Moloney follows Rose to land on historic Japanese card

Murray Wenzel |

Jason Moloney (r), trading blows with Saul Sanchez here, is set for the biggest pay day of his life.
Jason Moloney (r), trading blows with Saul Sanchez here, is set for the biggest pay day of his life.

Jason Moloney will follow in Lionel Rose’s footsteps after the bantamweight world champion secured a life-changing Tokyo world title fight as part of the biggest night for the sport in Japan’s history.

Boxing will return to the 57,000-capacity Tokyo Dome on May 6, for the first time since Mike Tyson’s famous 1990 loss to Buster Douglas. 

Australia’s WBO bantamweight world champion Moloney will make his second defence against unbeaten local hope and former kick-boxing world champion Yoshiki Takei.

AAP understands it will be the biggest pay day for the understated Moloney who has never shirked a challenge during his 27-2 career that features 19 stoppages.

It’s being rated as the biggest fight for an Australian in Japan since Lionel Rose beat Fighting Harada to win three bantamweight world title straps in 1968.

Undisputed junior featherweight world champion Naoya Inoue, a four-weight world champion and two-weight undisputed king, will headline at the iconic venue for the first time against Mexican puncher Luis Nery.

Two other world title fights will ensure Tokyo’s Big Egg is packed for a boxing event for the first time since Douglas’s 10th-round knockout of Tyson to clinch the undisputed heavyweight crown.

“This will be an iconic fight, no bigger for an Aussie in Japan since Rose in ’68,” Moloney’s manager Tony Tolj told AAP.

“Jason is a true old school world champion; won the belt in the US, defended in Canada.

“We were planning on fighting in Australia next but this opportunity came up and to be the co feature at the Tokyo Dome in front of 55,000 people and the first boxing event since Mike Tyson v Buster Douglas is historical stuff.

“Jason just wants to fight the best out there and prove he is the best bantamweight on the planet.” 

Moloney had been eyeing a slot on the high-profile George Kambosos-Vasiliy Lomachenko title fight, a week later in Perth.

“I’ve always wanted to fight in Japan, and to do it on this huge show in front of a sold-out crowd at the Tokyo Dome is what dreams are made of,” Moloney said. 

“I want to be known as a throwback world champion.”

Moloney won high praise from legendary promoter and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum when he won a close points decision over Saul Sanchez to defend his belt in January. 

“I won my title in America, defended it in Canada, and now I’m willing to go into enemy territory and defend my title in Japan against the undefeated Yoshiki Takei,” Moloney said.

“I know the Japanese fans will enjoy this fight, and I look forward to making some new fans in Japan and all over the world.”

Takei has won all eight of his fights via stoppages since turning professional in 2021. Before that he was the K-1 Super Bantamweight champion for nearly three years and boasted a 23-2 record as a kickboxer.