Anthony Joshua already eyeing up mega-fights in 2017 ahead of Eric Molina showdown

 
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Anthony Joshua v Eric Molina Press Conference
Looking ahead: Joshua says he is already preparing for fights down the road (Source: Getty)

World champion boxer Anthony Joshua is already preparing for tougher battles to come ahead of his second world title defence against American Eric Molina on Saturday.

With Joshua odds-on to extend his career record to 18 knockout wins when he takes on the 34-year-old in Manchester, the unbeaten IBF heavyweight champion is looking ahead to future assaults to his title from a competitive heavyweight division that he believes has recaptured the public's imagination.

If the 2012 Olympic champion fulfils his pre-fight promise to make Molina "look like a novice", a number of boxing stars could await in 2017 such as Ukrainian veteran Wladimir Klitschko and fellow Brit David Haye, both of whom will be ringside at the Manchester Arena.

Read more: Joshua - "In boxing it's so hard, even if I beat someone like Deontay Wilder they’ll say he’s s**t"

Unbeaten American Deontay Wilder, Rising Kiwi star Joseph Parker, fellow Brit Tyson Fury, Russian Alexander Povetkin and Matchroom stablemate Luis Ortiz are also considered serious challengers to Joshua's belt.

"It's bubbling," said Joshua. "We're bringing currency back to heavyweight boxing and we don't have to go anywhere. We're keeping it here and that's phenomenal.

"The word for me is we're bringing currency back to boxing, respect back to the division and everyone wants a piece of it right now.

"God willing I get past Eric [Molina], it's only going to get tougher. You can't sit back and enjoy your success. We train and prepare for five fights down the line."

Read more: Joseph Parker will come to the UK and knockout Anthony Joshua, David Haye, Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora in a single year, says promoter

Molina, who was knocked out in the ninth round in a world title fight with Wilder last year, doubts Joshua can match his former opponent's punching power.

"I want to test this man, I want to take him to the limit, I want to see what he's about," said Molina.

"I feel like Deontay Wilder is the hardest puncher in boxing. I want Anthony Joshua to prove me wrong."

Heavyweights Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora will fight for the British title on the undercard as will Ortiz and Dave Allen.

Birmingham super flyweight Kal Yafai takes on Luis Concepcion for the WBA title while Irish gold medallist Katie Taylor will make he second professional appearance against Swiss-Brazilian Viviane Obenauf.

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