Jason Moloney: Expects September/October return with Emmanuel Rodriguez at the top of his list

It’s been quite the ride for Jason Moloney in his search for a world title.

The Australian (26-2, 19 KOs) made his dream a reality when defeating Vincent Astrolabio for the vacant WBO bantamweight world title last month in Stockton, California. Moloney grabbed his belt at the third attempt after losing to Emmanuel Rodriguez in a split decision in 2018 and falling to Naoya Inoue in 2020. With a month now passed since his crowning moment talk turns toward, who will he face next?

“There are some great options out there.” Moloney said in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “As a fighter you just want to fight the best that is out there. I want to unify and work my way to becoming undisputed. The Rodriguez fight is the one that appeals to me the most probably just due to my competitive nature and because I want to get my revenge.” 

To add icing to the cake of Moloney’s recent success The Ring Magazine placed him at number 1 in their rankings. It could also lead to a fight that tops his list. 

“Yeah, that’s amazing.” You could hear the smile in Moloney’s voice as he continued. “Obviously it is unreal to be world champion, but I think that most hardcore fight fans really know that the Ring Magazine ratings are the most legit, the most respected and are the most unbiased ratings of the lot. I suppose when you are rated at number 1 by them you are the number 1 in the division. That’s what I think I am, I think I’m the best bantamweight in the world. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a young child, so hopefully it won’t be long until I’m The Ring champion. Hopefully we can add that belt to the collection very soon.

“They are also quite strict also. They usually only do number 1 Vs number 2, which is good, on most occasions unless there is a huge mega fight. They got me at number and 1 and Emmanuel Rodriguez at number 2. That’s a fight I want anyway because I want my revenge. If we are able to fight for my WBO belt, if he can pick up the IBF belt, which I believe he fights for next month and we get the Ring Magazine in there, we have a three title unification. That’s the number 1 fight that excites me the most at the moment. It was devastating when I lost that split decision to Rodriguez, but I guess it was the start of me fighting at the top level. That was five years ago now, I’ve learnt and developed so much since that first fight with Rodriguez. Even though I lost that fight narrowly, it did give me the belief that I knew one day I could be world champion.”

The bantamweight division has burst wide open since Nayoa Inoue’s inception from the weight class leaving all four titles vacant. His brother, Takuma Inoue picked up the WBA while Moloney snatched the WBO last month. Options are plenty as the champion recovers from a hand injury. 

“I haven’t got all my eggs in one basket with Rodriguez, I’m happy to fight anyone in the division.” Moloney added. “Now I’m the champion there will be a lot of people that want to fight me, I do want to be active and keep defending this title. My hand is getting better, I’m in a splint for another two weeks. That’s okay, I only just fought, so I would have had a rest for a bit anyway. I’ll be running and ticking along, then in two weeks I’ll get back into the boxing and I’ll be fighting before we know it. There was no long layoff or surgery or anything like that. The impression I’m getting is that I’ll be fighting later in the year, in September or October, whether that is a title defense or a unification, I’m not too sure. Unfortunately it looks like I’ll only get one more fight this year, which only totals to two fights for the year, but obviously we have to wait for things to play out to get the unifications. 

“I would really hope that we could do it in Australia if possible, but I’m happy to travel anywhere in the world. The UK is definitely on the bucket list too, I would love to fight there. But It is important for us to build at home to get the whole of Australia behind me as well. I can start headlining some big shows and fill some big stadiums over here too myself. Yeah, I really want to build that home support.”