Tokyo chapter begins in Moloney brothers’ title story

Murray Wenzel |

Boxers Andrew (l) and Jason Moloney with trainer Angelo Hyder have a busy fortnight ahead.
Boxers Andrew (l) and Jason Moloney with trainer Angelo Hyder have a busy fortnight ahead.

A much-hyped Japanese debut won’t be Jason Moloney’s only first when he walks into the Tokyo Dome to defend his world title.

The bantamweight’s second defence of his hard-earned WBO strap, against former kickboxing world champion Yoshiki Takei next Monday, will also be the first time in 30 professional fights his twin brother isn’t there with him.

There’s good reason, though.

Andrew Moloney will be flying to Perth, arriving in the West Australian capital just hours before Jason’s historic Tokyo tussle to prepare for his own world title fight.

On May 12 Andrew will challenge Mexico’s Pedro Guevara for the vacant WBC interim super flyweight belt.

That fight serves as the co-feature to the vacant IBF lightweight world title showdown between Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko and Sydney’s former unified champion George Kambosos Jr.

Last May the brothers fought for world titles a week apart in the United States, Jason beating Vincent Astrolabio for the belt his still holds before Andrew was knocked out in the final round by Junto Nakatani in Las Vegas.

Before Jason won that belt – and then defended it against Saul Sanchez in a January epic in Canada – Andrew held the WBA super flyweight title belt. 

But they’ve never both been world champions at the same time.

“They want to finish their story and their story is to be world champions at the same time,” long-time manager Tony Tolj told AAP from Tokyo on Tuesday.

“These are the two chapters left in their story.

“This fight is massive for Jason and massive historically.

“I thought it was going to be massive, but it’s surpassed my expectations.

“He was bombarded at the airport and every time we’ve gone for dinner people have been grabbing photos and autographs.”

A full house of 55,000 is expected for what will be the first boxing event at the indoor baseball stadium since Mike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas in 1990.

Moloney already has a huge following in Japan, attracting large media interest on previous training camp visits and winning the affection of fans during a 10-year professional career.

Naoya Inoue, the last man to beat Moloney in 2020, has moved up to super bantamweight and will put all four belts on the line in the Tokyo headline act against Mexico’s Luis Nery.

Two other belts will go on the line in the Tokyo blockbuster that will pull in $30 million in gate-takings alone, before Tolj and head trainer Angelo Hyder head straight to Perth.

Jason has had three Japanese sparring partners based at Hyder’s Kingscliff gym in preparation, including Tokyo’s IBF No.3 and WBO No.8 contender Seiya Tsutsumi. 

“He reckons it’s been the best camp he’s ever done,” Tolj said.