Promoter Kalle Sauerland has heaped praised on world title contender Jason Moloney 17-1 (14) who lost a razor-thin split decision to IBF bantamweight champion Emmanuel Rodriguez 19-0 (12) in the quarterfinal of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) at the CFE Arena in Orlando Florida on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old Australian finished the fight strongly to lose by scores of 115-113 twice to the Puerto Rican champion, while the third judge had the challenger ahead 115-113.
Sauerland, Comosa’s chief boxing officer, was impressed with what he saw.
“This is a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender,” said Sauerland, the mastermind of the WBSS tournament. “Congrats to Rodriguez and what a challenge from Moloney. He doesn’t have to worry; he will become world champion very soon.”
Moloney overcame a fast start from Rodriguez to force his way into the fight in the mid-rounds. From the eighth round on it was all Moloney, who displayed superior conditioning and tenacity to put the fading 26-year-old to the sword.
The result announced Moloney’s arrival on the world stage but it wasn’t enough to get him the nod.
“I am devastated,” said Moloney after the fight, who believed he did enough to win. “After the fifth round I came on very strong and I believe I won most if not all of the remaining rounds. I hope I can achieve my dream and become world champion very soon.”
Rodriguez, who was making the first defence of the world title he won against Paul Butler in London in May, applauded Moloney for his effort.
“It was a tough and close fight but I saw myself winning,” Rodriguez. “Thanks to Moloney for bringing out the best in me!”
Rodriguez will now face Japanese powerhouse Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue in the WBSS semi-final in early 2019.
“Congratulations to Rodriguez,” said Inoue, who was ringside to scout his next opponent. “I am looking forward to a spectacular semi-final.”