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.