Fights, fighters, and information, Aussie boxing by Anthony Cocks
World-rated bantamweight Jason ‘The Smooth One’ Moloney 18-1 (15) insists a late change of opponent won’t derail his plans on Saturday night.
The 28-year-old was originally scheduled to face tough Mexican Cesar Ramirez but will now square off against Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema 23-4 (13) over 10 rounds at Seagulls Stadium in Tweed Heads, NSW.
“Training camp has gone perfectly for this fight with Angelo [Hyder] and the team,” said Moloney, who recently signed a promotional deal with Top Rank alongside his twin brother Andrew.
“I always prepare correctly no matter the circumstances. It’s what being a professional is about; plan for every circumstance.
“These things happen but thank you to my manager Tony Tolj, who has put in many sleepless nights in getting me a replacement who is going to come to test me.
“You can never overlook any fighter. Look what happened with Anthony Joshua last week. I can’t let slip-ups like that happen to me.”
The Mrema fight will be the second outing for Moloney since his split decision loss to then-IBF 122-pound champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) last October.
With the final of the WBSS bantamweight tournament set to be contested between Japanese powerhouse Naoya Inoue and Filipino-American veteran Nonito Donaire, Moloney gave his assessment of the fight.
“I think Inoue will win, but it’s a great fight. I wish I could have had the opportunity to fight Inoue as I feel I beat Rodriguez but that is in the past,” said Moloney, who is ranked number three by both the WBC and the WBA.
“I want world titles this year so for me a fight with the WBA number one [Liborio] Solis for the world title is one that I would love. There is talk of [Guillermo] Rigondeaux fighting at bantamweight too and if I had to fight him, I would do it happily.”
On the same card this weekend undefeated super flyweight contender Andrew ‘The Monster’ Moloney 19-0 (12) will be looking to upstage his twin brother when he defends his WBA Oceania 115-pound strap against Tanzania’s Selemani Bangaiza 15-5 (5) in a scheduled 10-round bout.
The WBA number two and WBC number three contender was originally slated to face Ruben Montoya 14-5-1 (9) of Mexico over 10 frames.
“You can never underestimate a late replacement,” said Moloney. “Look what has just happened to Anthony Joshua. I am sat at number two in the world. I have a lot to lose and I need to be on form to make sure that does not happen.”
Moloney is on the cusp of a world title clash against WBA super flyweight champion Khalid ‘Kal’ Yafai 25-0 (15) after destroying former world number two Miguel Gonzalez with a highlight reel eighth-round knockout in Chile in March.
England’s Yafai, 30, will defend his world championship against mandatory contender Norbelto Jimenez at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on June 29.
“I’m not looking past Saturday night, but as people know I’m on the verge of becoming mandatory for Kal Yafai and that’s the fight I want,” said Moloney. “If not [Yafai], another world champion. I just want to be a world champion and I believe I will become one in 2019.”
Last month the Moloney twins announced they had signed with American promotional powerhouse Top Rank. Promoter Bob Arum joins manager Tony Tolj and trainer Angelo Hyder as the triumvirate guiding Andrew and Jason’s careers.
“My mindset is always business first. I prepare like a professional and I intend on putting on an explosive display on Saturday night and show why I believe I’m the best 115-pounder in the world,” said Moloney, who believes he has improved more in this training camp than any other in his career.
“It’s a dream to be signed to Top Rank and it reiterates why I have to be on fire this weekend. This could be my last fight in Australia for a long time and if it is, I want to make sure it’s a performance people remember.”
In other quality matchups super middleweight ‘Cap’n’ Kerry Foley 19-4-1 (16) meets New Zealand’s Mose Auimatagi Jr 12-1-2 (8) over 10 rounds and ‘President’ Reagan Dessaix 16-2 (11) clashes with Mitchell Whitelaw 5-1-1 (2) for the vacant Australian light heavyweight title, also over 10.
LIAM PARO PASSES FATIH KELES TEST ON ACE BOXING PROMOTION’S 5-STAR CARD
WBO number three junior welterweight Liam ‘The Prodigy’ Paro 17-0 (11) scored a career-best win with a 10-round unanimous decision in over Fatih Keles 11-1-1 (6) in a fight for the vacant IBF International title at The Star on the Gold Coast in Queensland on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old southpaw had his hands full at times against the Germany-based Turk, a veteran of more than 400 amateur fights and a London Olympian, but under the guidance of coach Alfie Di Carlo made the adjustments required to get the win.
