Anthony Joshua will put all thoughts of Wladimir Klitschko out of his mind as he prepares to face Eric Molina on December 10.
The IBF heavyweight champion makes the second defence of his title at the Manchester Arena when much of the attention will be on his proposed fight with Klitschko in 2017.
American Molina, 34, represents a far less proven opponent than the respected Klitschko. He continues to improve, however, and impressed in taking the big-punching Deontay Wilder nine rounds before unexpectedly stopping Tomasz Adamek in his previous fights.
For all that Joshua remains the significant favourite, he believes that Molina’s recent record shows he remains a threat.
The biggest purse and fight of his career is expected to follow against Klitschko should he succeed, but when asked if it is a potential distraction, the heavyweight said: “I don’t want to mention Klitschko too much at the minute.
“I just want to mention the relevant opponent, Eric Molina. He’s going to be across the room from me on December 10. He is a tough competitor.
“That’s the one I’ve got to focus on. I always knew I would have someone who was game. Right now we’re competing for a championship belt. Everyone is going to up their levels by 50, 60 percent.
“I have to put Klitschko or David Price or whoever was in the pecking order aside and focus on what is in front of me.
“Wilder is supposed to be known as a one-punch knockout artist, and (Molina) stood up to a lot of his punches. It shows that this man is here to push the champions to their limit.”
Molina responded to a defeat on his professional debut by steadily climbing the heavyweight rankings while losing only twice more, to the WBC champion Wilder and the world-level Chris Arreola.
His experience as a professional, in travelling to fight and being used as an opponent expected to lose, outweighs that of the 17-fight, 27-year-old Joshua, and the American is convinced that is where his advantage lies.