Moloney’s shot at greatness
IT will be straight out of the frying pan and into the fire for undefeated boxer Jason Moloney as he tries to join all-time Aussie greats Jeff Fenech and Lionel Rose as world bantamweight champion this weekend.
The Kingscliff pocket rocket tackles Puerto Rican Manny Rodriguez in Orlando, Florida on Sunday afternoon (AEDT) for the International Boxing Federation title that Fenech won in Sydney in 1985.
But if Moloney wins - and he is a big underdog - he will then have to face Japan's devastating puncher Naoya "Monster'' Inoue in his first defence.
The three fighters are part of the eight-man World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament bringing together the best fighters in the world at 53.5kg.
Moloney, 27, says he's not concerned about the reputations of his rivals.
"I am going to grab this opportunity with both hands and I truly believe that I have what it takes to go all the way and win this tournament,'' he said.
"I'm not in this competition to make up the numbers, I'm here to shock the world.'
Moloney and twin brother Andrew, the 2014 Commonwealth Games flyweight gold medallist, are the best performed twins yet in Australian boxing.
Jason has a record of 17 wins in 17 fights and is a solid puncher with 14 knockout victories.
He is the mandatory challenger for Rodriguez, who became the IBF champ in May when he took a unanimous decision against British star Paul Butler in London.
Rodriguez, who has an 18-0 record with 12 knockout wins, says he has been in a training camp in his hometown of San Juan for three months and has sparred 140 rounds preparing for the Australian challenge.
Japan's Inoue qualified to face the winner of Rodriguez-Moloney when he took just 70 seconds to knock out Juan Carlos Payano from the Dominican Republic in Yokohama last week.
He was making the first defence of the WBA world bantamweight title he won by stopping Britain's Jamie McDonnell in the first round of his previous fight.
Moloney relocated to Kingscliff, near the Queensland-NSW border, from Melbourne last year to train with Danny Green's long-time mentor Angelo Hyder.
"It has been my dream for many years now to become world champion,'' he said.
"Now I have the opportunity to achieve this dream and much more.''
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