Anthony Joshua has reiterated his focus is on beating upcoming challenger Eric Molina, who he believes will “up his level” in pursuit of the world heavyweight title.
Joshua is putting his IBF belt on the line in Manchester on December 10, live on Sportsclubsociety Box Office, against Molina after protracted negotiations to fight Wladimir Klitschko fell through.
The champion has insisted that American veteran Molina was the most difficult possible opponent after Klitschko was no longer an option.
Everyone ups their levels by 50-60 percent. The people I’ve seen time and time again are not the people I am going to face.
“When I look at it, I thought he was the toughest out of the few so that’s a good challenge for myself,” Joshua said.
“That’s the one I have to focus on. I always knew I was going to have someone who was game.
“We’re competing for a championship belt so everyone ups their levels by 50-60 per cent. The people I’ve seen time and time again are not the people I am going to face.
“So I have to put Klitschko or David Price or whoever was in the pecking order aside, and focus on what is in front of me.”
Molina’s only other world title shot came against WBC champion Deontay Wilder last year, when he gained credit for overcoming three knock-downs before an eventual defeat.
“That’s why he’s here now,” Joshua said. “Wilder is supposed to be known as a one-punch knockout artist, and [Molina] stood up to a lot of his punches. It shows that this man is here to push the champions to their limit.”
Molina responded: “The Wilder fight… I don’t know if Anthony knows that I fought five rounds with a busted ankle. Everything you saw in that fight was done on one ankle.
“I’ve been in with Wilder – nobody wants to get in with Wilder – and I’m going in with [Joshua]. You’re looking at somebody who’s willing. He’s got something that I want.
“I’ve been in these fights before, you know what I mean? I have no amateur experience but I’m learning on the job. Look at the job I’ve been doing, and it’s been getting better in every fight.
“I’ll fight with everything I’ve got – if I’m hurt, if I’m conscious, I’m coming to fight. I can win the fight with one punch at any given moment.”
Watch Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina on December 10, live on Sportsclubsociety Box Office.