JOSHUA VS. MOLINA: A ROUTINE DEFENCE?
By Sam Constantinou Coulter
This weekend IBF heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua will look to make the second defence of his title against American challenger Eric Molina.
Aged 27 with a professional record of 17-0 with a 100 percent knockout rate Joshua is the biggest name in British boxing. His shows sell out in a matter of minutes and he is one of the very few British fighters who seems able to operate purely on a PPV basis.
Joshua has been promoted and marketed so well that he attracts huge interest from the highly lucrative casual boxing fan. His humble personality combined with a chiselled physique and knockout power has created a boxer the public cannot get enough of.
Standing at six foot, six inches tall with clear athletic ability Joshua seems to have all the necessary tools to become a heavyweight great. Fans have seen his power in abundances and a long, spiteful jab that sets up his work but many feel they are yet to see him really tested.
Since turning professional in 2013 Joshua has had pretty much everything his own way blasting out opponents with relative ease without having to really try to win. Whilst this is highly impressive and indicative of a man with serious talent many are suggesting that we need to see him in with stiffer competition before we know just how good he is.
The one time we have seen Joshua tested so far as a professional was against Dillian Whyte late last year. The rivalry between the two was clear and it seemed to influence the way in which Joshua fought.
Joshua was hit with a left hook in the second round that clearly troubled him but he recovered well before going on to claim a stoppage win later in the fight. He had answered the question asked of him and responded well.
Since then Joshua has looked imperious with the dispatching of Charles Martin and the one sided beat down of Dominic Breazeale. Both were unbeaten, confident fighters who proved to be leagues below Joshua in class.
In Eric Molina fans are hoping that we have a man who can stand up to Joshua's power and fire back. Aged 34 Molina holds a 25-3 professional record with 19 wins by way of knockout showcasing dangerous power.
The presence of three losses on his record shows obvious signs of weakness that Joshua will look to exploit. The first defeat came in his very first contest meaning it can effectively be forgotten about as it was such a long time ago. The other two defeats have come to much sterner opposition in the form of veteran Chris Arreola and WBC world champion Deontay Wilder.
The loss to Arreola took place in 2012 in the first round of the fight having actually hurt Arreola himself beforehand. Arreola is a good puncher but not someone with the level of power of a Joshua which could spell trouble for the challenger.
The defeat to Wilder in 2015 was somewhat of a breakout fight for Molina who wobbled Wilder and proved himself to be a much better fighter than many had given him credit for. He showed himself to be a very game fighter who kept on going and actually caused Wilder many more problems than anticipated.
The best win on Molina's record is by far against former light heavyweight and cruiserweight world champion Tomasz Adamek in his latest outing. Molina travelled to Poland for the fight and left victorious with a knockout win.
Molina clearly presents his own risks but in all honesty, another one-sided, knockout win is predicted for Anthony Joshua. He appears to be on another level when it comes to boxing skill and he knows that he has to perform if he is to get the huge fights that are just a matter of time.
There are several major areas that Joshua can look to exploit with Molina having the tendency to keep his left-hand low and is low to return it to his face after throwing a shot. This could leave him open to a quick right hand from Joshua.
Molina also isn't the most mobile heavyweight and can appear rather crude with his work at times. Joshua will look to use his jab to keep him at distance and set up the big right hand to do the damage.
Molina is a tough fighter but in terms of predicting the outcome of the fight, a knockout win for Joshua within the first half of the fight looks the most likely.
Joshua is a hugely talented fighter who is looking to not only stay world champion but to leave a legacy that is remembered for a long time. For this to happen he will have to defeat the best in the division and it appears that he will get his chance next year.
Wladimir Klitschko was supposed to be the man facing Joshua this weekend but due to injury the fight instead looks set to take place next year at Wembley Stadium. This will be a huge fight for the heavyweight division and will answer so many questions we all have.
We will see just how good Joshua is and we will find out just what Klitschko has left in the tank. This fight will generate huge media interest and will show just how big the sport can be in Britain if it continues to grow.
Such talk is of course for the future though as firstly Joshua must deal with Molina and look impressive in doing so. He is expected to look spectacular once again and it is hard to back against him.
He is a rare breed of talent and has the potential to go on and be involved in some huge nights for British boxing.