Monday, July 15, 2024  |


Jason Moloney: Losing to Vincent Astrolabio is not an option

Jason Moloney (right) on the attack against Aston Palicte. Photo by Top Rank
Fighters Network

Jason Moloney hopes the third time will be a charm when he meets Vincent Astrolabio for the vacant WBO bantamweight title, at Stockton Arena, Stockton, in Northern California, on Saturday.

Moloney, The Ring’s No. 2 rated bantamweight, has previously come up short against then-IBF titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez (L SD 12) and former Ring, IBF and WBA champion Naoya Inoue (L KO 7).

“Although losing those fights was devastating, those experiences have helped me become the much more complete fighter that I am today,” Moloney (25-2, 19 knockouts) told The Ring. “I learnt I lot from those fights and I have improved so much since those defeats.

“I feel great about the fight. This is the moment that I’ve been working towards for my whole life. I’m expecting a tough fight. World titles don’t come easy but, on May 13, nothing will stop me from having that world title wrapped around my waist.”

The 32-year-old Australian knows he won’t have things all his own way and will have to be at his best against the ever-improving Filipino.

“Astrolabio is in good form. He’s coming off two good wins and I’m sure he will be hungry,” said Moloney. “It’s every fighter’s dream to become world champion, so I’m sure he will be well-prepared.

“I think Astrolabio is a good fighter and seems to have good power but I think I’m a much better fighter in all areas. With the way I’m preparing and how I’m preforming in the gym, I don’t think he will be able to stay with me for 12 rounds.”

Moloney knows that, at 32, he’s starting to get up there in years for a bantamweight and there won’t be many more opportunities if he can’t make this one count.

“Although I still feel 25, I am aware that I am now 32 and the years are racing by,” he said. “I’ve got so much that I want to achieve in this sport and it all starts with the WBO title around my waist. Losing is not an option. This will be the start of a long and successful reign.”

Naoya Inoue (right) vs. Jason Moloney. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Naoya Inoue (right) vs. Jason Moloney. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

A lot has changed in the bantamweight division over the past few months. Undisputed champion Naoya Inoue vacated his titles to move up to junior featherweight, freeing all of the titles.

“The division has been left wide-open and I’m ready to become the new king of the bantamweights,” Moloney proclaimed. “I was ranked No. 1 by both the WBC and the WBO, so I was in a good position and had several options. I made it clear that I wanted to fight [Nonito] Donaire but Top Rank preferred the WBO route.

“I’m blessed to be with the best promoters in the world, who have guided and created some of the greatest champions we’ve ever seen. I trust Top Rank and followed their path. I will win this world title and hopefully the Donaire fight can be made in the future.”

Moloney’s long-time manager Tony Tolj is more than happy to go to bat for his fighters and that saw him spending several months on the road and in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now he is confident his fighter can repay his faith by becoming a world champion.

“We are old-school, literally anyone, anywhere, anytime,” explained Tolj. “During COVID, we moved Heaven and Earth just to be able to compete, with so many sacrifices made by everyone in the team. This is Jason’s time and May 13 will be the start of ‘The Mayhem Era.’

Moloney will start as the pre-fight favorite and this is his best and possibly last chance to win a world title. I expect that to spur him on to victory. It won’t be easy but Moloney will become a world champion at the third time of asking.”

Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KOs), The Ring’s No. 4 rated bantamweight, largely fought at home and was unbeaten through 10 fights before losing three out of five fights. He found some form to win four fights, against middling opponents, before his big break came against Guillermo Rigondeaux. The 26-year-old dropped the aging Cuban in the eighth and went on to pick up a 10-round unanimous decision. He has since kept the momentum going by stopping Nikolai Potapov (KO 6).

Moloney vs. Astrolabio and Zhanibek Alimkhanuly-Steven Butler will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.



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