By Anthony Cocks
World rated super flyweight Andrew “The Monster” Moloney 16-0 (10) is excited.
The 27-year-old from Kingscliff on the New South Wales north coast is on the verge of achieving his lifelong goal.
“These are very exciting times for me and my team,” said Moloney, who is ranked number five in the world by the WBA, WBC and IBF, while the WBO has him installed at number 10.
“Knowing that my dream of becoming world champion is within reach gives me a real buzz and I’m extremely motivated for training every day.”
Last year marked the beginning of Moloney’s super flyweight campaign. After 13 pro bouts at bantamweight or above, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist moved down to 115-pound weight class and immediately began collecting hardware.
In August he claimed the vacant WBA Oceania title and the vacant OPBF Silver title with a fourth round TKO of Filipino Raymond Tabugon. October saw him defend his WBA regional title against Tanzania’s Hashimu Zuberi while annexing the vacant Commonwealth crown with another fourth round stoppage. And in February this year, he added world rated Rene Dacquel’s OPBF title to his collection while against defending his WBA Oceania strap with a unanimous decision win.
Each victory has kept him creeping up the world rankings until the belt-holders have now come into view.
The titleholder that he wants to get his hands on the most is WBA champion Khalid Yafai 23-0 (14) of England.
“The WBA is the path we are pushing for and I am very confident I can beat the current champion Kal Yafai,” he said. “Hopefully I can get my shot against him before the end of the year.”
Before that can happen, Moloney will have to get past former world title challenger Richard “Explosive” Claveras 18-3-2 (15) of the Philippines at the Malvern Town Hall in Melbourne on May 19.
“Claveras is a very good fighter, he has fought for a world title and has had 15 knockouts in his 18 wins so he obviously has good power in his punches. I will have to stay switched on for the whole fight and not get careless with my attack,” he said.
Like most Filipinos, Claveras likes to walk forward and throw a lot of power shots, even if he does get reckless in attack.
“Yes, he is pretty wild when letting his shots go and he will certainly come to fight,” Moloney agreed. “I am comfortable boxing on the back foot and the front foot so I will just go with what I feel is working on the night and listen to my coach Angelo Hyder’s instructions.”
The super flyweight division has become one of the most high-profile weight classes in the past 12 months largely due to the two “Super Fly” cards promoted by Tom Loeffler on the east coast of the USA. Suddenly, names like Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungviasai, Naoya Inoue, Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras, McWilliams Arroyo, Jerwin Ancajas and Kal Yafai are being talked about by fight fans, with fantasy match-ups discussed around watercoolers.
“It’s great that the lower weight divisions are starting to get some of the attention they deserve and it’s exciting to be in a division stacked with so many well-known names,” said Moloney.
“I look forward to competing against these guys in the future.”
If Moloney can get past Claveras next weekend, that future should be just around the corner.
GEORGE KAMBOSOS JR NEEDS JUST ONE ROUND TO DESTROY JOSE FORERO
Sydney lightweight George “Ferocious” Kambosos Jr 14-0 (8) needed just 108 seconds to dispatch Jose Forero 13-7-1 (11) in his United States debut at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut last Saturday night.
Headlining the DiBella Entertainment Broadway Boxing show, Kambosos used his hand-speed and precision punching to nail Forero with hooks, uppercuts and right hands, sending the outgunned Panamanian to the canvas twice before referee Mike Ortega mercifully stopped the contest at 1:48 of the opening round.
“I’ve been saying it the whole time – I’m going to make a big statement in America,” said Kambosos afterwards, who was having his first bout for his new promoter Lou DiBella.
"We’re here. Was that a big enough statement? This guy wasn’t supposed to go that early. He was supposed to be tough, he was supposed to go a few rounds.
"We took him out in half a round. It shows the power I possess.”
Kambosos believes that the highly-anticipated heavyweight unification clash between DiBella’s WBC champion Deontay Wilder and WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua will happen and that when it does, you will find him on the undercard.
"I’ve got a big fan-base in Australia, but we want to fight in America,” said the 24-year-old, who is ranked number 11 by the WBO in the 135-pound weight class.
“America is the Mecca of boxing, I’m signed to the biggest promoter in the world now (Lou DiBella) and this is the first step and I’m coming for all the top dogs in the lightweight division."
