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David Price: Anthony Joshua took easy option with Eric Molina fight

David Price says Anthony Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn opted for the easier fight by picking Eric Molina instead of him for December 10.

The IBF world heavyweight champion makes a second defence against Molina (25-3, 19 KOs) after the American was preferred to Joshua's fellow Briton Price (21-3, 18 KOs).

It is not the match up fight fans have been waiting for, but in the circumstances Hearn was limited for choice of opponents, with less than six weeks until the fight at the Manchester Arena.

Price told ESPN that he believes Texan Molina will not "come to win" after accepting the fight against Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs) at short notice.

"They've taken the safer option without a doubt," Price said. "I always thought that Joshua's team -- not Joshua himself -- think that Molina is a safer bet. It's less likely that something will go wrong.

"My selling point is the excitement I would bring. But Joshua's people began to realise there's a serious chance of him getting knocked out if he fought me.

"I thought I was going to get it at one point but, the longer it's gone on, the less likely it has become that I would get it.

"There's not going to be many champions picking me out as a voluntary defence and I think it's boiled down to his trainer [Tony Sims], and I can't blame him. Molina was the safer option.

"But the thing with Eric Molina is that I don't think he's going to come to win at all and that's the difference -- I would have come to win.

"Molina has fought for a world title and even in his best win against Tomasz Adamek he was very defensive, and almost journeyman like. He doesn't take many chances. If he sits on the ropes this fight will be over in a couple of rounds. If he fiddles about for a bit, it might go five rounds.

"It won't bring the same anticipation or excitement as fighting me would. A fight between me and Joshua wouldn't have gone the distance and it would have been a war while it lasted."

Wladimir Klitschko, the former champion whose nine-and-a-half reign was ended by Tyson Fury nearly a year ago, decided not to box Joshua on December 10 due to a calf injury and not enough time to promote a fight of that size.

That left Hearn searching for a new opponent for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist and considered Price as well as Molina.

If Joshua, 27, makes a successful second defence against Molina, Klitschko lies in wait for a clash that is being lined up for March or April and possibly at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

With such a big fight in the making, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Price believes he was too much of a risk but says fans will still tune in to see Joshua-Molina.

"With such a big fight around the corner, they didn't want to take any chances," Price said. "Joshua probably heard what I said and wanted to set the record straight because he's a fighter, but it's not down to him.

"Eric Molina was supposed to be my opponent on December 10, but now they are fighting him instead of me.

"It's part of the business. His options were limited. They would have slaughtered him if he fought me because I've been knocked out and Molina is going to get slaughtered. But everyone is tied up and the fans will probably still tune in and watch it. The outcry will subside.

"The shame for me not getting the Joshua fight is that it felt like this was the best chance for it to happen, unless I go and win another one of the titles and then we can fight. Once he beats Molina there are bigger fights for him and there will be mandatory defences."

Price, from Liverpool, said he is now waiting on news for an opponent, but still hoped to fight on the show in Manchester.

Molina, 34, is the third successive American Joshua has fought. In April, Joshua captured his first world title when he knocked out Charles Martin in two rounds before Dominic Breazeale lasted until the seventh round in June.

Molina was knocked out in the ninth round when he challenged fellow American Deontay Wilder for the WBC version of the world title last year.

He was also taken out in a round by fellow American Chris Arreola in February 2012, but has recently restored some confidence.

Molina knocked out Poland's former light-heavyweight and cruiserweight world champion Adamek in the tenth round in his last bout in April and afterwards said: "The ultimate goal is to become the first Mexican-American [world] heavyweight champion."