Nakatani KOs Moloney, wins WBO 115lb title

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Photo: Emily Harney

By Miguel Maravilla at ringside

In a clash for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight world title, undefeated former WBO flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (25-0, 19 KOs) brutally knocked out former world champion Andrew Moloney (25-3, 16 KOs) in the twelfth round on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Nakatani dropped Moloney in round two, round eleven, and then laid him out with moments left in the fight. Time was 2:42.

Off to a fast start, Nakatani broke ground in the second as he dropped Moloney by connecting with a right uppercut. There was a clash of heads in the third round as Nakatani suffered a cut on his left eye. Keeping his composure, Nakatani boxed and was connecting with the straight left and countering. The cut appeared to be under control as Nakatani appeared fresh boxing away as Moloney attempted to work inside.

In the fifth, Moloney appeared to be getting some momentum working his way inside and connecting but Nakatani continued to connect short on the inside. Moloney appeared to be getting some ground in the sixth as worked his way inside clinching the long armed Nakatani and backing him to the ropes. Past the halfway point in the seventh, the referee momentarily stopped the action as the tape was loose on Naktani’s glove. The fight continued as Moloney and Nakatani fought on the inside. Momentum appeared to be favoring Moloney and in the eighth Nakatani seemed slower as the former world champion kept pressing the fight.

Nakatani appeared to momentarily stagger Moloney in the ninth. Late in the fight in the tenth round, Nakatani worked off the jab and worked short inside as Moloney kept pressing. A straight left by Nakatani sat Moloney down in the eleventh. He was up quickly and continued to fight. However, a vicious overhand left by Nakatani in the twelfth put Moloney out cold forcing the referee to immediately stop the fight at 2:42 of the final round.

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  • That was absolutely BRUTAL! Best wishes to Moloney, I hope that he is alright! After Inoue, after Ioka, Nakatani got next. There’s the next great Japanese fighter. That was a great performance. He started great, Moloney warmed up and pressed him and then Nakatani adjusted and did what he had to do close the show.
    And how about Rudy Hernandez after all these years still producing world champions. He has a great one here.

  • Two different weight champions (112 & 115 lbs.), very effective with uppercuts and the left hook at 2:42 of the 12th round was too much for a valiant Moloney

  • Nakatani is a fun fighter to watch, I think he’ll bring a lot of excitement to a division that usually lacks power.

    Moloney fought his heart out and it was sad to see he didn’t become a champion with his brother. I hope he recovers quickly.

    Great fight

  • A Meldrick Taylor scenario here.Maloney has likely had everything knocked out of him in this fight unfortunately. I hope he retires ……As George Foreman always says, “Never follow a puncher around”

    An so it was and so it is

  • Just watched the highlights on YouTube….Wow!! That was a monstrous left punch! I think the corner should have stopped it at the end of the 11th. Punches like that are career ending. Congrats to Nakatani and God bless Moloney he is okay!

  • The fight should have been stopped in the 11th round. The losers corner, the ref., doctor must learn from this mistake.

  • I hope maloney is OK the other guy was a lot bigger than him. Just doesn’t seem right feel bad for him. He is one heck of a fighter maloney.

  • shades of ingemar johonsson after getting ko’ed by floyd patterson, watching moloney leg twitching as he was lying there, hope all is good with him, but boxing history proves that chin will never be the same.

  • Moloney is tough as nails. He was getting nailed hard for 12 rounds and kept coming. He had to be put out like that to stop him.

  • Do these trainers never teach their boxers how fight a southpaw . Walking onto the left hand all night ?

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