Jason Moloney wins boxing world title at third attempt
Jason Moloney has overcome a suspected broken hand to produce a slick performance and win a world title at his third attempt with a majority points decision over Filipino Vincent Astrolabio in Stockton, California.
The 32-year-old dominated the fight for the vacant WBO bantamweight title with his left jab and movement, rarely allowing his hard-punching opponent to land anything significant.
Exhorted by trainer Angelo Hyder to keep using his jab, Moloney largely controlled the range the bout was fought at, peppering Astrolabio with his left.
On the odd occasion Astrolabio landed, Moloney did a great job of tying him up and not allowing him to land multiple punches.
The Australian appeared to have won the fight comfortably but one judge scored the bout 114-114, though the other two had Moloney ahead 115-113 and 116-112.
"I thought I won the fight pretty comfortably. He got desperate towards the end because he knew he was very far down on the cards," Moloney told AAP.
"I think I broke my hand in probably the third or fourth round.
"Every time I threw the right I was in a lot of pain, so I had to fight pretty smart and just control him with my jab and a bit of movement.
"I controlled him very well and won the fight well.
"I'm stoked to finally achieve this dream and become champion of the world."
In two previous title attempts, Moloney lost a contentious split decision to IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018 and was stopped in seven rounds by IBF and WBA title-holder Naoya Inoue in 2020.
"It's been a long, hard journey and a lot of sacrifices not only from myself, from the whole team, my whole family," said Moloney, who had four successive fights overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inoue has subsequently moved up a division, vacating his bantamweight titles, and Moloney's next target is to win more belts and bring some big fights to Australia.
"The ultimate goal is all the belts," Moloney said.
"I want to be undisputed at bantamweight. I believe I'm the best bantamweight in the world.
"Tonight I claimed one belt but there's still another three for me to chase.
"I want to bring some big fights Down Under and put on some big shows and headline some shows in Australia - get the whole country behind me."
Moloney's world-title success could be the first of a memorable family double.
His twin brother Andrew will fight Japan's Junto Nakatani in Las Vegas next weekend for the vacant WBO super flyweight title.
"Its full focus on Andrew now," the new bantamweight world champion said.
"The job is not done. Only half of the puzzle is put together, so now it's all about Andrew.
"I can't wait to be by his side and help him bring his title back home as well."