Deontay Wilder defended his WBC heavyweight title for the first time on Saturday night with a ninth round stoppage win over Eric Molina in Birmingham, Alabama.
The 29 year-old was wobbled in the third round and looked laboured at times as questions about Wilder’s suspect chin reared their ugly head once more. Rumours that Wilder had been rocked in sparring were maybe substantiated somewhat as Molina clocked him with a right hand on the back of two dominant rounds for the champion.
Following the scare, which seemed to be a wake-up call for the American, Wilder then took control and had Molina down three times in the next two sessions. Molina managed to make it through what was a desperate period and stayed on his feet for three more rounds until Wilder landed a huge shot in the ninth and referee Jack Reiss didn’t feel any need to count.
Molina had a go as promised, although the stark reality is that the Mexican should have been another of Wilder’s four-round victims and probably wouldn’t have made it as far as he did with the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua.
It’s Povetkin up next for Wilder following the Russian’s crushing win over Mike Perez earlier this year and ‘The Bronze Bomber’ will have to up his game considerably if he is to retain the title against his mandatory challenger.