Deontay Wilder may be fighting 'who' next?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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According to BoxingNews24, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (33-0, 32 KO) may make his first title defense on June 20 against Eric Molina (23-2, 17 KO). 


Fans might remember when Molina faced Chris Arreola in a very short but explosive WBC eliminator on Showtime in 2012. In the opening round, Molina rocked Arreola with a clean overhand right but could not close the deal as Arreola's superior experience enabled him to weather the storm and violently knockout his foe moments later.

"Texas has every reason to be proud of Molina tonight," professed Chris Arreola afterwards.

"He is a very tough fighter who has a lot of power. He caught me with an overhand right that woke me up."

Since then, Molina has reeled off five wins in a row and KO'd his last three opponents.

2015-01-17 TKO 8 Raphael Zumbano Love (35-8-1)
2014-08-02 TKO 3 Theo Kruger (10-12-2)
2014-05-10 TKO 5 DaVarryl Williamson (27-7-0)
2013-04-27 UD 12 Tony Grano (20-2-1)
2012-06-16 UD 6 Andrew Greeley (14-39-3)

Why Molina?
For starters, as the new WBC champ, Deontay Wilder is likely to exercise his voluntary defense option and Molina is an opponent he matches up well with. Moreover, why should he take a big risk early on when much bigger, more lucrative high-profile bouts with Wladimir Klitschko, Tyson Fury and/or David Haye may be on the horizon?

History shows new heavyweight champions tend to engage in at least one low-risk voluntary within their first two title defenses, sometimes opting to face a former world champion who is deemed a relatively safe opponent.

First Title Defenses
(New Champion/Opponent)

  • Pinklon Thomas / TKO 8 Mike Weaver
  • Evander Holyfield (first reign) / UD 12 George Foreman
  • Riddick Bowe / TKO 1 Michael Dokes
  • Michael Moorer / KO 10 by George Foreman
  • Oliver McCall / UD 12 Larry Holmes

But Molina is not a former champion and is several notches below the above mentions, skills-wise and in level of popularity.

Given Shannon Briggs is a well-known former champion who has been generating a lot of buzz lately, he would be a far more attractive option than Molina. 

Perhaps Team Wilder deems Briggs too risky?

Eric Molina stats & facts

WBC rank - 12
KO Pct: 68
Height/Reach: 6'4"/193cm | 79"/201cm
Age: 33
Debut: Was KO'd in one in his March 2007 pro debut before winning 18 in a row

Arreola vs Molina Round 1 below


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