DAVID TOUSSAINT OUTCLASSES GUNNAR JACKSON IN CANBERRA
Talented middleweight “Diamond” Dave Toussaint 13-0 (8) was extended the distance for the first time in a home fight when New Zealand’s Gunnar Jackson 27-11-4 (14) lasted the full 10-round distance against the hard-hitting southpaw at the Hellenic Club in Woden, ACT last Friday night.
The 26-year-old former electrician, who was having his first bout since beating Liam Hutchinson by technical decision for the vacant Australian 160-pound title last September, had to work hard against the veteran Kiwi to get the win by scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
Toussaint told the Sydney Morning Herald that it was an important first step in achieving his career goals.
“I had a goal to get to the top 15 [in the world] this year and the fact that it could happen from this fight is going to be great,” said Toussaint, who won the vacant ANBF Australasian middleweight title with the win.
“It could even be top 10 by the end of the year, we’ll see. I have a goal to get to the top 15 this year and then top five next year and on the brink of a world title. We’ll see, one fight at a time and at the moment I am 13-0 so it’s good.”
The unbeaten Canberran started well but didn’t have it all his own way. In the second stanza the rugged Kiwi switched to southpaw and landed a power shot that rocked the local fighter.
"He came out at southpaw and that threw me a bit, but when he switched to southpaw he threw a big left power hand and that was it," said Toussaint. "I knew if he switched like that then he would do that, and that was what caught me early and I felt alright after that.
"Once you get to a certain level when a guy fights inside or outside, long or short, southpaw or orthodox, it’s the same sort of thing.”
Toussaint was able to regain control of the fight to box his way to a comprehensive points victory.
Jackson, 31, is one of the most experienced active boxers to hail from across the Tasman. He has shared the square circle with current WBA “regular” champion Ryota Murata 14-1 (11) and high profile Australian Anthony Mundine 48-8 (28) and has never been stopped.
Toussaint had a breakthrough performance against Shane Mosley Jr on the undercard of Jeff Horn’s WBO welterweight title winning effort against global superstar Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane last July, winning a split decision over eight heats.
Next up Toussaint will defend his national crown against Queenslander Jason Leuken 7-1 (3) back at the Hellenic Club in August.
DARRAGH FOLEY LOOKING TO INVADE THE WORLD BOXING SUPER SERIES
Sydney-based Irishman Darragh “Super” Foley 15-2 (8) is making his case for a wildcard entry into the next season of the World Boxing Super Series in the junior welterweight division.
The exciting 140-pounder, who is ranked number six by the WBA and number 15 by the WBO, surprised a lot of people in his last outing when he outboxed Canadian slickster Steven Wilcox 18-3-1 (5) at Sydney’s Star Casino in March.
Six names have already been confirmed by media outlets for the eight-man single-elimination tournament. These are WBA champion Kiryl Relikh 22-2 (19) of Bulgaria; former IBF champion Eduard Troyanovsky 27-1 (24) of Russia; unbeaten Swede Anthony Yigit 21-0-1 (7) and Ivan Baranchyk 18-0 (11) of Russia, who have been mandated to fight for the vacant IBF title; current interim WBC champion Regis Prograis 21-0 (18) of Houston, Texas; and Ryan Martin 22-0 (12) of Cleveland, Ohio, a former lightweight contender who moved up to junior welterweight earlier this year.
The 29-year-old Foley would make the perfect wildcard. A southpaw puncher who has the skills to get up on his toes and dance around the ring like Ali, he has the kind of versatile attack that would make him a dangerous opponent for all the other entrants.
Besides, you can’t have a “Super Series” without “Super”, can you?
AARON RUSSELL VALIANT IN DEFEAT TO OPBF CHAMP KYOTARO FUJIMOTO
Queensland cruiserweight Aaron Russell 11-5 (4) put on a strong display against Kyotaro Fujimoto 19-1 (11) at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan on Monday night despite eventually being stopped in seven rounds in a bout for the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific heavyweight titles.
Russell, 29, landed some good jabs and clubbing right hands in the early going, while the popular former K-1 heavyweight champion had success with body shots and two- and three-punch combinations.
The sustained body work of Fujimoto eventually slowed down the naturally smaller Aussie, who started his career at light heavyweight and was having his first bout as a heavyweight. Fujimoto continued to increase the pressure as the rounds progressed and after a big sixths round appeared to hurt the game Russell early in the seventh, promoting his corner to throw in the towel.
Russell was the sixth Australian the 31-year-old Japanese has faced in a row. The lone loss on Fujimoto’s ledger was to another Australian, Solomon Haumono, back in 2012 in just his sixth pro bout.