Andrew Moloney comes off a terrifying knockout defeat to Junto Nakatani this past May. The Australian came up short against the stylish Japanese for a vacant WBO super flyweight world title on the Devin Haney Vs Vasyl Lomachenko undercard in Las Vegas.
“I didn’t feel that bad after the fight to be honest.” Moloney said in an exclusive for ProBox TV. “The physical pain is never an issue, I can go through that with no worries, it doesn’t bother me, but it is just the mental pain and emotional pain after a defeat that has been challenging over the past few months. I’ve found myself thinking a lot about what could have been. Especially with Jason [Moloney] becoming world champion and just how good it would have been for both of us to have been world champions. It would have been something really special. It's always been a dream of mine.”
Moloney (25-3, 16 KOs) was undefeated in four fights ahead of the clash with Nakatani, spirits were high in the camp as the 32 year old geared up to face the undefeated former flyweight champion. Twin brother Jason Moloney had won the bantamweight world title against Vincent Astrolabio one week prior.
“Getting knocked out didn’t bother me that much, but I definitely felt like I let the team down.” Moloney explained. “I did feel also that I let my family down and myself down, there was just so much on the line that night. Even though we knew this was a difficult fight when it first got put to me, it was never a fight you would jump at but I would never turn down a world title fight. If I were ever to choose a style of an opponent, he is probably the last one on the list you would choose, a big tall southpaw. As the camp went on though we got really confident, I was so confident going into that fight that I felt like I was going to pull it off. I felt excellent the whole camp, especially in the final week. On fight night too, when I was warming up I really felt like it was going to be my night. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, so yeah, it was pretty tough to go through. It wasn’t that knockout that hurt me, it was not walking out with the world championship and coming home with Jason with a belt that hurt the most.
“From memory, I haven’t watched it for a while, it was around round 8 where he really started to get to me. There were a few rounds I was having some success in the middle of the fight, I remember having a really good round 7. Then in round 8 maybe he made an adjustment, maybe I took my foot off the gas a little bit. Yeah, he had a really good round 8. That really cost me, I let it slip. Which is a real shame, I thought what we were working on in the gym was starting to pay off. The knockdown in round 2 didn’t really hurt me, it was flush, it wasn’t a big shot. Even the knockdown in round 11, I didn’t think it was a big shot, I was pulling back and was off balance. Obviously the shot he got me with in round 12 was a bloody good one.”
Trainer Angelo Hyder came under fierce criticism from many in the industry for not pulling his fighter out sooner ahead of the 12th round knockout, including Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech.
“I thanked my corner and Angelo the next day for not stopping the fight.” Moloney continued, “I couldn’t have lived with thinking what would have happened if they didn’t let me out in round 12. I would have been wondering if I could have gone for it and pulled it out of the bag. There was so much on the line! If they pulled me out I would be full of regret thinking, what could have happened? I was really grateful they let me go out on my shield. And, if I wanted to get through round 12 and not try to win the fight, I could have. I remember going out for round 12 and thinking for a split second ‘do I box and move here and get through it?’ I thought ‘no, fuck that. This is everything I ever worked for.’ I had three minutes to get the knockout myself, so I went for it. It was a decision that I made myself. That’s why I got caught, I was a bit reckless because I was trying to get the knockout myself.”
It is always a tricky career move when coming off such a defeat. Moloney appeared open minded on, what’s next.
“I took a little while to get back sparring, I perforated my ears a lot.” Moloney added. “That took a while to recover. You know, I just wanted to look after myself after that fight. Obviously it was a bad knockout so I went to see a concussion specialist a few times just to make sure everything was on track, he gave me the all clear and everything was fine. I was back in the gym a few weeks after, but I left the sparring the full three months as recommended. The last few weeks I have been back sparring and trying to get myself back into fight shape so we lock in a date, hopefully soon and climb back up the rankings so I can join Jason as world champion. That has always been the goal.
“I’m hoping to fight in either November or December. I don’t really mind, I’m just desperate to get in the ring by the end of the year. I just want to become world champion as fast as possible. Whatever opportunities are available to get me there the quickest. I said to Tony [Tolj] and the team that I am open to moving down to flyweight if we can get there faster. I haven't made a concrete decision yet, but we are open to flyweight or super flyweight. Obviously I am not going to go straight into a world title fight now, but I still believe I can beat anyone in the super flyweight or even the flyweight division. Even if there was an opportunity to fight Nakatani again, I would take it. I’m still desperate to become world champion. I am finding it a little hard at the moment to not know which direction we are not going in, but we will make that decision in the next week or two. I am keen to test the waters at flyweight, there does seem to be more hype in that division.”