When the dust settled after 10 rounds judge Derek Milham scored the bout 97-93, judge Adam Height had it 100-90, while judge Phillip Holiday turned in a card of 99-91.
Paro is targeting a shot at WBO 140-pound champion Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker 26-0-3 (17), who is scheduled to unify with WBC boss Jose Carlos Ramirez 24-0 (16) at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas on July 27.
“That fight against Keles was exactly the fight I needed to show what I can do,” Paro said. “Beating him has given me a huge boost – I’m ready for a world title shot.”
Trainer and manager Alfie Di Carlo was glowing in his praise for Paro.
“During the course of the fight Liam was required to dig to a place he hadn’t needed to in his previous bouts,” he said.
“It was necessary for him to be smart in his approaches to overcome the willingness and power of the Turk.
“I believe that he matured during that fight and he came out the other side a winner and better for the experience.
“We could have easily chosen an easier opponent but as a team we want hard fights and this world rated opponent was the perfect choice.
“That fight showed that Liam is ready, so that when he gets his shot at the world title he will not be overwhelmed.
Promoter Angelo Di Carlo expects Paro to go to No. 2 in the world rankings.
“Then we’ll chase the number one spot and with that the mandatory title shot," Di Carlo said. “Liam showed that he has the skills, chin and heart to win a world title.
“These types of fights are what prepare you for the big time.”
Also on the card Australian lightweight champion Jacob ‘The Flamingo’ Ng 11-0 (8) claimed the vacant IBF International belt with a comprehensive 10-rounds points victory over rugged Mexican Ricardo Lara 19-6 (9).
Judge Derek Milham had it a shutout 100-90, while judges Adam Height and Phillip Holiday were in step, both scoring the bout 99-91.
Australian cruiserweight champion Ben Kelleher 12-1-2 (4) turned back the challenge of American Patrick Ferguson 14-2-1 (11) to pick up the vacant IBF Pan Pacific title by unanimous decision after 10 frames.
Judges Derek Milham and Adam Height both saw the fight 97-93, while judge Phillip Holiday had it slightly closer at 96-94.
In an upset, reigning Australian welterweight champion Tysinn Best 10-1 (3) suffered his first professional loss when he was knocked out by South Korean In Duck Seo 12-1-2 (7) in the opening round on their eight-round bout.
The pair traded bombs until a momentarily lapse of concentration left Best open late in the first round. Seo took advantage quickly and efficiently, walking away with the win at 2:58 of the opening frame.
Australian heavyweight champion Demsey ‘Tower of Terror’ McKean 15-0 (9) scored another highlight-reel KO with his second-round stoppage of late-sub Dominik Musil 3-3 (2) in their eight-round bout.
The 28-year-old southpaw made is six knockouts in a row when he landed a flush left hand to the chin of Musil that left the Czech visitor out cold on his back. Official time of the stoppage was 2:19.
DEEDEE HOBBS JUMPS UP TWO DIVISIONS TO TAKE WBO CHAMPION CHRISTINA LINARDATOU THE DISTANCE
Brisbane brawler Deedee ‘The Silencer’ Hobbs 8-1 (5) extended WBO junior welterweight champion Christina Linardatou 12-1 (6) the full 10-round distance only to come up short on the scorecards in their world championship fight at Olympic Hall Galatsi in Athens, Greece on Friday night.
Hobbs, who moved up two weight classes to take the fight, started slowly but worked her way into the fight as the rounds progressed. By the fourth round she was landing effectively with the jab and digging to the body downstairs, but Linardatou wrested back control in the fifth.
The champion displayed good lateral movement and consistently came forward on the challenger, who seemed content to pick her spots and fight in spurts. Late in the seventh round Hobbs landed a cracking three-punch combination, but it was Linardatou who controlled the action up until that point.
The pair traded punches to start the ninth until Linardatou stunned Hobbs with what appeared to be a rabbit punch that sent the Australian back on her heels. The 31-year-old champion from Greece by way of the Dominican Republic teed off on the dazed challenger, who showed grit to survive the round.
