When the Moloney twins step into the ring for “Punches at the Park 6” at the Melbourne Park Function Centre on Saturday 21 October they could be excused for looking past their Tanzanian opponents.
The 26-year-old pocket-rockets who are both ranked in the world top ten in their respective weight classes are banging on the door of world title shots that could take place as soon as 2018.
Andrew Moloney, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the flyweight division, admits that the sibling rivalry is still going strong after all these years and says that the first one to win a world championship will have the ultimate bragging rights over his brother.
“I suppose it is a little bit of a race and in a way we are always super competitive, but hopefully we can both become world champion on the same night,” says Andrew, 14-0 (9 KOs) who is ranked number six by the WBA at super flyweight.
“That would be the ideal situation, but whether or not it works out like that, if he becomes world champion before me or vice versa, as long as we both get there in the end that’s all that matters.”
In a perfect world both boxers would win world championships on the same night says Jason Moloney, who is ranked at number eight by the WBA at super bantamweight but will be moving down in weight for his next fight to campaign as a bantamweight.
“That would be a dream come true,” says Jason 14-0 (11 KOs). “It’s a costly sort of event putting on a world title fight so whether we can both do it on the same night or not remains to be seen, but it would be a dream come true. But as long as we both get there in the end, all’s well that ends well. But that would be unreal if it was both on the same night.”
Before they zero in on their world title opportunities the twins must first get past their opponents at Punches at the Park 6. Andrew will be facing once-beaten Hashimu Zuberi 13-1 (3 KOs) while Jason is up against the experienced Julias Kisarawe 27-4-1 (14 KOs). Andrew will be defending his WBA Oceania 115lb title while Jason and Kisarawe will be contesting the vacant WBA Oceania 118lb title.
This week Andrew received news that the Commonwealth Boxing Council will sanction his fight with Zuberi for the Commonwealth Super Flyweight title after reigning champion Jamie Conlan stood down to accept a shot at IBF world champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines in November.
“I’m really excited about this,” says Andrew. “It was one of my main goals to be Commonwealth champion as an amateur and a pro so I’m super excited to have this opportunity.”
If Andrew wins he will join an illustrious list of Australian Commonwealth boxing champions, including Lionel Rose, Johnny Famechon, Jimmy Carruthers and Paul Ferreri in the lighter weights.
As the twins move to within striking distance of a world title shot they place their faith in their promoter Lynden Hosking, manager Tony Tolj and trainer Angelo Hyder to plot the right course to world championship glory.
“That’s up to my team, but it’s certainly exciting times now we’re getting so close,” says Andrew. “The plan is probably a couple more fights because when we do win the world title we plan on keeping it for a long time.
“I am confident I could beat some of the world champions out there tomorrow but when we win the world title we want to remain champion for a long time and look to unify the division, so we will probably take a couple more fights before we look at fighting for the world title.”
Jason is equally excited about what the future holds.
“In training and also in the fights I believe my performance has gotten better every time,” says Jason. “I’m really looking forward to finishing this year with a very impressive win. Training’s been going fantastic and I felt I’ve been performing really well in sparring – both here and in America – so if training is anything to go by, then I’m expecting a really impressive performance.
“I’m looking forward to moving on to 2018 and really taking another step forward and looking for the big fights where we can get ourselves right in contention for the world title.”
ANDREW “THE MONSTER” MOLONEY QUOTES
On moving down in weight to super flyweight: “I felt great. I actually ended up making the weight fairly comfortably in the end. I felt strong, the weight wasn’t an issue, so that’s where we’ll stay for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we can get a world title shot at super fly and unify the division. That’s the goal.”
On his next opponent Hashimu Zuberi: “We can only find one fight of his on the internet. He’s got a pretty standard style I’ve got to say, very orthodox, he’s a similar height to me. Pretty standard style, so it’s been a pretty standard preparation in the gym, just working hard and worrying about what I do and dictating the fight and hopefully we get the job done.”
