By Anthony Cocks
Undefeated super flyweight contender Andrew ‘The Monster’ Moloney 18-0 (11) has all but guaranteed himself a shot at WBA 115-pound world champion Khalid ‘Kal’ Yafai 24-0 (15) after a dominant TKO10 win over former world champion Luis ‘El Nica’ Concepcion 37-7 (26) on Saturday night.
Fighting in front of an estimated crowd of 1,200 people at the newly refurbished Bendigo Stadium in the regional town of Bendigo in central Victoria, Moloney put on a masterful performance to become just the second man to stopped the Panamanian veteran.
“We stuck to the gameplan perfectly,” said a jubilant Moloney, who was carried around the ring on the shoulders of his twin brother and bantamweight contender Jason after the victory. “We knew he was going to be a very tough man and that’s exactly what he was.”
Moloney outboxed Concepcion behind a high guard and stiff jab in the opening rounds, mixing in right hands, left rips and left hooks as the round progressed while the visitor opened the fight with wild right uppercuts that he continued to throw without effect throughout the bout.
In the third round Moloney began getting more aggressive, missing with a right uppercut but coming back over the top with a chopping right hand. A left-right connected to the jaw of Concepcion while another hard right cross pegged the former champion in his own corner late in the same frame.
Moloney opened up in the fourth, strafing Concepcion with a three-punch combination to the head. A left rip followed by a chopping right hand closed out the round.
The fifth round saw the 32-year-old Concepcion load up on the right hand as he desperately sought to turn the tide. Moloney backed him up, beating him to the punch and proving to be the stronger man on the inside as he dug in with body shots, right uppercuts and chopping right hands in close. It was Moloney’s most dominant round of the fight.
During the sixth round Moloney’s trainer Angelo Hyder urged his charge from the corner to take his time, perhaps conscious of the fact that he has been dropped when in similar positions of dominance in the past. Moloney, who was pouring on the pressure, heeded the call and shifted back a gear, attacking Concepcion’s body with double left hooks.
Moloney remained in control in the seventh and eighth as he conserved his energy for a big finish.
The ninth saw Moloney ramp up his activity as he looked the close the show. Concepcion, buoyed by his relative success in the previous round, landed a left hook on the inside to Moloney’s jaw, his best punch of the night.
In the tenth and final round Moloney came out hard, determined to finish off Concepcion within the distance. A four-punch combination to the chin of Concepcion early in the frame lets his intentions be known. Stalking his tough opponent around the ring Moloney held nothing back as he went in for the kill, targeting his attack on Concepcion’s head.
With Concepcion on the retreat Moloney backed him onto the ropes and unloaded two hard shots to the jaw. The reigning Commonwealth champion trapped Concepcion in his own corner, drilling home shot after shot to his chin without anything coming back in return.
Referee Ferlin Marsh decided he had seen enough and waved off the contest at 1:58 of the tenth and final stanza.
It was a complete performance from Moloney, who showed great versatility in attack and the ability to change-up mid-fight.
“I can box off the back foot or off the front foot,” said Moloney, the WBA number four ranked contender. “We knew Concepcion was going to come forward so we thought we’d box him and it worked perfectly.”
With the win over the WBA number five Moloney finds himself in the box seat to challenge Yafai for the WBA world championship, a title the 29-year-old from Birmingham won from Concepcion on points in late 2016.
Moloney’s career path has largely mirrored that of his brother’s, who also hold the Commonwealth championship as a pro. Jason Moloney will get his opportunity to fight for a world title when he takes on reigning IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez 18-0 (12) of Puerto Rican the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series at the CFE Arena in Orlando, Florida on October 20.
“Get behind my brother Jason who’s fighting for the world title next month,” said Moloney. “I’m not far behind him.”
Undefeated junior middleweight Tim Tszyu moved to 11-0 (9) with a first round stoppage of Marcos Jesus Cornejo 19-4 (18).
The 23-year-old son of Kostya Tszyu controlled the distance with his ramrod jab before drilling in a straight right hand that staggered Cornejo midway through the opening round.
Cornejo went into retreat mode but Tszyu cut the ring off well and caught the Argentinean in the red corner, unleashing a series of right uppercuts that saw the visitor sink into the ropes.
The 37-year-old Argentinean looked done but referee Jeffrey Eddy allowed the fight to continue. Tszyu banged in a left hook to the body and another right uppercut to the head, forcing the stoppage at 2:21 of the opening frame.
It was the second consecutive first-round stoppage for the accurate, hard-hitting Tszyu.
“He took four big shots, he was rattled,” said Tszyu after the fight, adding: “It’s the ref’s job to protect the fighters.”
Tszyu has kept up a busy schedule since turning pro in December 2016, fighting 11 times in four different Australian states and once in New Zealand, only appearing twice at the same venue once.
The Sydneysider is expected to fight once more this year with his team weighing up three potential opponents, with plans for Tszyu to extend his global footprint with fights in Russia and the USA next year.
In other results Bendigo local Damien Lock 3-4-1 (1) won a unanimous points decision over Joshua Butler 2-6 in a middleweight contest over six.
In a heavyweight slugfest Che St John 4-0 (1) scored a four round unanimous decision over Hayden Wright2-6 (2).
Super bantamweight Lorrinda Webb 1-0 (1) opened her pro account with a win, scoring a TKO4 over Nadya Nakhoir 0-5 of Indonesia in a four round bout over two-minute rounds.
At super featherweight Layton McFerran 2-1 (1) outpointed George Payne 2-1 (1) by unanimous decision over four rounds.
Featherweight Krystina Jacobs 1-0 outboxed Thailand’s Siriphon Chanbula 12-7-2 (5) over four two-minute rounds to win by unanimous decision.