Twin brothers Jason and Andrew Moloney racked up more airmiles than most in their respective 2020 campaigns. Alongside longtime manager Tony Tolj they negotiated safe passage to the U.S from Australia twice in the midst of the pandemic.
Jason Moloney, who is rated No. 7 by The Ring at bantamweight, made quite the impression stateside stopping rugged Mexican Leonardo Baez in seven rounds last June. That win helped move him to the front of the queue to face Ring, IBF and WBA bantamweight titleholder Naoya Inoue last October.
Although he was stopped in seven rounds, Jason Moloney (21-2, 18 knockouts) showed enough heart to come again.
“I’m still very disappointed in the result of the fight,” Jason told The Ring. “Inoue is an exceptional fighter and deservedly top three pound-for-pound, so it was always going to be a huge task, but I honestly believed I was capable of beating him.
“I went out and put it all on the line and was caught by a perfect right hand. I tried my best to get up, but I couldn’t beat the count.
“I’ve got no regrets. I’m proud to have stepped up to the challenge when very few people would, but I’m still very disappointed because I know that I did not fight at my best.
“I’m sure that I will learn a lot from this fight, and I look forward to coming back better and stronger this year.”
Jason has returned to the gym and is optimistic about the future.
“My goal for 2021 is to become world champion,” he said. “Anything less than that and I will be very disappointed. I’m willing to do whatever it takes and will fight anyone in the division to make that happen.”
Tolj is currently looking to procure further opportunities for his fighter.
“I’m working hard to get Jason right into top contention once again,” said the manager. “He’s proved he is elite, he made me very proud, fought a pound-for-pound great [and just] got caught.
“Jason is an inspirational fighter who leaves no stone unturned to achieve his lifelong dream. I spent over three months of 2020 in some form of quarantine. If I have to do six months in quarantine, I will do anything it takes, everything in my power to help Jason Moloney become the bantamweight champion of the world in 2021.”
Andrew, who is rated No. 8 by The Ring at junior bantamweight, put up a sterling effort, narrowly dropping a razor-thin unanimous decision to Joshua Franco in June.
The two had a rematch in November and Moloney appeared to be getting the better of proceedings only for Franco’s right eye to swell shut and curtail the action.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission spent close to half an hour examining footage of the opening round to decipher how the injury took place. While the swelling appeared to come from Moloney’s jab, it was ruled that the injury came from of a clash of heads and the fight was declared a no-contest.
“My thoughts are exactly the same as they were immediately after the fight,” Andrew (21-1, 14 KOs) said. “I should have been declared the winner by TKO and regained my world title. I am now even more hungry to fight Franco again and take back what is rightfully mine.”
The priority for Andrew and his team is now to secure a rubber match with the Texan.
“My plans are to have the third fight against Joshua Franco early this year,” Moloney said. “I’m hoping that we can have this fight in Australia with a huge crowd and win back my world title in front of all my family, friends and everyone who supports me.
“My team is working on this at the moment and it will be a dream come true if we can make this happen.”
Tolj is busy trying to make the third bout happen in the not-too-distant future.
“The WBA was outraged at the mess that occurred in the last fight and they ordered the immediate rematch,” said Tolj. “Our plan is to bring the fight Down Under and I might even get a front row seat for Andrew’s biggest fans: Joe Rogan, LL Cool J, Damian Lillard and Helen Mirren.
“When a man has worked for 17 years, sacrificed the last five months away from family and friends, and they say, hey, it was a clash of heads we are taking the world championship from you – that’s hard times!
“Andrew Moloney is a special fighter, a humble man. I have no doubt that in 2021, Andrew Moloney becomes the two-time world champion.”
Editor’s Note: Franco currently holds the WBA “regular” title at 115 pounds, which is unrecognized by The Ring. Roman Gonzalez is the WBA junior bantamweight titleholder.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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