Top-ranked World Boxing Organization super flyweight Junto Nakatani of M.T Boxing Gym, unleashing a devastating counter left, demolished second-ranked Andrew Moloney of Australia in the 12th and the final round to win the vacant WBO super flyweight title on May 20 (21 Japan time) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The knockout of the scheduled 12-rounder came 2 minutes and 42 seconds into the round when the left-handed Nakatani landed a left hook to the head, sending Moloney down hard to the canvas. The referee waved off the fight immediately.
The damage of the 32-year-old Moloney was such that the Australian remained on the canvas for the time being. The 25-year-old Nakatani also scored knockdowns twice, each in the second and 11th rounds.
Nakatani, a former WBO world flyweight champion, got off to a good start by connecting with straight lefts and left hooks to the body and dropped Moloney in the second round with a series of left and right uppercuts for a mandatory eight counts.
Nakatani suffered a cut between the eyebrows due to an accidental head butt in the third round, and Moloney, a former World Boxing Association super flyweight kingpin, pressed forward by occasionally putting his rangy opponent against the ropes.
After they exchanged fierce blows midway through the fight, the undefeated Nakatani landed a rapid one-two combination to the head in the 11th round, putting Moloney on the seat of his pants. But the gutsy Australian struggled to his feet to beat the referee’s count, which set the stage for the devastating final-round stoppage.
With the victory, Nakatani extended his unbeaten streak to 25, including 19 KOs. For his part, Moloney now has a 25-3 win-loss tally with 16 KOs with one no contest.
The WBO super flyweight title was left vacant by Nakatani’s compatriot Kazuto Ioka of Shisei Boxing Gym in February this year as Ioka refused to accept Nakatani’s challenge. Moloney was then selected as Nakatani’s opponent for the title.
After the fight, Nakatani told Japanese reporters online by saying, ‘’The (KO) punch was a kind of punch that I have been bushing up. That’s why I was able to hit him without much ado at the right moment. I think I can praise myself in this respect. Now that I have become a world champion (again), I really want to have a title unification fight next, just like any other champion.’’
The other world super flyweight champions are: Joshua Franco of the United States (WBA);
Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico (WBC); and Fernando Daniel Martinez of Argentina (IBF). Photos by SUMIO YAMADA