By: Ste Rowen
The Bendigo Stadium in Australia is home to men & women’s basketball teams, the Braves and the Spirit, and there was plenty of both on show in the heart of Victoria as Andrew ‘The Monster’ Moloney became only the second man to stop Luis Concepcion inside the distance in a rough but, perfectly executed performance that was sealed with a final round stoppage.
The WBA ‘Oceania’ belt was on the line but more importantly for the winner was a potential showdown, or rematch in Concepcion’s case, with current WBA super-flyweight champion, Kal Yafai.
From the noise in the crowd, it was clear who was the main attraction, but it was ‘El Nica’ who made the quicker starter. His familiar come-forward pressure style was the evident tactic from the start. Moloney did his best to keep the distance and obstruct Concepcion from achieving any success on the inside.
The fight followed a similar pattern for the next few rounds as the Australian kept his opponent away well enough to land his own frequent power punch combinations. The former WBA champion followed Moloney around the ring but, like in past bouts, Luis’ accuracy was seriously lacking.
By the 4th, Andrew’s confidence was quickly rising. His constant movement, frequency and accuracy of the WBA ‘Oceania’ champ’s punches were undoubtedly winning him the rounds, even if the 32-year-old never seemed discouraged in coming forward. Towards the end of the same round, as ‘The Monster’ laid an onslaught on Concepcion, ‘El Nica’ kept swinging, kept trying to come forward.
The unbeaten fighter’s chin was tested at times, notably a short-left hand landing cleanly in the middle rounds, but the 27-year-old seemed to be relatively comfortable as the latter rounds passed by in this scheduled 10-rounder.
It’s hard to tell whether Concepcion, 37-6 (26KOs), upped his game at the beginning of the final round due to the fast pace he always fights at. In the last 3 minutes, ‘El Nica’ will no doubt have sensed he was down on the cards, but the white and gold shorts Moloney entered the ring in, matched his performance overall and with just over 60 seconds left of the 10th, his constant teeing off on Concepcion’s head with beautiful left and right hooks, forced the referee to step in and end the bout early.
With his manager, Tony Tolj talking about trying to get Moloney on the Superfly 3 card this week, and his twin brother, Jason set to fight IBF bantamweight champ, Emmanuel Rodriguez in the World Boxing Super Series, kicking off in October, Andrew, now 18-0 (11KOs), knew how important a win tonight was to keep him in people’s minds going forward.
‘‘We executed the game plan perfectly…I’m number 4 now so I hope I get the shot at Kal Yafai…I’m coming for that belt.’’
‘‘I can box on the back foot or the front foot. We knew how good Concepcion was…It was a very tough fight. We did what we had to do to win.’’
Tim Tszyu vs. Marco Jesus Cornejo
Today’s main event in Bendigo was a junior middleweight bout as Tim Tszyu took on Marco Jesus Cornejo, 19-3 (18KOs). Tszyu, who entered the ring 10-0 (8KOs), was on the Argentine immediately, shifting to the centre ring and firing off a heavy jab to the body and head in single bursts.
Cornejo went into tonight on a 2-fight losing streak but nether that or Tszyu’s confident start stopped him from attempting windmill-esque right hands. Unfortunately, one of those wild shots signalled the early end to the night.
Marco missed wildly and left himself wide open to an accumulation of heavy, accurate right hands without reply and trapping him to the ropes, causing the referee to step in between the two boxers and call an end to the bout with around 30 seconds left of the fight, and Cornejo still on his feet.
This was Tim’s 4th fight of 2018 and the Australian is eyeing up one more matchup before the end of the year.