Jason Maloney has been branded a “baby kangaroo” in a bizarre sledge ahead of a potentially life-changing world title fight against Vincent Astrolabio.
Australian boxer Jason Moloney is taking positive thinking to the next level, claiming the world title as his before he even steps into the ring with Filipino Vincent Astrolabio.
Moloney and Astrolabio will go toe to toe at Stockton Arena, California, on Sunday for the Vacant WBO Bantamweight World Title – his third crack at being crowned champion.
He declared on social media hours after his successful weigh-in, “tomorrow night I achieve my lifelong dream”.
“This means everything to me,” Moloney said in his pre-fight press conference.
“I’ve been boxing for nearly 20 years now and chasing this one dream of becoming champion of the world.
“It’s something I think about every single day of my life.”
Moloney is the owner of a 25-2 record with 19 KOs.
His most recent win was against Nawaphon Kaikanha in Melbourne last October.
“That fight was the perfect preparation for this one,” Moloney said.
“He was a strong, come forward fighter with experience and power and I handled him with ease, put on a boxing clinic.
“Now I want to go out and put out an even better performance and prove I’m the best bantamweight on the planet.”
Moloney’s only two loses both came in world title fights.
The first in 2018 was a controversial split decision loss against Emmanuel Rodgriguez for the IBF strap.
The second in 2020 against Naoya Inoue — a Japanese star, who vacated his title to move up a class in January.
Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KOs) was already throwing verbal punches at the press conference — presenting Moloney with a stuffed toy kangaroo.
“I will give it to Jason,” he said through a translator. “I have it because I think of Jason as a baby kangaroo.”
Moloney shrugged the sledge off – pointing out you “shouldn’t mess with kangaroos”.
The Filipino, managed and mentored by compatriot Manny Pacquiao, knocked out his last rival in the sixth round, having already knocked him down twice earlier in the fight.
Moloney doesn’t expect too much “cat and mouse” during today’s battle.
“You’ll get two hungry fighters in the ring; he’ll be coming to knock me out and I’ll be doing the same. It’ll be a cracker.”
Moloney’s twin brother Andrew will take on undefeated Japanese star Junto Nakatani for the WBO junior bantamweight belt in Las Vegas next Sunday (AEST).
Watch the title fight on Foxtel/Kayo Sports from 11am AEST Sunday.
AUSSIE TWINS ON VERGE OF BOXING HISTORY
When Jason Moloney and twin brother Andrew made the toughest decision of their lives six years ago, it was for the sole purpose of becoming boxing world champions.
Numerous roadblocks have been encountered, and two title shots have failed for each man, but in fitting style, the siblings with identical 25-2 professional records will fight for championship belts within seven days of each other in the United States.
Jason fights Vincent Astrolabio (18-3, 13KO) in Stockton, California on Sunday (AEST) for the WBO World bantamweight title, and then Andrew takes on undefeated Japanese star Junto Nakatani for the WBO junior bantamweight belt in Las Vegas the following Sunday (AEST).
There is a sense of fate about their journey.
“There’s a lot of sacrifices I’ve made to get to this position, I know once I win the world title then it’s all going to be worth it,” Jason Moloney said.
“When Andrew and I were 16, 17 fights in and undefeated, from the outside everyone thought everything was great.
“But as fighters ourselves, we felt we weren’t improving. We both have big dreams in the sport, and we knew we needed to be consistently improving and getting to another level to achieve those big goals.
“We made the very, very hard decision at the time to pack up our bags and leave our coach who we’d been with for seven or eight years.
“We spoke to both our partners and said we think we want to move, we need a new trainer. We went up and did a trial with Angelo Hyder in northern NSW and straight away, me and Andrew said, ‘This is where we need to be’.
“Northern NSW is a long way from our friends and family in Melbourne, but our partners supported us 100 per cent and we packed our bags and moved up, we’ve been there for six years now.
“We both brought two kids into the world, I’ve got two girls and Andrew has a son and a daughter, that sacrifice has just become harder and harder because we’re bringing up a family and our partners don’t have their family there to support them.
“And when we’re away for six, seven eight weeks at a time, leave them at home by themselves with the kids, it’s hard for them. The family don’t get to see their grandkids or their nieces and nephew very often.
“Every time they leave you see them upset, you see that pain and it’s because of your sacrifice, you’re the reason you’ve moved interstate. It’s always hard, but these are the sacrifices we had to make to achieve what we could in this sport.”
Moloney, 32, believes the pay-off will come over the next week.
“We’re finally here, I’m just hanging to get in there, I feel amazing and I can’t wait to get in there and perform at my best and become champion of the world,” he said.
“For us both to have these opportunities, one week after the other, over here in America on big shows and a big platform, we feel like we’re both at our absolute peak at the moment.
“The opportunities have come at the right time and we are ready to grab them with both hands and achieve something really special.
“I can’t wait for us to get this and make all the years of hard work pay off, it’s going to a really special moment for us as a family but also for our team, everyone that supported us and worked so hard to get us into this position.”
Jason Moloney (25-2, 19KO) has racked up four impressive victories since his stoppage loss to pound-for-pound great Naoya Inoue in 2020.