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World Boxing Super Series Preview: Rodriguez vs. Moloney, Dorticos vs. Masternak


By: Ste Rowen

In Orlando’s CFE Arena, a venue normally associated with basketball, World Boxing Super Series season one semi-finalist, Yunier Dorticos of Cuba faces Polish cruiserweight veteran, Mateusz Masternak for the right to face Andrew Tabiti in the next round of the Super Series tournament. Alongside the cruiserweight’s second, the 3rd round of WBSS bantamweights get underway as IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez fights, Jason Moloney for the chance to face Naoya Inoue.

Yunier ‘KO Doctor’ Dorticos hasn’t fought since his Fight of the Year contender vs. Murat Gassiev last February. The Miami resident was brave, and emotional, in defeat eight months ago as he went tit-for-tat with then IBF champion Gassiev until ultimately, the Cuban was nailed with a wonderful counter left hook, shot from the hip, by the Russian and handing Dorticos his first professional defeat.

However, ‘The KO Doctor’ is far from down about that loss, if anything, going off the WBSS YouTube pre-fight documentary, Dorticos is more confident than ever,

‘‘Masternak? Master of nothing…Things are going to get really ugly for him.’’

‘‘I have to train to entertain…My style is aggressive, and I’ve always been aggressive… I respect my opponents as people, but I don’t respect them in the ring. I go out to get them.’’

Now 22-1 (21KOs), Yunier has no intention of changing his style this time around,

‘‘The defeat to Gassiev hurt, but when you get knocked down you get up again…Believe me, I am going to KO everyone in front of me this season…I’m here today because of a lot of sacrifice…No one ever gave me anything…’’

Mateusz ‘Master’ Masternak is 31 now but turned professional over twelve years ago. Perhaps defined mostly by his defeats, of which include the supremely talented, but injury-ridden Grigory Drozd and future Usyk opponent, Tony Bellew; Masternak does have victories over potential future hall of famer Jean Marc Mormeck, and twice winning against, his and Dorticos’ shared opponent, Youri Kalenga.

Currently 41-4 (28KOs), ‘Master’ recognizes the enormity of both the bout, and the challenge his opponent represents,

‘‘This is the most important fight of my career. It will determine whether I’m a world class boxer or a second league player…Dorticos is a great boxer. He made a great impression on the first edition of the tournament…But the odds aren’t stacked against me. If we do what we plan, we’ll be celebrating success.’’

It’s not just the Cuban juggernaut heading his way that Mateusz has to deal with. The Pole opened up about his struggle with long term spinal injuries but also, post-Bellew fight in 2015, problems with his vision,

‘‘Following the fight with Tony, I had crossed eyes…There was a problem when I turned my head, I had double vision. So, I saw two heads, so in order to be able to fight I had to change my boxing style.’’

‘‘I’ve been a professional boxer for 12 years, and my dream is to become the world champion. Never before have I been this close to achieving my goal.’’

The remaining quarter-finals to take place, both on the 10th November at Chicago’s UIC Pavilion, in the cruiserweight WBSS are;

Mairis Briedis vs. Noel Gevor
Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Maksim Vlasov

Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Jason Moloney

In the third fight of the 118lb World Boxing Super Series, IBF champion, Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Rodriguez comes up against undefeated contender, Jason Moloney of Australia.

When Rodriguez, 18-0 12KOs) faced Paul Butler for the vacant IBF 118lb title earlier this year, it was all but confirmed that the winner would enter the World Boxing Super Series. Extra motivation perhaps then as, the Puerto Rican dominated ‘Baby Faced’ Butler over 12-rounds to claim his first world honours and dream of being THE man at 118lb.

Now the man tournament favourite, Naoya Inoue, named the ‘‘…best fight for me’’, has the opportunity to impress the audience and maybe, the Japanese ‘Monster’,

‘‘It’s now or never…I’m in this to win. We’re not here just to make up the numbers.’’

‘‘We’re going to be fully prepared for Jason Moloney. We know he’s unbeaten. He’s the mandatory challenger and hungry to be the world champion, just as I was when I had the opportunity.’’

‘‘I know I have the tools to beat Jason Moloney and anyone else that gets in our way.’’

Jason Moloney, twin brother of superfly contender, Andrew, earnt his path into the WBSS thanks to a technical stoppage over Kohei Kono. Currently the Ring Magazine’s 7th ranked bantamweight, the Australian cut Kono via a punch in round 3, which subsequently forced the end of the fight as the same cut, above the left eye, led to the referee waving off the bout at the beginning of the 7th, with Moloney clearly ahead on the cards.

Fighting outside of Australia for the first time, Jason, 17-0 (14KOs), is keen to prove his place in the tournament isn’t down to good luck,

‘‘I know I am the underdog in this tournament…People write me off because they haven’t seen much of me yet but, that excites me…It doesn’t worry me who we’re fighting. Stylistically I think I match up very well with Rodriguez.’’

