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Andrew Moloney targets Kazuto Ioka showdown for late 2022

Andrew Moloney (left) and Joshua Franco in their November 2020 rematch. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Fighters Network

World-rated junior bantamweight Andrew Moloney was an interested observer when Kazuto Ioka bested old rival Donnie Nietes at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Moloney, who is rated No. 9 by The Ring at 115 pounds, was suitably impressed by the outstanding four-weight world champion.

“The fight played out basically how I thought it would,” Moloney (24-2, 16 knockouts) told The Ring. “Nietes was a great fighter, but it seems age and inactivity have caught up with him. He doesn’t seem to be able to fight at a pace high enough for him to win rounds. Ioka was able to control the fight with his jab and keep a higher work rate than Nietes. Ioka didn’t take any risks and seemed happy to just coast to a points victory.”

Although the 31-year-old Australian didn’t score the fight, he felt Ioka did more than enough to win comfortably.

“I do feel that there was a few close rounds and moments were Nietes landed some good shots, but he was consistently getting outworked,” Moloney said. “Therefore, I would have given Ioka almost every round.”

Moloney would welcome the opportunity to face Ioka although he appreciates that the Japanese standout has other options.

“I have stated for a while now that Ioka is my target,” he said. “I have heard Ioka talk about wanting a unification fight next, but he may have to wait a long time for that to happen.

“I’m hoping he wants to stay busy and will have another fight while he is waiting. Hopefully that fight will be against me. It would be a great fight and it makes perfect sense to be on either the huge card in Australia with the George Kambosos-Devin Haney rematch, later this year, or in Japan on New Year’s Eve.”

Moloney’s long-time manager, Tony Tolj, hopes he can deliver this bout.

“Ioka is a quality fighter,” said Tolj. “He boxed very smart against Nietes and has been champion for a long time for a reason.

“Andrew is old school and just wants the best – anywhere, anytime. Japan and Australia have great boxing history, so let’s create another chapter. We are prepared to fight in his living room if he wants.”


Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright