9th December, 2016
Anthony Joshua has promised “blood, sweat and tears” in the defence of his IBF heavyweight title against Eric Molina in Manchester on Saturday.
Britain’s Joshua, 27, is making the second defence of the belt he won in April.
At Friday’s weigh-in, the champion scaled 17st 12lb, six pounds heavier than for his last fight, while his American challenger scaled 16st 13lb.
“People love the thud of punches and there will be a knockout,” said Joshua.
“People are saying I’m the favourite but I don’t see it like that. I take him as a real challenger. I’ve got to stay calm, wait for him to fatigue and then unload.”
Joshua has finished all 17 of his pro fights early.
Molina is widely expected to be merely a stepping stone for Joshua, with a match against former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko pencilled in for next April.
The Texan, 34, lost his first fight as a pro in 2007 but has been beaten only twice in 27 bouts since.
Anthony Joshua and Eric Molina head to head record
In 2012 he was knocked out in the first round by Chris Arreola, before lasting nine rounds with WBC champion Deontay Wilder. In his most recent fight in April, Molina caused an upset by beating Tomasz Adamek in Poland.
“This will be a heavyweight slug-fest but it’s a two-way street – he can hurt me and I can hurt him,” said Molina, who has 19 knockouts from 25 victories.
“The knockout could be quick, it could be slow – let’s see how it pans out.”
Also at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora weighed in separately for their heavyweight grudge match.
Chisora was fined £25,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control for throwing a table at a news conference and the fight’s British title status was removed.
Former world title challenger Chisora, 32, and British champion Whyte, 28, have been trading verbal blows for months and it was Chisora who had the final say, calling his rival a “donkey”.
Chief support to Joshua-Molina is former amateur sensation Katie Taylor, who has her second professional fight against Brazil’s Viviane Obenauf.
Birmingham’s Kal Yafai fights Luis Concepcion for the Panamanian’s WBA super-flyweight title, while Liverpool’s Callum Smith makes the first defence of his British super-middleweight title against Darwen’s Luke Blackledge.
Bury’s Scott Quigg, last seen losing a super-bantamweight world title unification match against Carl Frampton of Belfast in February, fights at featherweight for the first time, against Mexican Jose Cayetano.
Newcastle’s Hosea Burton defends his British light-heavyweight title against London’s Frank Buglioni, while Cuban heavyweight contender Luiz Ortiz is also in action.