31/05/2024

Jason Moloney will defend his WBO Bantamweight title in Montreal this weekend - Image: Top Rank/X (Twitter)

When Jason Moloney (26-2, 19 KOs) scored a decision win over Vincent Astrolabio (19-4, 14 KOs) in May last year, he etched his name into boxing’s storied history.

By capturing the WBO world title, the Melbournian became the fourth Australian to win a bantamweight championship, standing alongside boxing legends Jimmy Carruthers, Lionel Rose and Jeff Fenech.

Now, the 33 year old has laid plans for a massive 2024, aiming for fights with the best in the world in order to solidify his name among the aforementioned greats.

Specifically, Moloney is gunning for revenge over familiar foes, with IBF titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez (22-2, 13 KOs) and Takuma Inoue (18-1, 4 KOs), the brother of former opponent Naoya, sitting atop his hitlist.

Then there’s Junto Nakatani (26-0, 19 KOs), the man who savagely knocked out Jason’s brother Andrew a week after the champion won the belt.

Dreaming of these potential matchups will be worth nothing if he is not successful this weekend, where he is set to make his first title defence against Saul Sanchez (20-2, 12 KOs) in Quebec City, however.

“This year is all about proving I’m the best in the division and that involves unifying, beating any of the other champions. Being involved in the biggest and best fights possible,” Moloney told the Main Event Boxing Podcast.

“Manny Rodriguez, I definitely want revenge over him. 

“Takuma Inoue, there’s history there, given that his brother beat me. So I would love to get some sort of revenge over him. 

“Nakatani wants to move into my division and I’ve imagined and dreamt about knocking that guy out a million times over.

“So there’s some exciting fights that I hope to be a part of this year, but that won’t happen if I don’t beat Sanchez this weekend. I’m very focused and determined on doing that.”

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In Sanchez, the WBO’s number seven ranked contender, Moloney understands that he will be in for a tough fight.

Having watched the Californian on numerous occasions, the 33 year old has seen the traits of a dogged, willing fighter.

More to the point, the champion knows that his challenger will be out to take everything that he has worked and sacrificed for.

“I’ve known of him for quite a while. He’s a tough, gritty American-Mexican that likes to come forward and put pressure and throw big shots,” he said.

“You know he’s going to be extremely hungry coming into a fight where he’s fighting to become world champion, which is every fighter’s dream. 

“So (I’m) expecting a very determined and hungry fighter on the other side of the ring.”

While the threat of Sanchez remains front of mind, Moloney is not short of confidence entering the clash.

In his mind, his upcoming performance will not only reflect many hours of strict preparation, but will highlight his place among the sport’s top echelon.

“I’ve done my homework and I’ve put in the hard work myself,” Moloney concluded.

“I don’t believe his best is good enough. I believe I’m on another level to him.”

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