Ring Magazine number 10 ranked bantamweight Jason “The Smooth One” Moloney 17-0 (14) became just the second boxer to stop former two-time world champion Kohei Kono 33-12-1 (14) of Japan when the ringside physician recommended the fight be stopped at the end of the sixth round due to a cut eye in their 12-round contest at the Malvern Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday night.
Moloney entered the bout knowing that an impressive victory could stamp his ticket for entry into the second season of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) with the eight-man single-elimination tournament set to feature the bantamweight and junior welterweight divisions when it commences in September this year.
“I believe I’m the best bantamweight in the world and these are the types of fights I need to prove it,” said the Melbourne-born Moloney after the fight.
The 37-year-old visitor started the fight aggressively, using his long arms and awkward style to keep Moloney guessing, but the classy Commonwealth champion expertly picked off his shots as he worked on figuring out Kono’s movements and rhythm. But the27-year-old Kingscliff-based boxer stuck to the game plan, getting his jab working to set up hard shots to the head and strafing Kono with body shots.
In the third round the stylish and aggressive Moloney landed a ramrod jab that buckled Kono’s legs, crumpling him to the canvas.
Moloney was in full control by the fourth but the gutsy Kono kept pressing forward, looking for openings despite wearing hard shots in return. In the fifth Moloney nailed Kono with a hard right cross to the side of the face and almost immediately the blood began to flow from a cut on the outside corner of his left eye.
In the sixth Moloney went after Kono, jabbing his way in and loading up right hands as he aimed for the source of the blood. Kono’s eye leaked freely as Moloney worked him over for three minutes and by the end of the round both boxers were covered in claret.
Kono’s corner worked frantically to staunch the flow of blood between rounds, but it was a futile effort. The doctor examined the cut and determined the fight should be stopped.
The fight was Moloney’s third successful WBA Oceania title defence since moving down in weight to bantamweight.
Team Moloney was ecstatic with the result.
“Forget the royal wedding,” said Moloney’s colourful manager Tony Tolj after the fight. “The bantamweight king has arrived!”
With the win Moloney joins Naoya Inoue as the only other boxer to stop Kono. The Japanese phemon also stopped Kono in six rounds back in December 2016.
Is it enough for the WBA #4, WBO #5, IBF #11 and WBC #13 bantamweight to join the WBSS tournament? Watch this space.
On the same card world-rated super flyweight Andrew “The Monster” Moloney 17-0 (10) bounced back from a seventh round knockdown to successfully defend his WBA Oceania title with a wide 10-round points decision over gutsy Filipino Richard Claveras 18-4-2 (15).
The 28-year-old former world title challenger came to fight, but Moloney used his piston-like jab to control the distance and set up his short power punches. Moloney aggressively targeted the body, landing hard shorts to both sides of the ribcage, while Claveras snuck in body shots of his own and came in over the top with his looping right hand.
By the fourth round Moloney was backing Claveras up and in the sixth the Filipino appeared to be wilting. But the fight wasn’t over yet.
In the seventh round Moloney maneuvered Claveras to the ropes and unleashed a fusillade of shots to his body and head. In the midst of this salvo Claveras launched a perfectly-timed looping right hand counter that caught Moloney right on the button and deposited him on the seat of his pants.
The home fighter easily beat the count and boxed well to survive the round.
The knockdown seemed to give Claveras a second wind and he pursued Moloney with aggression for the last three rounds, but Moloney smartly boxed from the outside while piling up points to run away with a comprehensive points win.
When the dust settled the judges’ scores were 99-91, 98-91 and 98-91.
Moloney, who is ranked WBA #5, WBC #5, IBF #5 and WBO #10, is targeting WBA 115-pound champion Khalid Yafai 23-0 (14) of England.
Also on the card lightweight Terry Tzouramanis 20-3-3 (3) successfully defended his Victorian state title with a clear-cut eight-round points victory over Jacob McBride10-6 (4) of Perth.
Tzouramanis was too quick and too slick for the 24-year-old West Australian who tried hard throughout the bout but was ultimately outclassed.
The win clears the way for the 32-year-old from Bentleigh to face Jayar Inson 16-1 (11) on the undercard of Lucas Matthysse’s WBA “regular” welterweight title defence against Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Jayar Inson is very talented boxer and Tzouramanis will train hard to perform at his best. His trainer Ben Chua will give Terry a few days off then back into the gym to get ready for July 15 in KL. Malaysia. It is a big platform (he will be fighting on),” said promoter Peter Maniatis.
“We understand Jayar Inson is a different level to Jacob McBride, so we need to be ready come July in KL.”
In a showstopper, welterweight Adam Kaoullas 5-1 (1) won the vacant Victorian state title with an eight round unanimous decision against Dillon Bargero 4-6 (3).
The Sam Soliman-trained Kaoullas had Bargero on the canvas twice but the tough-as-nails son of former six-time Australian champion Marc Bargero rallied back every time.
The fight was a rematch of their entertaining four rounder at the same venue last November that Kaoullas won by split decision.
Lightweight Daniel “The Hawk” Huculak 3-0 (2) displayed a sharp and accurate kit of punches against the teak-tough Ryan Robertson 1-3 of Perth to win by TKO4.
Huculak, who is trained by Dave Hegarty in Hoppers Crossing, showed good variety in attack, dropping Robertson in the second and third rounds. Despite the punishment, Robertson showed a warrior’s heart to continue each time before the referee waved off the contest at 1:56 of the fourth and final round.
Also on the undercard light heavyweight Corey Allen 3-1 defeated Johnny Brown 2-4-1 by unanimous decision in a five round contest. In a middleweight four rounder Jessie White 1-0 won on debut against Damien Lock 2-4-1. Junior middleweight Tim Hateley 4-4-1 dropped Dong Young Kang in the second round en route to winning a majority decision over four rounds.
The show was promoted by Hosking Promotions and Peter Maniatis Events.