Jason Moloney: ‘I really respect Kohei Kono, but I believe I am a better fighter’
World ranked bantamweight Jason Moloney is preparing for his toughest test to date against former WBA junior bantamweight titleholder Kohei Kono at the Town Hall in Malvern, Australia, on Saturday.
In February, Moloney (16-0, 13 knockouts) won the Commonwealth bantamweight title by stopping Immanuel Naidjala in two rounds. A victory over Kono would get him closer to a world title fight and could potentially earn him a spot in the second season of the World Boxing Super Series.
For now, the 27-year-old boxer-puncher, who is rated No. 10 by THE RING at 118-pounds, is fully focused on his teak-tough opponent. Kono (33-11-1, 14 KOs) has only been stopped once – by pound-for-pound entrant Naoya Inoue – and this is a must-win fight for him.
“I’m really excited and motivated for my fight with Kohei Kono,” Moloney told THE RING. “Kono is a very tough and experienced fighter who has been at the top of the sport for a very long time.
“My coach Angelo Hyder and I have watched lots of footage and found many areas that we think we can exploit. I really respect Kono, but I honestly believe I am a better fighter in all aspects of boxing and, in the end, I think you will see the younger, hungrier fighter come out on top.
“This will definitely be the toughest fight of my career. I have been training extremely hard and I’m looking forward to showing everyone what I am capable of and proving that I am one of the best bantamweights in the world.”
Moloney is currently ranked IBF (No. 11), WBA (No. 4), WBC (No. 12) and WBO (No. 5). Having won a brace of regional titles, as well as the Commonwealth belt, the ambitious young contender feels that he’s on course to achieving his goal.
“Winning this fight should definitely help me progress in the world rankings which is very important to me,” Maloney said. “It is my dream to become world champion and we are now very close to making this dream a reality. I believe beating a great fighter and a former two-time world champion will certainly prove that I am ready for this opportunity.”
Moloney went back into the gym after his February 24 win over Immanuel Naidjala and kept his fitness at a high level.
As well as training with his twin brother, Andrew, a world-rated junior bantamweight, Moloney’s team brought over two Filipinos, John Mark Apolinario and Raymond Tabugon, who have similar styles to Kono.
Tony Tolj, who manages both Moloney brothers, recently signed both to multi-year contract and knows what’s at stake.
“This will be Jason Moloney’s biggest to date by far,” said Tolj, who previously worked with long-reigning featherweight titleholder Chris John. “Kono is a two-time world champion, it’s a huge honor to fight someone of his caliber.
“Should Jason be successful, it will be the best pathway to the prestigious World Boxing Super Series. Discussions have already commenced, and I am confident ‘The Smooth One’ will show the world what he is capable of.”
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