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What prompted WBO world champ Jason Moloney to go from Aussie rules to boxing

WBO bantamweight world champion, Jason Moloney has shared his incredible sporting journey during his visit to Rockhampton for a major boxing event.

The boxing world champion has revealed the sport that has made him a household name was merely an afterthought when he first stepped in the ring.

Moloney pulled on the gloves for the first time as a way to keep fit in the off-season as he chased a career in his first love, Australian rules.

The current WBO bantamweight world champion shared his incredible sporting journey during a visit to Rockhampton, where he was a special guest at the Reef ’n’ Beef Fight Night on Saturday.

Moloney has compiled an incredible record since taking up boxing in his mid-teens.

The highlight of his amateur career, in which he had 75 fights, was representing Australia in the men‘s flyweight division at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.

He turned professional in 2014, and has a record of 26 wins and two losses.

He claimed the WBO bantamweight world title in May last year with a majority decision win over Filipino Vincent Astrolabio in California.

Vincent Astrolabio (left) and Jason Moloney exchange punches during their WBO bantamweight championship fight. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

But Moloney revealed that “being a Melbourne boy,” his first sporting love was Aussie rules.

“I loved AFL and wanted to be a professional footballer. That was my dream,” he said.

“When I was 13, I decided to take up boxing, mainly to get fit for footy in the off-season.

“I kept using boxing for fitness for about three years and then the passion took over and I decided to start fighting and give football away.”

Moloney didn’t enjoy the most auspicious start to his boxing career, losing his first three amateur fights.

But with hard work and an unwavering determination, the results turned around.

And that, the 32-year-old says, is the most valuable piece of advice he can offer.

“Obviously it’s a tough sport and you have to work extremely hard to achieve success but the big thing is being consistent and staying dedicated,” he said.

“As I’ve come through, I’ve seen so many younger fighters with so much talent go to waste because they’ve given up early.

“If you stick to boxing, you can achieve great things.”

And that’s exactly what Moloney has done.

He turned professional at age 24, satisfied that he had done as much as he could as an amateur.

“That was always the goal from the start – to become world champion,” he said.

“It’s great eight years on to have achieved that dream but it’s certainly not over.

“I’m still very hungry for success; I feel like I’ve got a lot more to give to the sport and a lot more to achieve.

“The goal now is to collect more belts and become the undisputed champion of the world.

“We’re certainly going after that and I believe I can do it.”

Moloney is now preparing for his first title defence, most likely in early 2024, with his opponent and the location of the fight yet to be decided.

He grew up idolising fellow Australian boxer, Danny Green and in turn, wants to be a good role model and inspiration for up-and-coming fighters.

He said he loved the opportunity to attend events like the one in Rockhampton to share his experience and show youngsters that with the right attitude and approach, they too can make it.

Moloney said he was his own harshest critic.

“I’m never satisfied with where I’m at, even after a win. I always pick what I can improve on and what I can do better,” he said.

“I’ve always been hard on myself. I set a high standard and I think that’s the reason I’ve been able to keep improving, even after I’ve been boxing for nearly 20 years now.”

Credit: Pam McKay (Courier Mail)

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