Moloney brothers look to the future
By Anthony Cocks
It wasn’t the US debut he wanted, but Australian super flyweight Andrew ‘The Barber’ Moloney 21-1 (14) will get the opportunity to reclaim the WBA ‘regular’ title from conqueror Joshua ‘The Professor’ Franco 17-1-2 (8) later this year.
The 29-year-old was upset by Franco at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 23 after suffering two perforated ear drums.
Moloney started well but Franco, 24, came on in the middle rounds and finished the fight strongly, even dropping the champion in the 11th to win a close unanimous decision.
The loss doesn’t sit well with Moloney, who has exercised his right to an immediate rematch.
“I’m extremely excited to announce that I will be having a rematch with Joshua Franco,” said Moloney.
“I want to say a huge thanks to Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing for giving me this opportunity.
“I’m in hotel quarantine now and counting down the days until I can see my family, who I’ve missed like crazy.
“I can’t wait to get back to America and fight on the big stage again soon. I’m now more motivated than ever to get my world title back.
“I worked my whole life to get that world title and I’m now hungrier than ever to get it back.”
Moloney started well against Franco, sweeping the first four rounds with his crisper blows before Franco’s volume punching brought him back into the fight.
“It just wasn’t my night tonight," Moloney said at the time.
"This was not the best version of Andrew Moloney, but full credit to Joshua Franco. He deserved to win the title with his effort. He closed the fight strong, like a true champion.
“I’ll be back. One loss won’t define me.”
Meanwhile, Andrew’s twin brother Jason ‘Mayhem’ Moloney 21-1 (18) could be rewarded with a shot at WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero 29-4 (20) following his seventh-round stoppage of tough Mexican Leonardo Baez 18-3 (9) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 25.
The fight is being considered for the undercard of the lightweight unification fight between WBC, WBA and WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-1 (10) and IBF counterpart Teofimo Lopez 15-0 (12) on September 20.
Moloney dominated Baez in his Top Rank debut at the same venue where his brother lost two days earlier.
“There is a potential that Top Rank look to put Jason Moloney in either against John Riel Casimero or someone else on the Lomachenko-Lopez undercard in America in September,” Australian broadcaster Ben Damon told Hurt Business Radio.
“That would be a huge opportunity for him if that was able to happen. It’s just initial conversations around that at the moment. To fight his way onto a card like that, potentially in a world title fight as well and certainly in a prominent position, would be an amazing thing for Jason Moloney.
“It’s exactly what he deserves after what we saw from him last week. It was as close as a perfect boxing performance as you can imagine, given all the circumstances. Given his brother being beaten a couple of days earlier, he was fighting on the other side of the world.
“The last time he fought in America, he lost in a really tough fight. For him to go out and do what he did, was just something else. An outstanding performance and let’s hope that he does get that huge opportunity next because he well and truly deserves it.”
The 29-year-old Australian made his US debut two years ago when he lost a razor-thin split decision to IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series.
Moloney boxed beautifully against the much taller Baez, showcasing his superior skillset as he broke down and beat up a solid opponent for his fourth straight stoppage victory.
“It couldn’t have got much better than it was, that’s for sure,” Damon continued.
“He came out so strong early on and Leonardo Baez is a tough guy. You can tell that he didn’t mind taking the shots that Jason was giving him, but he just kept stepping it up further and further.
“That left rip the body and the straight right hands were really starting to take their toll. To see them (Baez’s corner) pull him out shows how hard of a puncher Jason Moloney is and how relentless it was. He just stepped it up time and time again.
“It was a fight where you could only make a case for Baez winning round three… the rest of the rounds were pure domination by Jason Moloney. It was one of the best international performances by an Australian seen in recent times.
“A perfect way to end what had been a disappointing week for the family. It sets him up for huge opportunities. The good thing for the boys is that both of their shows ranked really well.
“Plenty of eyeballs, plenty of interest, and Top Rank are really excited about working with them.”
The bantamweight division is one of the most stacked weight classes in boxing, with WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue leading the pack.
“Casimero is the one they want, and the one that makes sense, the WBO world title," Damon said.
"It is a tough division, Naoya Inoue is there of course, who has a couple of world title belts. That’s an extremely difficult fight for anyone. I know that Jason fancies himself in that fight if it could be made.
“Luis Nery and (Nordine) Oubaali as well have world titles. Whatever happens, it’s going to be big for Jason Moloney.”