A series of impressive results has placed Jason Moloney on the fast-track to a world title opportunity.
The 27-year-old pocket dynamo, who is rated as high as fourth by the WBA, will defend his affiliated bantamweight regional title for the second time in what many insiders are labelling as the hardest fight of his professional career against former WBA super flyweight champion Kohei Kono.
After blitzing former world title challenger Immanuel Naidjala in his last appearance at the St Kilda City Hall in February, Moloney (16-0, 13 KOs) is primed for another marquee performance.
“I’m really excited about this fight and having the chance to test myself against a former two time world champion,” said Moloney to Aus-Boxing.
“This is a must-win fight for me, I see this as my chance to show what I am capable of and prove that I am now ready to fight for a world title.”
Despite his age, there are few opponents in the region that can rival the pedigree of the 37-year-old Kono (33-11-1, 14 KOs), who was a reigning world champion just eighteen months ago.
The Japanese veteran was halted for the first time in his career, losing his throne to super flyweight sensation Naoya Inoue, in a loss that continues to look better in hindsight.
As Moloney admits, the credentials of Kono cannot be undervalued ahead of their high-stakes meeting on Saturday night.
“I see Kono as a big threat and definitely the toughest opponent that I have faced,” he added.
“He has fought in eleven world title fights, that sort of experience is priceless. Although he’s 37, I think his last fight against Rex Tso was one of the best performances of his career so he is certainly still a big threat and we will definitely not be taking him lightly.”
Moloney has improved beyond sight in the last twelve months, with recent performances against the aforementioned Naidjala to win the Commonwealth title, alongside impressive finishes over Julias Kisarawe and Emanuel Armendariz showing just how far the relocated Melburnian has come under new trainer Angelo Hyder.
His development and continued form hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Moloney heaping praise on his accomplished trainer.
“At this stage of my career it is very important for me to see and feel constant improvement and right now I couldn’t be happier,” he continued. “Since training with Angelo Hyder I feel like I have made some massive improvements and I am continuing to improve everyday.”
“I’m really enjoying my training and I’m very excited about the future and what we can achieve together.”
“With the way we are constantly improving and with the team I have around me, I truly believe that we can climb to the top and become the number one bantamweight in the world.”
Twin brother Andrew Moloney (16-0, 10 KOs) will defend his WBA affiliated regional bauble for the third time against dangerous Filipino head-hunter Richard Claveras (18-3-2, 15 KOs).