By Edward Chaykovsky
IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (17-0, 17KOs) has received a very stern warning from rival beltholder, WBC champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36KOs).
Last June, Wilder defended his title before his hometown fans in Alabama against top rated Eric Molina. Wilder was rocked hard in the third round, but he was able to recover and eventually stopped Molina in the ninth round. Molina withstood several big knockdowns before the contest was stopped.
Now Joshua is scheduled to make the second defense of his title against Molina on December 10th in Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Most boxing fans and the oddsmakers are predicting a one-sided knockout in favor of Joshua - who is already lined up to defend his title against former division ruler Wladimir Klitschko in the first quarter of next year.
Wilder has a different take on the match. He anticipates that Molina will give Joshua all he could handle that night. Molina is coming off an April knockout win over former two division world champion Tomasz Adamek
"Molina will be a challenge for him," Wilder told Sky Sports. "He'll come and try to fight, that's for sure, and that's what people don't understand. It's not about who he is, or what his record is. It's about what he is, and what he stands for, right now.
"People don't understand that when fighters have something to fight for, it's different. If it's just a regular fight - 'I may win or I may not' is the attitude that some of these fighters have. But when you get a fighter willing and determined to do something, then you put a title on the line, they know it's the opportunity of a lifetime. We all saw Molina fight me, and he put up a hell of a fight because it was for the belt, and he wanted to provide for his family. I think he's going to do the same."
"It says a lot about him, it says how determined he is to win. Once I became a champion I found it would become hard to keep guys on the canvas because of that determination. I am the man to beat. When you're a champion, every fight is a tough fight - I don't care what it is. These guys get tougher and tougher - no matter who they are, or what their record is. When people fight for titles it brings the best out of them. Molina is going to take as many as he can - but, keep in mind, the head is not meant to be hit in the first place! We don't know how many he's going to be able to take.