Eric Molina (25-3, 19 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas who challenged undefeated WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder (37-0, 36 KOs) in June of last year at Birmingham,The prohibitive underdog, lost but had his moments, including staggering Wilder with a wicked shot in the third round.
This past April, Molina traveled to Poland and knocked out one of that country’s all-time great champions, Tomasz Adamek, in the 10th round.
And now comes next week Saturday(Dec 10) Molina will travel to Manchester, England, to challenge unbeaten IBF Heavyweight World Champion and hugely popular local favorite Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs).
Once again, he will enter the ring as a significant underdog. “A lot of heavyweights haven’t walked the streets that I’ve walked through,’’ Molina said.
“This is an evil sport. You lose, they write you off. It’s hard to bounce back like I have. Nothing has been given to me. I’ve earned it. I’ve done it the hard way. I enjoy the world underestimating me, but they don’t understand the struggles I’ve been through. “This is my second world title shot, my third major fight in 18 months, and I’ll be the first Mexican-American heavyweight champ in history if I win. I’m coming into this fight like this is it for me. This is my last shot. I’m ready to fight with everything I have. “I love these big, big fights. They don’t scare me. There is no fear in me.”
Here are Molina’s responses to a recent Q&A to foreign media
On his upcoming assignment against Joshua, “I feel great about this fight. These are the kinds of fights I want and want to be in. Before I fought Wilder I had 35 days to train; for this, I’ve had about five weeks. We feel this gives us plenty of time to fix what we have to fix in training.
“This is a mission I set out for to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. This is my mission. I’m looking forward to fighting Joshua and embracing the opportunity. I work very hard and put everything into it every day.
I want to be the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion. “The magnitude of this fight is everything. I put everything in. But I know I have to stay focused and relaxed.”
Ikujuni I. Samuel