Anthony Joshua: IBF heavyweight champion to fight Eric Molina on 10 December

Anthony Joshua
Joshua defended his IBF heavyweight title for the first time with a seventh-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale in London in June

Britain's IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will defend his title against Eric Molina in Manchester on 10 December.

Joshua, unbeaten in 17 fights, was close to agreeing a bout with Wladimir Klitschko but the deal fell through.

Promoter Eddie Hearn blamed confusion over whether the WBA title vacated by Tyson Fury would be on the line.

American Molina, 34, lost his only previous world title shot against WBC world champion Deontay Wilder in 2015.

On the undercard, Dillian Whyte will defend his British heavyweight title against Dereck Chisora in an official eliminator for the WBC title.

Scott Quigg returns after breaking his jaw in a defeat by Carl Frampton in which he lost the WBA super-bantamweight title. The Briton's opponent is still to be confirmed.

And Ireland's London 2012 gold medallist Katie Taylor, who makes her professional debut on 26 November, will contest what will be her second professional bout.

Joshua, 27, defended his IBF heavyweight title for the first time with a seventh-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale in London in June.

"I'm expecting this to be the toughest fight of my career so far and I will be ready for an all-out war," he said.

"I saw Molina have a great fight with Wilder and he is now coming off a strong knockout win against Tomasz Adamek in Poland."

Former world champion Klitschko has said he wants to fight Joshua in "March or April".

The planned December bout fell through because the fighters "ran out of time", the Ukrainian's manager Bernd Boente has said.

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Anthony Joshua plays 'Would you rather?'

The WBA is yet to state whether its vacant title would be on the line.

Fury has vacated the WBA and WBO titles he won by beating Klitschko in November 2015 to deal with his "medical treatment and recovery".

The Briton, 28, has admitted taking cocaine to deal with depression.

Joshua won the IBF belt by beating Charles Martin in April, a few months after Fury was stripped of the title for choosing to face Klitschko in a rematch over the IBF's mandatory challenger.

Two attempts to stage a rematch collapsed because Fury suffered an ankle injury and was then declared "medically unfit".


BBC Radio 5 live boxing correspondent Mike Costello

It's a comedown from Wladimir Klitschko for Anthony Joshua and fans alike but Eric Molina does rank as the Briton's highest-rated opponent yet.

The 34-year-old Texan failed in a world title bout last year when he was beaten in nine rounds by Deontay Wilder.

Molina showed commendable bravery that night but he appears devoid of any notion of how to avoid a punch and relies heavily on his resilience.

He is promoted by Don King, the man connected to Muhammad Ali, Joe Fraser and George Foreman all those years ago, but who, at 85, now belongs on the periphery of the glamour division.

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