On Saturday, Kal Yafai successfully retained his WBA junior bantamweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Israel Gonzalez in the exotic setting of Monte Carlo.
Yafai, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at 115 pounds, labored at times during his fourth defense and was extremely disappointed with his performance. Meanwhile, some 10,000 miles away in Australia, mandatory challenger Andrew Moloney was licking lips at the prospect of facing the Englishman.
“I have always been confident that I would beat Yafai, that is why I have talked about wanting this fight for so long,” Moloney (18-0, 11 knockouts) told The Ring on Monday. “But after watching Yafai’s performance, I’m more confident than ever that I have what it takes to win that world title.
“I thought Yafai was one-dimensional and he was very lucky to be given the decision. I personally scored the fight 117-112 to Gonzalez.”
But before any world title fight, the 27-year-old Moloney has to take care of Filipino southpaw Cris Paulino on Dec. 14.
“I am looking forward to finishing the year off with another victory and moving to 19-0,” said Moloney. “I hope that I can get Yafai early next year. I am happy to fight him anywhere, but it would be amazing to fight him on the Anthony Joshua card at Wembley Stadium (scheduled for April 13) in front of 100,000 people.”
Moloney’s manager, Tony Tolj, has taken both Andrew and his twin brother Jason to America for training camps in the past year for prospective world title fights.
Last month, Jason fought IBF bantamweight titleholder Emmanuel Rodriguez to a standstill in their World Boxing Super Series quarter-final meeting. Despite losing a narrow split decision, he came out of the fight with a lot of credit.
“You can’t teach heart, and Jason showed a massive amount of testicular fortitude in that fight,” said Tolj. “It’s always difficult to win in someone’s backyard but Jason adapted, overcame, improvised and dominated the last portion of his fight. He was very unlucky to not come away with the belt.
“Andrew’s last fight (Luis Concepcion TKO 10) was impressive, he just goes up another level every time. Team Moloney do not want easy fights, we want to make statements and fight the best. I believe Andrew will rise to another level facing Yafai, and the junior bantamweight division best beware, there is a monster on the loose and he’s hungry for some gold.”
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright
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