‘‘The fans can expect an explosive, entertaining, all action fight. It’s my time to show the world what I’m capable of…If I fight to the best of my ability, I’ll win the fight.’’

The winner of Saturday’s 118lb matchup will take on Naoya Inoue at the semi-final stage. The fourth and final bantamweight quarter-final to take place will be between WBA ‘Super’ champion, Ryan Burnett and future hall of famer, Nonito Donaire, in Glasgow two weeks from this Saturday. The winner of that bout can look forward to a fight with WBO titlist, Zolani Tete, who grinded his way to victory over Mikhail Aloyan last weekend in Russia.

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ESPN+ Boxing Results: Moloney Earns 10th Round TKO, Tszyu Stops Cornejo In One


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.

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ESPN+ Boxing Preview:Battle on the Goldfields 3- Moloney vs. Concepcion


By: Ste Rowen

This Saturday is packed with a number of intriguing matchups across the world, starting in Australia with the ‘Battle on the Goldfields 3’ card, headlined by exciting prospect, Andrew Moloney vs. former world champion, Luis Concepcion in a scheduled superfly 10-round bout.

‘Monster’ Moloney, 17-0 (10KOs), the current commonwealth super-flyweight champion, has been making moves since his 2014 debut. Though yet to fight outside of Australia professionally, the 2014 commonwealth gold medallist has picked up the OPBF, formerly held by the likes of Kohei Kono and Takuma Inoue; the WBA ‘Oceania’ and of course, the rainbow, Commonwealth title. And though he’s hit the canvas more than once, his unblemished record so far shows the grit the Australian will need in future fights.


Photo Credit: Andrew Moloney Twitter Account

Last time out, Andrew rose from the canvas to earn a 10-round unanimous decision over Filipino, Richard Claveras – a man who was then stopped inside 4 rounds two months later by Sho Ishida.
Speaking to ‘news.com.au’, Moloney is keen to impress this time out in a real step up of opposition,

‘‘Concepcion applies a lot of pressure on his opponents and throws a lot of punches…I need to be extremely fit for this fight and that is why I am training so hard.’’

‘‘I want to show everyone what level I’m at by beating Luis Concepcion and then we will set our sights on Kal Yafai…I have done my apprenticeship and I’m now ready to take on the best in my division.’’

His opponent on Saturday, Concepcion, 37-6 (26KOs), is just three fights removed from his 2016 loss to Kal Yafai for the vacant WBA super-fly strap, a belt the Panamanian held briefly, earlier that same year.

Since then, former ‘interim’ WBA flyweight titlist has scored two 2nd round KO’s over limited opposition in, Luis de la Rosa of Colombia and 17-9-1 (15KOs), Luis Carillo; either side of a 2017 unanimous decision loss to then, 12-2-2 (5KOs), Iran Diaz.

But despite the underwhelming run of fights since his last attempt at world honours, ‘El Nica’ is ready to re-establish himself as one of the world’s best 115lbers,

‘‘Fighting inside and out, we have things clear…I’m motivated to win the fight and seek to crown myself again.’’
‘‘I’m sure of the work we are doing to get out with the hand up.’’

Moloney has yet to step into the ring with a fighter of the calibre of Concepcion and the Panamanian’s erratic pressure style and wild power punches when he gets a sniff of blood, will certainly provide the perfect gateway fight to potential title bouts.
But if ‘The Monster’ is as good as he believes, and fights with the same confidence he’s displayed in his previous 17 bouts, Andrew will take great faith in the way the current WBA champion, Yafai handily dealt with ‘El Nica’ two years ago.

Also, on Saturday’s Bendigo card is, son of Kostya Tszyu, Tim, who, in his last outing just over a month ago, took less than two minutes to bizarrely knock out journeyman, Stevie Ongen Ferdinandus. The junior middleweight, 10-0 (8KOS), comes up against Marco Jesus Cornejo of Argentina in another scheduled 10 rounds.

Cornejo, 19-3 (18KOs), has fought and lost, twice already in 2018, dropping an 8-round decision to unbeaten fighters, Damian Jonk in April and then a subsequent 3rd round KO from Christian Mbilli a month later.

‘‘It’s been a very busy fight schedule, but that’s Timmy.’’ Tszyu’s manager, Billy Jennings told the ‘Bendigo Advertiser’. ‘‘One of the difficulties now is, with 10 fights for 10 wins, finding opponents.’’

‘‘When you look at Tim in what he represents in Australian boxing, he’s the marketers dream. He comes from a legendary family, he’s 10-0, clean-shaven, articulate and proud to be a fighter.’’

Northern Irish amateur standout, Conor Wallace will make his professional debut, taking on 19-71-4 (7KOs), Aswin Cabuy. The 21-year-old southpaw was unexpectedly deselected for the Commonwealth games earlier this year, which accelerated his intentions to turn pro. His Indonesian opponent on Saturday, Cabuy is a journeyman whose last victory came via DQ in 2016 against an 11-1, Andrew Green.

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