By Anthony Cocks
Undefeated bantamweight contender Jason “The Smooth One” Moloney 15-0 (12) will be back in action on 24 February when he challenges for the vacant Commonwealth 118-pound title against Immanuel “The Prince” Naidjala 23-4-1 (13) of Namibia in the co-main event of Punches at the Park VII at the St Kilda City Hall.
The 26-year-old Moloney will be looking to join his twin brother Andrew as Commonwealth champion. Andrew picked up the Commonwealth super flyweight title with a fourth round TKO of Tanzanian Hashimu Zuberi 13-2 (3) last October at the Melbourne Park Function Centre at Hosking Promotions’ Punches at the Park VI.
Jason is coming off a first round destruction of Julias Kisarawe 27-5-1 (14) of Tanzania in the co-feature on the same card, picking up the vacant WBA Oceania bantamweight title with the victory. It was Jason’s first bout since moving down to 118-pounds from super bantamweight.
On paper Naidjala will be the toughest opponent of Moloney’s professional career. Ranked #70 by Boxrec.com in the bantamweight division, the 33-year-old African lost a competitive decision for the WBO 118-pound title to Japanese world champion Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda, 28-0 (18) at the time, in Osaka, Japan in 2013.
Naidjala is a former WBO African, WBO Inter-Continental, WBA Pan African and IBF International champion. In April last year Naidjala dropped a close twelve round decision to WBO #3 Siboniso Gonya of South Africa, who would go on to challenge fellow countryman and reigning WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“I think Immanuel Naidjala will certainly be my toughest opponent to date. Naidjala is a very fast and skilful boxer who lost a close points decision for the world title, so he is obviously a great fighter,” said Moloney.
“I feel that I am definitely ready for this sort of test and I believe that fighting these top level opponents like Naidjala will really bring the best out of me.
“I am very focused at the moment and I know that these are the people I need to beat if I want to achieve my dream of becoming world champion," added Moloney.
The Commonwealth title has recently come back into vogue in Australia, with Kris George, Anthony Buttigieg and of course Andrew Moloney all current holders of the Commonwealth crown.
“Fighting for the Commonwealth title is a massive opportunity for me and something which I’m very excited about. Becoming Commonwealth champion will be a great achievement and it will put me alongside some of the great Australian fighters who have won this title before me, which will be a great honour,” said Moloney.
After a successful 2017 that saw Moloney add four wins for two knockouts to his ledger and rise to WBA #9, WBO #8, IBF #13 and WBC #18 in the world rankings, the Kingscliff-based boxer will be looking to continue his winning ways as he closes in on a world title shot.
“Representing the World Boxing Association and being the WBA Oceania champion and being ranked number nine in the world is a huge honour for me and something I’m very proud of. Winning and defending my title will be a giant step towards the ultimate goal of becoming world champion and it will potentially open up the doors to some big fights overseas,” said Moloney.
“Winning this title will be a giant step towards the ultimate goal of becoming world champion and it will potentially open up the doors to some big fights overseas. I’m working hard and improving every day to make sure I’ll become Australia’s next world champion.”
Stay tuned for further announcements about Hosking Promotions’ “Punches at the Park VII”.
Tickets are available from Monday morning at: www.eventopia.co/PATP7