Blood, bruising, vomit: Moloney’s brutal title toll
Murray Wenzel |
The brutal toll of his gutsy world-title defence has been revealed by Jason Moloney as he outlined the likely sacrifice needed to take his place alongside George Kambosos Jr on an Australian boxing super-card.
The bantamweight’s first WBO title defence came the hard way, with impressive American Saul Sanchez pushing Moloney to the limit in Canada on January 14 in an early contender for fight of the year.
The 33-year-old Australian won a narrow points decision to move to 27-2, paving the way for Moloney to co-feature on the rumoured Kambosos-Vasiliy Lomachenko May 12 card in Perth that’s been years in the making.
That battle for the vacant lightweight IBF belt is set to be officially confirmed within a week, with Jason’s twin brother and former super-flyweight world champion Andrew Moloney, and heavyweight Joe Goodall also likely to feature on a stacked domestic card.
But fronting up healthy for the fight will be easier said than done for the Kingscliff-based Moloney, who missed Christmas with his two children to prepare for his first defence in Las Vegas.
“I had to stop the car on the way home from the fight to vomit and I was p***ing blood that night,” Moloney told AAP.
“It’s hard to describe, really. How you feel after a 12-round war like that is something that very few people ever get to feel and is probably pretty hard to comprehend.
“Every part of your body is sore.
“The fight was so close, I had to empty the tank like never before.
“They’re not nice things to put your body through, but it feels awesome to know you’ve dug so deep and given absolutely everything of yourself to win the fight when I could have easily found excuses.”
Moloney had both of his hands scanned on Wednesday, his left fist a particular concern although he revealed that the right hand he injured in his world-title triumph last year had been troubling him in the build-up to the fight.
He had similar dramas before being offered a shot at Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue in 2020 and opted to delay surgery and take the fight.
“Whether I need surgery or not I still plan to fight in May,” he said.
“It will likely be the case that I can’t injure it any more, so it’s more a question of whether I can handle the pain.”
If successful, Moloney could then have surgery and plot his takeover of a division vacated by undisputed bantamweight king Inoue, the last man to beat Moloney four years ago.
Hall of fame promoter Bob Arum will be in Moloney’s corner.
“Moloney showed tremendous courage … one of the best fights I’ve seen in quite some time,” the Top Rank boss said after sitting ringside in Canada.
The Australian has sought a rematch with his other conqueror, Emmanuel Rodriguez, who narrowly beat him for the IBF belt in Moloney’s first overseas professional fight in 2018.
Rodriguez has won and lost that belt since, but to be matched up with Moloney in Perth would likely require negotiations with Japan’s Ryosuke Nishida for his mandatory defence to fall through.
Inoue’s brother, and new WBA belt holder, Takuma is another unification option, while the unbeaten Junto Nakatani has moved up to bantamweight since knocking out Moloney’s brother Andrew in a world-title fight last year.
Philippines talent Reymart Gaballo (26-1, 21 knockouts) has also called out Moloney should he beat Thai journeyman Phai Pharob on home soil on February 13.
“That’s a fight I’m confident I’d win,” Moloney said of Gaballo, who will likely become a mandatory challenger if he beats Pharob.
“The Sanchez fight, that’s the sort of statement I wanted to give.
“People can think once you become a champion you lose that hunger.
“But anyone that comes into the ring against me to become a champion, they know they’re going to be in for a hell of a night.”AAP