Anthony Joshua has predicted "all out war" in his upcoming IBF world heavyweight title defence against American Eric Molina.
The 34-year-old Molina, who has won 25 of 28 his career bouts, was unveiled as Joshua's opponent for his December 10 date at the Manchester Arena after hopes for a meeting with boxing icon Wladimir Klitschko were scotched when the Ukrainian decided not to fight again this year.
With any contest against Klitschko postponed until next year, Joshua said he was relieved to have finally set up an opponent for his first fight since June on a card which will also pit London fighters Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora against each other for the British title, and Irish fighter Katie Taylor in her second fight since turning pro with Matchroom last month.
"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 fae but all I'm doing is concentrating on finishing Molina in style and putting on a great show.
"I'm expecting this to be the toughest fight of my career so far and I will be ready for an all-out war."
Ranked No8 in the world by the IBF, Molina notably took fellow countryman Deontay Wilder into the ninth round of a WBC world title fight before being knocked out last year.
The Texan has won his two bouts since, knocking out Tomasz Adamek in Krakow in his most recent outing last April.
"The heavyweight division has been tuned on its head in the last few months and while many are standing still waiting, I'm delighted to get this huge card up and running in Manchester," said Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn.
"I have spoken to Eric Molina at length and I know this is going to be a big test for Anthony. We saw in the Wilder fight that he can punch and doesn't give in and is coming off a strong knockout win against Adamek in his back yard in Poland."