On his recent two week training camp in the USA: “It was an awesome start to the training camp. We were back into training almost straight away after the last fight so we went over there and got started with our sparring. Both me and Jason got in some really good rounds over there. It was a great way to start the camp off. I did most of my sparring with a Mexican Olympian who’s now professional, named Joselito Velazquez. I got some great rounds in with him, which was really good. A lot of the other guys I sparred with were Mexican guys around my weight which was really good because here in Australia there’s not a lot of guys who are around super flyweight so I’m always sparring guys who are bigger and heavier and it’s a different sort of pace and different speed so it was definitely good to be working with guys my size. We’re definitely going to look at going over there a lot more in the future before each fight because the rounds we got in were priceless. They were great.”
On the difference between himself and the top boxers in the division: “To see the Super Flyweight card live was a real confidence booster. Just to see the top guys in my division live. When you watch them live you realise that they are human and they’re not that far above us. When you watch them on TV it seems like a whole different world, but when you’re there live you realise we’re not far off that and I came home really confident that I can match it with all the guys in the division.”
JASON “THE SMOOTH ONE” MOLONEY QUOTES
On moving down in weight to bantamweight: “I’m not there yet but I’m confident I’ll make it easy. I think it’s going to be a really beneficial move for my career. Moving down to bantamweight and looking through the top ten , top 15 rankings in all the sanctioning bodies, I’m pretty confident I can match or beat any of those guys. It’s a pretty exciting thing for us moving forward. When the team feels we’re ready in the next six to twelve months to have a crack at a world title I think I’ll be a real problem for all those guys and I’m looking forward to it.”
On his next opponent Julias Kisarawe: “I really don’t know much about him. With both mine and Andrew’s opponents we’re just given the names and we’ve done our best to research them but there wasn’t much footage available. It’s a complete mix up in style, neither of us has fought someone from Africa yet. They bring a bit of a different style, they’re always tough, hungry fighters. I’m sure they’ll provide a good test for us both. In terms of actually studying him or having any sort of gameplan in mind there isn’t really must for us to work off but we’ve just been concentrating on our training and making sure that we’re doing everything right in terms of our approach. Our training has been awesome and I feel like we’re really, really improving up here working with Angelo Hyder. Both Andrew and I are really enjoying the training and I think he’s happy with how we’re going as well, but most of all we’re really happy with how we’re going and improving and learning lots up here, so it’s been going great.”
On his recent two week training camp in the USA: “That experience was priceless. It couldn’t have gone any better really. We went over there hoping we would get some good sparring and straight away I was sparring Mick Conlan, Nonito Donaire, and a few other really good prospects coming up. That sort of work really does take you to another level and we’re hoping to get over there as much as possible. Obviously it’s not a cheap thing to do, but those sort of trips are just priceless in terms of the experience and I think it’s definitely what we need to do to take us to the next level and we’ll be looking to go over there as much as we can before every fight if it’s possible. You just can’t put a price on it. We both felt we came home better fighters for the experience and that’s what it’s all about.”
On when he will be ready for a world title shot: “It’s hard to say. As a fighter I’d like to say I would like to fight for a title tonight. But every fight we’re continuing to learn and improve and getting that really important experience under our belts. Next year is going to be a huge year for us both. I think we’re going to have some really tough fights. If a title eliminator or something comes along next year, that would be a dream come true. But we’ve just got to keep winning and getting ourselves up the rankings as high as we can so that we’re not just getting ourselves in the position to fight for the world title but getting ourselves ready so that when the time comes we can grab it with both hands and make sure we win.”
On what they hope to achieve in the sport: “That’s the good thing about our career, I think we’ve been brought through really well. Every fight it’s continued to be harder and harder and harder. We’ve really learnt on our way up. We haven’t really had any easy fights. We have been brought along well so that when the time comes we are ready. We don’t want to just be given this opportunity to fight for a world title only to get blown out of the water. When the time comes we want to win that title and as Andrew said hold onto it as long as possible. We would love to eventually unify the divisions and maybe even look to move up and become two-weight world champions. But at the moment the goal it just to become world champions. And once that goal is achieved we will set ourselves another goal even higher.”