Jason Moloney: Naoya Inoue is exceptional, but no fighter is unbeatable
Talented Australian Jason Moloney will challenge Ring Magazine bantamweight champion and IBF/ WBA titleholder Naoya Inoue at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Moloney, who is rated No. 6 by The Ring at 118 pounds, is looking forward to testing himself against the big-punching Japanese star.
“It is a dream come true,” Moloney (21-1, 18 knockouts) told The Ring. “This is the opportunity that I have worked towards my whole life.
“My goal and my dream is to become the best bantamweight in the world and to become the best you must beat the best. This is the ultimate challenge and I feel that I am 100-percent ready for it.”
The 29-year-old is well aware of his opponent’s ability but he isn’t overawed. Moloney feels that Inoue sometimes overcommits with his offense and that will present openings.
“Inoue is an exceptional fighter with great speed and knockout power,” he said. “But all fighters have a weakness, and no fighter is unbeatable.
“I think Inoue is reckless at times and he is there to be hit. Obviously you have to be good enough to capitalize on these opportunities but I believe that I can do it.”
Moloney, who is priced as a 1-12 underdog by William Hill, is quietly confident he can upset the applecart.
“I love being the underdog and I love proving people wrong,” explained the challenger. “My confidence and belief come from 17 years of hard work and sacrifices. I’ve dedicated my life to this sport, all for this moment.
“Nobody works harder than me or makes more sacrifices than I do, so I will always back myself against anybody. I truly believe that I am about to achieve something very special.”
Jason and his twin brother, Andrew, flew to America in mid-May after some quick thinking by their manager, Tony Tolj. It took two days to travel to Las Vegas and they finally arrived on October 2.
“I am very fortunate and grateful that I have been given permission to travel and continue chasing my dream,” said Moloney. “The airports were very quiet and the plane was just about empty. We all had three seats each to lay down and relax which made the 15-hour [Sydney to San Francisco] flight much easier.
“My manager Tony did an unbelievable job getting us over to Las Vegas not once but twice this year. In a year when a lot of fighters have been inactive, I have had two incredible opportunities. I took full advantage of my first opportunity against [Leonardo] Baez and now I’m ready to do it again against Inoue.”
Some fighters have struggled to perform inside The Bubble without a live crowd, whereas Moloney excelled stopping Baez in seven rounds back in June. He feels that experience could benefit him against Inoue.
“I really enjoyed fighting in The Bubble and the fact that I have already been here and experienced fighting in this environment definitely gives me an edge,” Moloney stated. “Having fought as recently as June while Inoue hasn’t fought in 12 months is also an advantage for me, but I am expecting and preparing for the very best of Inoue.
“Baez was a really good fight for me to prepare for Inoue; a tough seven rounds against a strong, solid fighter and proof that I can perform well on the big stage. I feel that I learned a lot from this fight, and I feel like I have made some big improvements since. I haven’t shown my full potential yet, this is my time to shine.”
Tolj knows his fighter is up against it but pointed out they have history on their side.
“This is a massive opportunity for Jason,” said Tolj. “It will be the first time an Aussie has won The Ring Mgazine title [in the ring] since Johnny Famechon in 1969. It will be historical, like the legendary Lionel Rose and Fighting Harada [bout].”
Inoue turned professional in 2012. Since then the “Monster” has lived up to his moniker, devouring all before him en route to claiming world titles at 108, 115 and 118 pounds. Last time out, Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) defeated Nonito Donaire (UD 12) to win the WBSS tournament in a bout that was later named The Ring Magazine Fight of the Year for 2019. The 27-year-old also holds impressive wins over Omar Narvaez (KO 2), Jamie McDonnell (TKO 1), Juan Carlos Payano (KO 1) and Emmanuel Rodriguez (TKO 2).
*Editor’s note: Australian national Kostya Tzsyu was upgraded to Ring Magazine champion in 2002.
Inoue-Moloney, plus Ewa Brodnicka-Mikaela Meyer, will be broadcast on ESPN in America and FITE in the U.K.