MGM Grand, Las Vegas – Junto Nakatani (25-0, 19 KOs) is now a two-division world champion. The fighting pride of Sagamihara, Japan, captured the WBO junior bantamweight world title with a scintillating 12th-round knockout over Andrew Moloney (25-3, 16 KOs).
After adjusting to Moloney’s offense in the first round, Nakatani landed a right uppercut that dropped Moloney. The Australian former world champion was undeterred, even as they clashed heads in the third round, causing a cut over Nakatani’s left eye and one over Moloney’s right eye.
As the rounds progressed, Nakatani’s dominance increased. Moloney rallied late with short punches on the inside, but those left him vulnerable to straight left hand that dropped him in the eleventh round and an overland left in the twelfth that ended the fight. Time of stoppage: 2:42.
The Japanese puncher is now looking to secure the biggest fights in the weight class, like a showdown with WBC world champion Juan Francisco Estrada.
Nakatani said. “I was very pleased and satisfied to have a good knockout. I was ready for him and his style. I knew he would fight that way and we adjusted to that.
“I think this win opens up a big road for me. I want unification fights. It can be against anybody. It can be with [Juan Francisco] Estrada or anybody.”
For Moloney, he has to go back to the drawing board. Last week his twin brother, Jason Moloney, captured the WBO bantamweight title. Andrew had hoped to follow his lead – but it remains to be seen where he goes from here.