Fighting largely on instinct and heart, Hobbs was the aggressor in the final round as Linardatou boxed from the outside looking to protect her lead.
After the final bell the scores were 97-93, 97-92 and 97-94, all for Linardatou.
Coach Russell Finn was disappointed with the result but promised Team Hobbs would only come back stronger from the experience.
“Deedee’s first loss and I couldn’t be any prouder than I am right now,” he said on social media. “No excuses, she fought the worst I have ever seen her fight and still took the world champion all the way. A huge learning curve for us both.”
Hobbs’ promoter Paul Keegan of DDP Sports echoed the sentiment.
“Couldn’t be prouder of our girl,” Keegan said. “She is absolutely devastated and hurting right now. She moved up weight, flew to the other side of the world and took the world champion 10 rounds, all for a shot at glory.
“This defeat will be the makings of Deedee Hobbs, mark my words.”
GEORGE KAMBOSOS JR OUTCLASSES RICHARD PENA, CALLS OUT JOSE PEDRAZA
Lightweight contender ‘Ferocious’ George Kambosos Jr 17-0 (10) made short work Richard Pena 11-3-1 (9) on the undercard of the Christina Linardatou versus Deedee Hobbs world title fight at Olympic Hall Galatsi in Athens, Greece on Friday night.
The 25-year-old Greek-Australian outclassed Pena at every step, dropping the 19-year-old Venezuelan in the fourth round before his pressure forced the referee step in to stop the contest at 1:36 of the sixth round of their scheduled 10-round bout.
"I fought a very smart, patient and explosive fight against a very tough young fighter who had an opportunity of a lifetime. Pena is a good young fighter who made a great account of himself with his long and awkward frame,” said the IBF number five and WBO number nine lightweight.
Kambosos, a third-generation Australian, was pleased to box in the country his paternal grandfather emigrated from.
"I am a proud Greek and a proud Australian. Fighting in Athens, Greece, was an amazing experience," said Kambosos, who is promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
"This was another step toward a world title. My next fight will be in America. Jose Pedraza, I’m coming for you."
APRIL ADAMS SET TO CHALLENGE WBO SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION DINA THORSLUND IN DENMARK ON JUNE 22
Super bantamweight contender April ‘Armageddon’ Adams 11-1-1 (4) will travel to Denmark to challenge WBO 122-pound ruler Dina Thorslund 13-0 (6) at the Forum in Horsens on June 22.
The 31-year-old Queenslander is hoping her famous compatriot Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will be ringside to witness her snatching the crown from Thorslund.
“It would be absolutely amazing if Princess Mary could attend the event. I understand she has many obligations, but my team and I would feel very privileged to have her ringside,” said Adams.
“It would be an honour to be able to perform in front of Princess Mary, not only because she is royalty, but because she is a fellow Australian.
“Aussies love their sport and I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of people reaching out. It’s comforting to have people and local businesses wanting to help you and want to see you succeed. I’m so thankful for the support I’m receiving so far.
“Bringing the belt home isn’t just about winning a world title. It’s about giving back to all the people that have helped me on this journey: my sponsors, supporters and especially my team. I want to put Australia back on the world boxing stage.”
Thorslund, 25, will be making the second defence of the WBO super bantamweight title she won by shutout against tough Mexican Jessica Arreguin Munoz in August last year.
ZAC DUNN TO FACE RAFAEL SOSA PINTOS THIS FRIDAY NIGHT
WBO number seven super middleweight Zac ‘Dynamo’ Dunn 28-1 (23) tackles well-travelled Uruguayan Rafael Sosa Pintos 58-14 (23) at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington, Victoria this Friday night.
Dunn, who will be defending his WBA Oceania title in the 10-round bout, said he has had a great training camp for this fight.
“It has been great having Gunnar Jackson here for sparring leading up to my next fight on June 14th at the Melbourne Pavilion,” said the 28-year-old, who is coming off an early stoppage of previously undefeated German Patrick Rokohl two months ago.
“After the second-round finish in April we went straight into camp after my last fight to keep the momentum going, feeling good.”
The 45-fight Kiwi veteran agreed.
"It’s been pretty intense training," said Jackson.
The Dunn vs Pintos fight will be featured as part of the annual Frank Bianco Cup, an eight-man last man standing heavyweight tournament.