Anthony Joshua to defend his IBF world heavyweight title against Eric Molina in Manchester on December 10

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Eric Molina became an early contender for the fight after Anthony Joshua’s proposed bout against Wladimir Klitschko was scrapped last month.

Now it has been confirmed that Joshua, who took the heavyweight crown by defeating Charles Martin in two rounds seven months ago, will defend the belt for a second time when he faces Molina.

In June, Joshua passed his first test as world champion by stopping Dominic Breazeale in the seventh round at the O2 in London.

American Molina suffered a ninth-round stoppage defeat to WBC champion Deontay Wilder last summer, but he is in positive form having knocked out Tomasz Adamek in the IBF Inter-Continental bout in April.

“I am pleased that everything is now set for December 10 and I can concentrate on getting the business done in the ring,” said Joshua. “There has been plenty of talk about who I may face but all I’m doing is concentrating on finishing Molina in style and putting on a great show.

“Every fight is dangerous in this division and this is no exception. I saw Molina have a great fight with Wilder and he is now coming off a strong KO win against Adamek in Poland. I’m expecting this to be the toughest fight of my career so far and I will be ready for an all-out war.”

“There is no heavyweight in the world that has bounced back like I have,” said Molina. “That’s the man that Joshua faces on December 10 and that man is a very dangerous one. He’ll fight the toughest Molina that anybody has ever seen, just like Adamek fought the toughest Molina.

“I’m confident. These type of fights don’t shake me up, I’m a very strong mental fighter. I know exactly what I’ve got to do to prepare myself in the amount of time. I know exactly what I’ve got to do, mentally, physically, to go there and perform.

“When you walk out into the atmosphere, half the battle is the mental battle, and if you can stay in the moment mentally you have a shot in any fight.”

Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora will go toe to toe on the undercard in an official eliminator for the WBC title.

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