Jason Moloney outpoints Saul Sanchez in first world title defense

Jason Moloney made a successful first defense of his WBO bantamweight world title Saturday against Saul Sanchez

Moloney fought Sanchez on the undercard of the Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith event at the Center Videotron in Quebec City, Canada, in an action packed matchup.

For Moloney, it was a debut defense of the WBO title. Sanchez, meanwhile, returned to the ring off a victory over the previously undefeated RV Deniega in October, 2023, in Japan.

The first round saw was even and uneventful for the first 90 secnonds. Then, Sanchez threw a big body shot which roused the crowd, but Moloney kept his guard tight to thwart the shot.

Moloney landed a right hand to kick off the second, but was happy to work off the back foot thereafter. Sanchez hit Moloney with a left hook, and returned with an uppercut that split the guard. Sanchez landed a big uppercut in the final 30 seconds that shook the Australian, but the champion took it well. It was a clear Moloney round until Sanchez landed the big uppercut. 

Round three saw Moloney start quickly behind the jab, but it was a scrappy round that saw him take a cut to the right eye. The Australian was hit clean with a big right hand — a poor round for the champion. 

Both men landed body shots to open the fourth, but it was Moloney who took firm control of the round from there.

The champion continuously caught Sanchez with clean right hands that saw the American struggle to see the bell. Sanchez was stopped in his tracked as Moloney caught him with an overhand right. Moments later, Moloney had him serious trouble on the ropes as he landed lefts and rights.

In the opening seconds of round six, Sanchez caught Moloney with a glancing uppercut, which the Aussie answered back with a right to the body moments later. Moloney landed a left right combination that saw a rare non reply from Sanchez. Sanchez landed a body shot that saw a response with a combination upstairs. Both men were having success in a competitive bout.

The seventh saw another action packed three minutes. Sanchez landed two good uppercuts roughly 20 seconds apart to close the round. Round eight began with Sanchez landing a left hook, but his power appeared to have begun to fade. Moloney landed a neck-snapping double jab in response. Moloney dug in a big uppercut to the mid section with a minute to play, and again pinned Sanchez to the ropes to land another big right hand. 

The ninth was scrappy with both men tangled up for large portions of the round. Sanchez attempted a crowd pleasing uppercut attack, but the champion did well to guard the attack. Moloney landed a right followed by a left, again working his opponent on the ropes. 30 seconds later and Moloney landed a big uppercut that hurt his man, the champion took the round.

The action slowed in the tenth as Moloney worked well behind the jab. Sanchez’s output had vastly depleted as the champion outworked his adversary. Moloney came chasing forward to end the round in good fashion landing a multiple shot combination that sent Sanchez back to the ropes. It was now the Australian’s fight to lose. 

In the eleventh Moloney kept the output and work rate high. Sanchez was landing a single jab compared to three and four shot combinations from Moloney. The two men traded left hooks in quick succession, where Moloney came out on top. The pair went toe-to-toe for the final thirty seconds of the round which saw the Quebec crowd applause on their feet. Moloney looked intent on walking down his American rival, he took a few right hands for his troubles. 

Both men came firing out of the blocks to open the twelfth and final round. The pace did slow after 40 seconds as Sanchez did attempt a big push to end the fight. The pair again went toe-to-toe in a scrappy ending to the bout, with Moloney covered in blood from the cut on his right eye. They both gave everything right until the final bell to the delight of the applauding Quebec crowd.

The scorecards read: 114-114 and two scores of 116-112 to see Moloney retain his WBO bantamweight world title with a majority decision win. 

Moloney’s record improves to 27-2 (19 KOs) and he is now undefeated in six fights. Sanchez returns home with his record moving to 20-3 (12 KOs).