WBA number four ranked bantamweight Jason “The Smooth One” Moloney 16-0 (13) takes another step up in class when he faces off against former two-time world champion Kohei Kono 33-11-1 (14) in defence of his WBA Oceania title at the Malvern Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia on the Hosking Promotions and Peter Maniatis Events “Bob Rose Cup” show on May 19.
“I am extremely honoured and proud to be the WBA Oceania champion,” said Moloney, who is also ranked WBO #7, IBF #12 and WBC #12 at 118-pounds. “It is a title which I am very proud to hold. I am also now ranked number 4 in the world by the WBA and getting very close to achieving my dream of becoming World Champion & I know that for that to happen, I must win on May 19.”
Japan’s Kono has twice won the WBA super flyweight title and is one of only two men to hold a victory over Japanese boxing royalty Koki Komeda – the other being Thai great Pngsaklek Wonjongkam.
“Kohei Kono is a two time world champion and will definitely be the toughest opponent that I have faced. Kono has only been stopped once in his career, which was to the highly rated Naoya Inoue which tells me he is also very durable. I think the aggressive, come forward style which Kono brings will make for a very exciting fight,” said Moloney.
The 27-year-old Moloney watched with great interest as Ryan Burnett retained his WBA “super” world bantamweight title against Yonfrez Parejo of Venezuela on the undercard of the Anthony Joshua versus Joseph Parker heavyweight unification clash at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium last weekend.
“There is no doubt that Ryan Burnett is a talented fighter but to be honest I wasn’t very impressed with his last performance,” said Moloney.
“Being the WBA super champion is definitely one of my ultimate goals so the fight with Burnett is a fight that we would love to take and it is a fight which we believe we would win.”
With talk of the bantamweight division being included in the next World Boxing Super Series tournament – and both Burnett and Inoue being tabbed as likely inclusions – Moloney is keen to shine against Kono to make a case for his own wildcard entry.
“I think the World Boxing Super Series is fantastic. Having the best fighters in the division all coming together and fighting off for the number one spot is exactly what the sport needs,” said Moloney.
“These tournaments are producing some great fights and bringing some real excitement for the fans.
“I would absolutely love to be involved in the tournament, it would be the perfect platform for me to show what I can do and make my mark on the bantamweight division.”