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Moloney names targets for bumper Aussie title defence

A couple of free breakfasts and a family holiday to Yamba.

It’s been a typically low-key homecoming for Australia’s newest boxing world champion Jason Moloney.

But the 32-year-old WBO bantamweight belt holder expects that to change with legendary promoter Bob Arum backing the Australian’s dream to defend his title – or win some more – in a blockbuster event on home soil.

“Some congratulations and a couple of free breakfasts at the cafe, but I haven’t felt it hugely since getting back home,” he told AAP of the fanfare while en route to his mini-vacation.

“I’ve been on the road for years in America and have been surprised by my profile in Japan.

“But it’s only just beginning here and now I’ve got the belt … I knew I had to achieve something big first.

“I grew up idolising Danny Green and saw how much the country loved him and that’s something I’d love.

“I want to get the whole country excited about when I’m fighting next and filling stadiums.”

Moloney (26-2) avoided a suspected fractured hand in his calculated majority points decision victory over Vincent Astrolabio in California last month.

Twin brother Andrew lost his own world title fight a week later in Las Vegas, brutally knocked out in the final seconds of the 12th round of his WBO super-flyweight world title bout by the formidable Junto Nakatani.

Andrew suffered a perforated eardrum but has returned to Australia without lingering injuries and keen to get back in the ring.

Top Rank boss Arum was ringside when Jeff Horn beat Manny Pacquiao at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in 2017.

While only one of the brothers has returned as world champion, Arum still has designs on a Moloney double-header later this year with Melbourne and Gold Coast the early front-runners.

“Bob’s all for it,” Jason said.

“We sat down with him and he was the one that brought it up.

“If I’m looking to fight in September or October that’ll work with Andrew.”

Undisputed bantamweight king Naoya Inoue’s move up a weight class has thrown Moloney’s division wide open, with the Australian now rated No.1 ahead of Emmanuel Rodriguez by The Ring Magazine.

One round was the difference when the Puerto Rican beat Moloney for the IBF belt in 2018, with Rodriguez set to fight for that belt again in July.

Nonito Donaire is ranked third and has switched management since negotiations to fight Moloney for the WBC belt fell down earlier this year.

“If it was up to me I’d say Emmanuel Rodriguez,” Moloney said of his desired next opponent.

“To get revenge and have three belts (WBO, The Ring, IBF) on the line, that’s the most exciting fight for me at the minute.

“But we’ve been after Donaire too. I’ll fight anyone in my division.”

Shattered for his twin, Moloney is confident he still has at least five years left in his career to realise their shared dream.

“It just shows you what boxing is like at the top,” he said.

“One week the highest of highs, the very next week the lowest of lows.

“But I plan on holding the belt for a long time and I’m still confident we can be champions at the same time.”

Credit: Harry’s Gym

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