Andrew Moloney skims on an uppercut early in the fight. Picture: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty
Andrew Moloney skims on an uppercut early in the fight. Picture: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty

The ‘crucial’ blow that ended Aussie champ’s reign

AUSTRALIA is once again without a world boxing champion after a courageous Andrew Moloney lost his WBA super flyweight title against American Joshua Franco in Las Vegas.

Arriving for his US debut on an unbeaten run of 21 wins, Moloney started his first world title defence strongly but was slowly worn down by the aggressive Texan, who eventually earned a narrow points decision victory (115-112, 114-113, 114-113).

Despite dominating early, the 29-year-old Aussie was cut over his left eye in the 10th round, then dropped by Franco in the 11th - a moment which effectively proved the difference with two judges.

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While Moloney was not officially dropped by the flurry of punches, which included two big left hands, his golden-coloured gloves did both touch the canvas, which constitutes a knock down.

Still, the Aussie bravely hung in with Franco until the finish and believed he had done enough, raising his gloves after the final bell.

However after five weeks living in Las Vegas to prepare for the fight alongside twin brother Jason, who headlines his own card on Friday (EST), Moloney lost the gold strap by only the narrowest of margins.

Andrew Moloney (R) suffered a nasty cut over the left eye. Picture: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty
Andrew Moloney (R) suffered a nasty cut over the left eye. Picture: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty

Asked afterwards about the left hands that technically dropped Moloney, and saw referee Tony Weeks give him a standing count, Franco said: "It was crucial, I needed that.

"But I could also feel little by little that I was taking him down.

"I could hear him making noises. I could feel I was getting to him.

"I worked hard for this and I knew that hard work would pay off."

Joshua Franco poses with the WBA super flyweight belt. Picture: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty
Joshua Franco poses with the WBA super flyweight belt. Picture: Mikey Williams/Top Rank/Getty

The loss was undoubtedly a tough one to watch for brother Jason, who had accompanied his twin to the ring and watched the fight among the handful of officials and staff allowed inside the otherwise locked out venue.

A bantamweight ranked No.2 in the world, Jason will headline his own card against Mexican Leonardo Baez at the same venue.



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