This Saturday night in a packed Manchester Arena, Anthony Joshua (18-0, 18 KO’s) did what most expected, and easily dispatched of Eric Molina (25-4, 19 KO’s) in three one sided rounds.
Molina, who was surprisingly competitive against WBC champ Deontay Wilder, was coming off of the best win of his career when he knocked out Tomansz Adamekin April of this year. A win for Joshua was expected, but it was going to be interesting to see how his performance would compare to that of Wilder.
Molina who came into the arena, and into the fight completely relaxed, and declaring the upset, quickly change his tune in the first round. Joshua came out slow and patient, cutting off the ring and almost instantly pushing Molina to a vulnerable defensive position against the ropes. Molina was so weary of Joshua’s power that he waited almost two minutes to even mount an offensive attack.
By the second round, not only was Joshua’s physical presence to much for Molina, his timing began to kick in as well. Any time Molina attempted to set something up with his jab, Joshua would instantly make him reconsider with a thudding counter right hand over the jab. As the round was ending, Joshua stuck out stiff jab that sent Molina retreating to the ropes again. As he retreated, Joshua threw a one-two which partially landed. As Molina attempted to escape laterally, Joshua swooped in with a thunderous left uppercut which dramatically snapped Molina’s head back.
The third round went the same as the first two, with Joshua applying the mental pressure, as he forced Molina to the ropes. Now though, Joshua seemed to look even more comfortable, as he really began to put his combination punches together.
Mid way through the third round, Joshua decided to put an end to the show. Joshua started the lethal onslaught with a throw away jab followed by the straight right and left hook that landed clean on Molina’s chin. Molina, in the corner, chose (ill-advisedly) to engage, and threw a jab followed by a wild looping right hand which Joshua easily blocked and countered with a left. As Molina retreated Joshua followed up with a right hand, left hook, and monstrous right hand which landed flush and sent Molina crashing to the canvas in terrible trouble.
Molina lay slouched in the corner, looking defeated. Only after hearing the pleading yells from his corner did he choose to get to his feet. Although he did make it to his feet, he clearly was done for the night, and it only took a couple of more seconds and punches for the fight to be stopped.
Again, we all know that Eric Molina is not an elite Heavyweight by any means, but this writer, and surely many others, will not be able to deny the fact that Anthony Joshua looks to be favorite against almost any big man out there. Molina did not just get knocked out, he was absolutely intimidated from the first bell, and was destroyed. Wilder was able to eventually knock out Molina, but did not come close to the all-around performance from Joshua. There is something really intimidating, and even scary about a man who who stands 6’6” tall and weighs 250 pounds, has muscles exploding out of his body, can maintain his athleticism, fluidity, and coordination, all while having possibly the biggest punch in boxing.
After the fight, it was announced that Wladimir Klitscho vs. Anthony Joshua will take place April 29 at Wembley Stadium. So the questions arise. Is Joshua ready for the veteran Klitscho? Is Klitscho, who’s long winning streak in the Heavyweight division was largely due to his significant size advantage over his opponents, going to be able to handle the physical presence and titan-like power of Joshua?
One thing is for sure, the Heavyweight division is back to life, and Joshua will have many opponents available to show whether he has the goods or not. If he gets past Klitscho, who wouldn’t want to see him in against Deontay Wilder? Luis Ortiz? Alexander Povetkin? Joseph Parker?