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Andrew Moloney shakes off disappointing loss to Joshua Franco, plots path back to world title shot

Andrew Moloney looks to the future, targets Kazuto Ioka

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Moloney 2021
Moloney 2021

World-rated super flyweight Andrew ‘The Monster’ Moloney 21-2 (14) 1NC is already plotting his path back to a world title shot following the disappointment of his unanimous decision loss to Joshua ‘El Profesor’ Franco 18-1-2 (8) 1NC in their trilogy fight in Las Vegas last month.


Moloney, 30, returned home to Australia to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine where he re-watched the Franco fight multiple times and considered his future.


“I was thinking about it the next day, where I go from here,” Moloney said. “The quickest route back to the world title is where I want to be at. [Manager] Tony Tolj has been speaking with Top Rank and we definitely want to get another fight this year.


“I’ve only had the one fight this year and that’s not enough for my liking. I want to get back in again and obviously get a win and get myself back up the ratings and get myself another shot at a world title as soon as possible.”


Moloney was a particularly interested observer in the WBO super flyweight title defence of Kazuto Ioka 27-2 (15) against challenger Francisco Rodriguez Jr 34-5-1 (24) at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan last Wednesday night.


The plan is for a regional title fight later this year to earn Moloney a place in the WBO rankings with a view to securing a shot at Ioka.


One option for his next fight could be big-punching Japanese southpaw Ryoji Fukunaga 14-4 (14) who holds the WBO Asia-Pacific title and is ranked number 11 by the Puerto Rican-based sanctioning body.


The 35-year-old is on a four-fight win streak and has headlined cards in his last three bouts at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

Regardless of the opponent, it seems likely Moloney will have his first fight on home soil in almost two years.

“We’ve been looking around and at possible shows we can fight on or where we can do them this year,” Moloney said.


“America is still an option but Australia is probably looking more likely at this stage. We really want to put a good win on the board before the year finishes and preferably get a WBO belt on the line and work the way up their rankings because I think Ioka is the champion that will present the fastest route back.


“He is a guy I would love to fight… I just want to get myself in the position to do that as soon as possible.


“If I can have a good win hopefully with a WBO regional belt on the line, get myself as high as possible on those ratings, then that is the route we want to go down to track that world title as soon as possible.”


Japan’s Ioka, 32, had a tougher than expected time against Mexican Rodriguez Jr last week, eventually winning by scores of 116-112 after a bout filled with close rounds.


That victory came after his impressive eighth-round stoppage of young gun Kosei Tanaka 15-1 (9) on New Year’s Eve.


Moloney holds Ioka – a natural counterpuncher – in high regard but says he sees the multiple weight division champion as beatable.


“I’ve watched him quite a lot and he is a great fighter, no doubt,” he said. “He’s a four-division world champion and a very good fighter. But they are the type of fights I want to be in and watching him, even though he is a great fighter, his style would suit me quite well.


“He’s an orthodox fighter who fights pretty sort of textbook, nothing out of the ordinary too much. It is a fight I am confident I can win.”


The 115-pound division is stacked with talent. WBC and WBA champion Juan Francisco Estrada 42-3 (28) is set to face Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez 50-3 (41) for a third time next month with the winner obligated to face former world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai 55-4-1 (43) providing the teak-tough Thai gets past Carlos Cuadras 39-4-1 (27).


Meanwhile, WBA ‘regular’ titleholder Franco will be next in line to face whoever comes out on top between that trio.


“The other champions also being a little bit tied up in the WBA and WBC, I think this is probably the fastest route back to a shot at the world title,” Moloney said of Ioka.


“It’s obviously a fight I think I can win and a fighter I would like to share the ring with too. It would be a huge milestone and something I would be very proud of, so it’s something we’re going to go for.


“The WBC have mandated the winner of Chocolatito-Estrada will need to face the winner of Rungvisai-Cuadras and then the WBA has mandated that Franco fights the winner so they are all going to be a bit tied up for a while I think.


“And with [IBF champion Jerwin] Ancajas with PBC now – I guess that could possibly be an option, but they usually like to do things in-house so I don’t know how that would go, so we will go down the WBO route.


“Looking at Ioka, his style is pretty sort of basic and it’s definitely a fight I think I can win. He’s pretty textbook, nothing really out of the ordinary, so he should be easy to prepare for and that’s the sort of style I feel very comfortable with too.”



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