By Elliot Foster (@FreelanceFoz)
Deontay Wilder retained his world title at home.
The 29-year-old Alabama heavyweight advanced to 34-0 (33) with a stoppage win in his first defence at the Bartow Arena in Birmingham.
Wilder, who won the title with a 12-round decision against Bermane Stiverne in January, knocked out game challenger Eric Molina inside nine rounds.
After being rattled with a left-hook in the third round normal service resumed for Wilder, nicknamed ‘The Bronze Bomber’, as he had 33-year-old Texan Molina, who drops to 23-3 (17) in defeat, down three times in two rounds –– in rounds four and five.
The two knockdowns in round five came with a right to the head and later in the round with a barrage that included a punishing right uppercut and a sickening right hook to to the body.
“This is what it’s all about,” said Wilder post-fight. “This is the first of many title fights in Alabama.”
“I definitely was surprised [about Molina]. 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.”by