Home Boxing News Joshua Franco outpoints Andrew Moloney to retain super flyweight title in trilogy...

Joshua Franco outpoints Andrew Moloney to retain super flyweight title in trilogy bout

Joshua Franco, right, defeated Andrew Moloney on points in their trilogy bout. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Joshua ‘El Profesor’ Franco 18-1-2 (8) retained his WBA ‘regular’ super flyweight title with a hard-fought 12 round unanimous decision win over Andrew ‘The Monster’ Moloney 21-2 (14) at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday night.

The scores were 116-112 across the board.

The bout was the third fight between Franco and Moloney in the past 14 months. Franco won the first bout by close unanimous decision with scores of 114-113 twice and 115-112 in Las Vegas in June last year after dropping Moloney late and finishing the stronger of the two. Moloney was cut in the fight and suffered two perforated eardrums.

In the return bout in Las Vegas in November 30-year-old Australian Moloney closed up Franco’s right eye with a left jab that referee Russell Mora incorrectly ruled came from a headclash. The fight was stopped after two rounds and rule a no contest.

“I think the whole world knows that belt deserves to be around my waist at the moment,” Moloney told Fox Sports Australia ahead of the bout. “It was a no contest but he walked away with the belt. He knows he didn’t deserve it and I think he is going to be very determined this weekend but as am I.

“For the last nine months I’ve had to watch him basically claim he is the champion and walk around with that belt that I know should be mine.”

Moloney didn’t get any favours from referee Jack Reiss in the third bout either. The Californian ref constantly admonished Moloney for holding in close despite Franco doing the same.

After a close opening round Moloney got his jab working in the second and began attacking the body with venom. But Franco methodically worked his way back into the fight in the middle rounds before appearing to be knocked down by a Moloney right hand in the seventh.

Referee Reiss called for a video replay that showed Moloney miss with his punch and the knockdown call was overturned.

Franco found his range and timing in the back half of the fight, landing punches with both hands from mid-range where he typically does his best work. Moloney abandoned his jab and his workrate waned as Franco finished over the top of him.

Ahead of the fight the 25-year-old Franco of San Antonio, Texas who boxes out of Los Angeles, California, said he wanted an eye-catching win to remove all doubt from their second bout.

“Winning this fight and making the statement I want to make will open up bigger doors for me,” Franco said.

“[The second fight] was only two rounds. Two rounds don’t really show much. To me, the fight was going the same way as the first fight, but that’s why we’re making the third fight, to take care of business. I’m ready for that.”

On the undercard bantamweight contender Jason ‘Mayhem’ Moloney 22-2 (18) scored a clear-cut points win over Joshua ‘Don’t Blink’ Greer Jr 22-3-2 (12) over 10 rounds by scores of 98-92 twice and 96-94.

American Greer, 27, started well in the opening two frames but Moloney took over in the third and never looked back. The 30-year-old Australian had Greer’s right eye messed up from his left jab and hook by the middle rounds, but it was never a factor in the fight.

Moloney was able to push Greer back and outmuscle him on the inside, while also using his physicality to dictate distance and range.

It was Moloney’s first fight back since being stopped in seven stanzas by pound-for-pound level fighter and WBA and IBF 118-pound champion Naoya ‘The Monster’ Inoue 21-0 (18) in October last year.

Moloney was just the second fighter after future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire to get past the halfway mark against the Japanese phenom since 2016.