On Saturday, Andrew Moloney will look to begin his climb back into the junior bantamweight title picture when he faces Judy Flores at the Pullman Hotel, Albert Park, Victoria, Australia.
Moloney, rated at No. 8 by The Ring at junior bantamweight, will be fighting for the first time since suffering a stoppage loss to WBO 115-pound titlist Junto Nakatani (KO 12) in May.
“I’m really eager to get back in the ring and put that last fight behind me,” Moloney (25-3, 16 knockouts) told The Ring. “I’m looking to put on a really great performance and show that I am world class and I have what it takes to become world champion again.”
[Editor’s Note: The Ring doesn’t recognize the WBA regular title that Moloney held. It recognizes the most senior of the WBA titles, in this case, the one then held by Juan Francisco Estrada.]
Moloney, whose twin Jason is the current WBO bantamweight beltholder, knows things won’t be easy against his once beaten opponent.
“Flores is a good fighter,” he said. “Unlike most Filipino fighters, Flores boxes off the back-foot and uses his feet a lot. He is a good fighter but that is what I wanted. I’m not interested in easy fights that don’t progress my career.”
Moloney welcomes the opportunity to fight at home, having fought in the U.S. for five of his last eight fights.
“I love fighting in America but it’s also special to come back and fight at home,” he said. “This is the first time in two-years I have headlined a show back home in front of my family and friends so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Moloney, who turns 33 in January, is now at the veteran stage of his career but that doesn’t mean he’s winding down. He still has aspirations of winning a world title.
“I really feel like an experienced fighter now,” he said. “This will be my 30th pro fight. My plan for 2024 is to join my brother as world champion. I believe I have what it takes to become world champion again and I wouldn’t be boxing anymore if I didn’t.”
Moloney’s long-time manager, Tony Tolj, is already plotting his fighters path back into a world title opportunity.
“December 9th, the road back begins,” said Tolj. “We are looking at the fastest route to world championship glory.”
Current Ring champion and WBC titlist Juan Francisco Estrada had been in talks to face WBA ruler Kazuto Ioka on New Years Eve, only to not be happy with the deal and walk away. Now, Ioka will instead face unheralded Josber Perez. IBF beltholder Fernando Martinez doesn’t have anything scheduled, and Moloney’s old foe Nakatani holds the WBO champion.
This looks like a good comeback fight for Moloney and should show us what he has left. The proud Aussie will be a step ahead and should win a 10-round unanimous decision.
Flores (13-1, 7 KOs) turned professional in 2017. After ten straight victories, all in the Philippines, Flores headed to America where he lost his unbeaten record to Antonio Nieves (UD 8) in May 2022. He has since returned with three wins, most notably outboxing faded former three-time junior flyweight title challenger Jonathan Taconing (UD 10).
Credit: Ring TV