Andrew Moloney sees a brighter future and room for a changing of the guard.
The former secondary WBA junior bantamweight titlist landed back in the win column with a ten-round shutout of Judy Flores earlier this month in the Melbourne suburb of Albert Park, Australia. The win came nearly seven months after a crushing 12th round knockout loss to Junto Nakatani in their WBO 115-pound title fight this past May in Las Vegas.
Moloney hoped to join twin brother Jason Moloney, who won the WBO bantamweight title one week earlier in a May 13 victory over Vincent Astrolabio. The new hope, now, is for both to rule their respective divisions in the year ahead.
“There seems to be a lot of movement at the top of the super flyweight division,” Moloney told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve heard that Nakatani, Chocolatito [former four-division champ Roman Gonzalez] and [lineal/WBC champion Juan Francisco] Estrada could all soon move up to 118.
“It’s time for a new king of the super flyweight division and I plan on that being me.”
Moloney (26-3, 16KOs) managed a productive four-fight win streak after his winless trilogy with San Antonio’s Joshua Franco. A dominant ten-round, unanimous decision over Norbelto Jimenez last October saw him advance to the top of the WBO rankings. It put him in position to fight for the belt when Kazuto Ioka was forced to relinquish for failure to defend versus Nakatani as his mandatory challenger.
Nakatani has since confirmed his decision to move up to bantamweight, where he will challenge WBC titlist Alexandro Santiago on February 24 at the famed Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Kosei Tanaka (19-1, 11KOs) and Christian Bacasegua (22-4-2, 9KOs) will compete for the 115-pound title left behind by Nakatani. Moloney and Gonzalez are the next highest ranked contenders. ‘Chocolatito’ remains without a clear next step, while Moloney is far more motivated to make his way to the top of the mountain.
“I always stay ready so I’ll be ready to jump at any opportunity early in the new year,” stated Moloney. “Hopefully that will either be an eliminator or a shot at one of the world titles.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox