WBA ‘regular’ super flyweight titleholder Joshua ‘El Professor’ Franco 17-1-2 (8) believes he can knock out Andrew ‘The Barber’ Moloney 21-1 (14) in their rematch expected to take place in mid-to-late November.
In the first instalment of Top Rank’s shows at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, the 24-year-old Franco from San Antonio, Texas, won a close decision over Moloney on June 23.
Moloney, 29, of Australia started well in the fight, landing solid shots with both hands while he boxed from range.
But Franco found his range in the middle rounds and came of strong late in the fight, cutting Moloney over the left eye in the 10th and dropping him in the 11th en route to a unanimous decision victory by scores of 114-113, 115-112 and 114-113.
Moloney suffered two perforated eardrums during the bout and was taken to the hospital after vomiting in the locker room after the fight.
“That just shows what kind of heart he has,” Franco told The Ring. “He wants to fight again to try and get his [secondary WBA] belt back but I’m not gonna let him [get it back].
“I see the [rematch] going way different than the first fight. I don’t see it going 12 rounds.”
Due to the global coronavirus pandemic the fight took place behind closed doors, something Franco admits took a little adjusting to.
“It was really different being in ‘The Bubble’ and getting tested every day,” Franco said. “I didn’t let it get to me. I was there for a reason – I was really focused [on beating Moloney].”
The fight had an immediate rematch clause built into the contract providing it took place within six months.
There were initial discussions about the rematch being added to the card headlined by the lightweight unification bout between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez in October, but as those negotiations dragged on the fight was pushed back by a month.
“I’m not sure when the rematch is going to happen,” said Franco. “I haven’t gotten any word but I’m staying ready and if the rematch happens in 2020, then I’ll be more than ready.”
Moloney, who is the twin brother of bantamweight contender Jason Moloney, was shattered by the loss but insisted he can improve on the performance.
“It just wasn’t my night tonight,” Moloney said at the time.
“This was not the best version of Andrew Moloney, but full credit to Joshua Franco. He deserved to win the title with his effort. He closed the fight strong, like a true champion.
“I’ll be back. One loss won’t define me.”
Last month Moloney revealed his plan to take on Franco in an immediate rematch.
“I’m extremely excited to announce that I will be having a rematch with Joshua Franco,” he said.
“I want to say a huge thanks to Bob Arum and Top Rank Boxing for giving me this opportunity.
“I’m in hotel quarantine now and counting down the days until I can see my family, who I’ve missed like crazy.
“I can’t wait to get back to America and fight on the big stage again soon. I’m now more motivated than ever to get my world title back.
“I worked my whole life to get that world title and I’m now hungrier than ever to get it back.”