony Joshua and some of the biggest fights in the sport. But there was no chance that Joshua was going to let this challenger block his path to Wladimir Klitschko. Anthony defended his IBF heavyweight title, demolishing Molina inside three rounds and then confronted Klitschko in the ring at the Manchester Arena, announcing that he would fight the division’s old ruler on April 29, 2017 at Wembley Stadium.

The prize waiting for Joshua gave this fight with Molina an element of tension, given how much hinged on this result. But the American was a tame challenger. Eric had said beforehand that he was training for one thing and one thing only, to land a knockout punch. However, looking for a single shot did him no good. Anthony’s feet were faster, his hands much too quick for the American. Only at the start of the second round did Molina start to throw his right hand with real intent, countering off the ropes. But Joshua would not let him connect.

The Londoner boxed with his gloves up, unhurried, his guard tight. He was up on his feet, moving his upper body, stepping clear out of range, catching Molina’s offensive efforts on his arms or elbows. His work was crisp and clean, the jab disrupting Eric’s guard. He threw his backhand right straight and, for the most part, accurate.