Joshua stops Molina in 3rd round, retains heavyweight belt

By STEVE DOUGLAS - AP Sports Writer ,

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Britain's IBF Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua fights American Eric Molina in Manchester, England Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

Britain's IBF Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua fights American Eric Molina in Manchester, England Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. (Photo: Dave Thompson)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Anthony Joshua beat Eric Molina in a third-round stoppage to retain the IBF world heavyweight title on Saturday, clearing the unbeaten British boxer's path to fight Wladimir Klitschko early next year.

Joshua knocked down the American midway through the second round before unleashing a barrage of punches that forced the referee to step in and end the one-sided fight.

Joshua has won all 18 of his fights since turning professional after winning an Olympic gold medal at the London Games in 2012.

The WBA has already sanctioned a fight between Joshua and Klitschko for the spring.

This was Joshua's second defense of the IBF belt he won in April.

Molina has lost both his shots at a world title, having also been knocked out by WBC champion Deontay Wilder last year.

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