Deontay Wilder knocked Eric Molina out after nine rounds in Alabama
Last Updated: 14/06/15 3:57pm
Deontay Wilder knocked Eric Molina out after nine rounds in Alabama to retain the WBC world heavyweight championship in his first title defence.
Texan Molina had already been knocked down on three occasions but managed to get up every time before Wilder delivered the final big blow with 1:03 left in the ninth.
Wilder, 29, was defending the belt he won from Bermane Stiverne in January in what was the first-ever world championship fight in his home state of Alabama.
Molina, who rattled the champ with a left hook in the third round, was knocked down by a left hook late in the fourth that sent him sprawling into the ropes.
He survived the count from Reiss and was lucky it came so close to the bell.
But Wilder sent him down again early in the fifth with a right to the head, and later in the round with a barrage that included a punishing right uppercut and a right to the body.
And in the sixth, underdog Molina seemed to have found a second wind, pressing forward despite absorbing another hard left hook.
He was hurt again in the seventh, but got in some effective work to Wilder's body in the seventh and eighth before the champion found the punch to end it in some style.
"This is what it's all about," he said. "This is the first of many title fights in Alabama."
On Molina, he added: "To be honest, I definitely was surprised. It does my heart so good even standing in front of him right now and say this guy has heart.
"All the critics doubted him, all the naysayers said he wouldn't last but I'm so proud of him.
"He has my support from this point on because this is the first ever title defence in any weight division in the state of Alabama.
"What I needed was a tough guy, I needed a guy that had heart, I needed a guy that was going to get dropped but come back up and still fight. I needed that. And Eric Molina, I got that out of him."