Australian star Andrew Moloney (22-2, 14 KOs) has his eyes firmly set on Japanese WBO Super Flyweight Titleist, Kazuto Ioka (28-2, 15 KOs), in a overall quest to become a two-time champion of the world.
Despite being bested twice in thee fights with Joshua Franco (18-1-2, 8 KOs), Moloney was one of boxing’s stars at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The trilogy between the pair featured prominently on ESPN as part of Top Rank ‘s broadcasts, with similar opportunities afforded to twin brother and highly rated bantamweight, Jason Moloney (22-2, 18 KOs).
Moloney discussed his global exposure during the pandemic and what it means moving forward.
“I was so grateful my manager Tony Tolj and Top Rank gave me the opportunities during the most difficult period the world has seen in 80 years, to ply my trade on one of the biggest networks in the world, ESPN,” he said.
“I’ve had great exposure in the past when I won [gold at] the Commonwealth Games, so I know the importance of being known within boxing globally, and it was nice for that to happen again on ESPN and with the best promotional company on the planet, Top Rank.
“If you want the big fights you have to be well known all over the world. Within boxing circles, the importance of being known is much more important, especially in the lower weight classes because they don’t always get the exposure they deserve.”
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After defeating Froilan Saludar (32-5, 22 KOs) in December, Moloney has made his intentions clear for 2022 and has been vocal, however respectful, about his hopes of fighting a modern-day great in Ioka. As a former WBA champion, the 31 year old believes that there is commercial value in a contest between the two high-calibre fighters.
Moreover, the match up would tap into the historical rivalry between Australia and Japan. Over the past 60 years, national heroes such as Lionel Rose (42-11, 12 KOs), Jeff Fenech (29-3-1, 21 KOs) and even brother Jason have participated in memorable contests with opponents from the ‘Land of the Rising Sun.’
Should Moloney eventually square off with Ioka, another chapter of the storied rivalry is guaranteed to be written.
“This fight is one of the biggest at 115 pounds. Ioka is a legend, and he needs real challengers to make people continue to tune in. There aren’t many fighters who are that well known in the lower-weight classes, but I believe that I am,” Moloney stated.
“I’m 100% [sure] that Ioka and I make an unbelievable fight, but also it makes commercial sense.
“I’ve received so much exposure in the last couple of years on multinational television and online, that it makes sense to put two of the most talked-about fighters in the lower weight classes together in a country that appreciates boxing in those weights, Japan.
“I think a fight between us does massive numbers in Japan and Australia, and I’m excited at the prospect of fighting in Japan against the amazing supporters they have over there.”
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