HISTORY is in the making for Jason Moloney.
The 27-year-old is one of just eight bantamweights selected to fight in the second season of the World Boxing Super Series. The winner will walk away as the undisputed champion of the world.
For Moloney, the first step towards divisional supremacy begins this weekend when he faces undefeated Manny Rodriguez (18-0, 12 KOs) for the IBF bantamweight title in Orlando, Florida.
Despite being a heavy underdog, Moloney (17-0, 14 KOs) is confident of becoming Australia’s next world champion.
“When you set out to be a professional, your main goal is to become a world champion and it’s something that I’ve obviously worked very hard for over the years,” Moloney told Aus-Boxing.
“I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get here and now that we’re finally here its very exciting and we’ve just got to make sure that we’ve done everything right, which we have and make sure that I’ve got the best possible opportunity to win this fight.
“The preparations been great and I feel on top of the world, I’m ready to go and I’m not going to let the opportunity slip.”
Moloney, 27, is leaving nothing to chance in his first shot at world honours. His team are aware of the quality of fighter that Rodriguez, 26, is and have studied accordingly.
“We’ve watched heaps of footage of Rodriguez, he’s obviously a very good fighter and a world champion for a reason but we’ve sat down and studied footage over and over again and we have a good game plan and strategy in place,” Moloney said.
“I’m confident if I follow it correctly and box the way I’ve been boxing in the gym that I’m good enough to beat him and I’m confident that’s what’s going to happen.”
In a tournament that features names such as Naoya Inoue, Nonito Donaire, Zolani Tete and Ryan Burnett, Moloney is somewhat of an unknown but despite his lack of recognition on the world stage, he’s ready to make his name known.
“I haven’t achieved what some of the other fighters have achieved with some of them being current or former champions but this is my opportunity and my time to shine. I’m looking forward to proving plenty of people wrong and making my mark on the division.”
Moloney might well be out to make his mark on the bantamweight division but he’s also on the precipice of Australian boxing history.
A victory against Rodriguez would see the Melbourne-born pocket dynamo emulate the great Jeff Fenech by winning the IBF title that Fenech once held. It would also see him join the likes of Lionel Rose and Jimmy Carruthers as Australian bantamweight world champions.
Such a feat doesn’t happen by chance.
Hard work and sacrifice are prerequisites to any success but Moloney also points to his recent partnership with trainer Angelo Hyder as the catalyst for his step up to world class.
“He’s (Hyder) been exceptional and both Andrew and I believe he’s the best coach in the world,” Moloney says.
“That’s why we moved away from our families to train with him and we couldn’t be any happier.
“We’re both improving all the time. Every day and every session we feel like we are picking up something new and we’re becoming better fighters.”
There’s little doubt that Moloney is one of the best fighters in Australia right now and a victory against Rodriguez would see him become one of the best in the world but while many pundits have questioned whether or not he belongs in the same class his contemporaries, the man himself is confident he can beat any and all comers.
“Over the years I’ve always kept a close eye on the division and all the other fighters at bantamweight but I believe I have what it takes to beat all of them.”
Words: Dan Attias/Follow Dan on Twitter