WBA ‘regular’ super flyweight champion Joshua ‘El Profesor’ Franco 17-1-2 (8) will make the first defense of his title in an immediate rematch with Andrew ‘The Monster’ Moloney 21-1 (14) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
The bout will be on the undercard of the WBO welterweight title fight between champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 36-0 (27) and challenger Kell Brook 39-2 (27).
Moloney entered the same ring holding the WBA strap at the venue back in June but after 12 hard-fought and fast-paced rounds left without the belt.
In that fight the 29-year-old Australian got off to a fast start, sweeping the early rounds. But American Franco, 25, made adjustments in the mid-rounds and finished the fight strongly, dropping Moloney in the 11th round to earn a close points decision by scores of 114-113, 115-112 and 114-113.
Will Franco continue to improve as champion or will Moloney get his revenge? Read on as we breakdown this intriguing matchup, knuckle down style.
Zack: Andrew Moloney is having his rematch with Joshua Franco for that slice of the WBA world title. Obviously, the first fight didn’t go down the way we thought it would go down. You and I did a Knuckle Down on that bout that we both spent quite a bit of time on. It was kind of difficult for us because we weren’t able to see Franco’s third fight against Oscar Negrete or his last fight in his move down to super flyweight. I have to admit I didn’t expect him to improve that much. I didn’t expect him to be that big and strong at the weight and it was kind of hard to get an accurate gauge of how good he was. Now that we’ve seen them in the ring together, we can gauge for ourselves their respective strengths and weaknesses and tactics going forward much more easily because it’s fresh in our minds. What sort of adjustments are you looking to be made from Andrew to try to reverse this decision over Franco?
Anthony: Just going back to their original bout, Andrew fought beautifully in the first half of the fight. He probably won four of the first five rounds there. I thought he probably just needed to change up his attack a little bit more. He’s a great pressure fighter and everything else, but I think he can become a little bit predictable at times. In saying that, I know both of his eardrums were perforated during the fight and that he has had issues with them before, so that wouldn’t have helped.
What I will say about Andrew though is that he had a rematch clause in place that lasts for six months and he enacted it very quickly. He knows he can do better and he was confident of that even in the immediate aftermath of that fight. Once again, if there was ever a time to feel a bit sorry for yourself, it was then. But he was already thinking about the rematch. The confidence of the Moloney twins to be able to match it at the top is phenomenal.
Zack: They’re world class, no doubt. Absolutely no doubt. But also how admirable is Andrew. He never made any excuses and simply said he wanted the rematch. What a sportsman, what a role model. You’ve got to love that attitude, no matter where you are from in the world. I always find it disappointing in any sport when athletes come out with an excuse immediately after a loss. Andrew Moloney is in the same vein of Luke Jackson after he fought Carl Frampton in Belfast when it didn’t go his way. I have not heard one excuse come out of his mouth. You’ve got to love that.
Anthony: It’s certainly an admirable trait to have. Both the Moloney twins have it, they’re not afraid of a challenge and they’re prepared to back up if things don’t go their way. I’m really excited for this rematch. I don’t know if Franco can perform any better than he did in that first fight, but I do get the feeling that Andrew can.
After weeks of action, Top Rank will look to step up its game. The first major title fight since March will be taking place
The main event will feature Andrew Moloney defending his WBA Super-Flyweight Title against Joshua Franco.
Moloney (21-0) won the WBA Super-Flyweight Title in his last fight against Elton Dharry back in November. Initially an interim fight, Moloney was named to undisputed champion shortly after. A former WBA Oceania Super-Flyweight Champion, Moloney has also held the Commonwealth Super-Flyweight and Australian Bantamweight Titles. He was the first fighter to show up to Top Rank’s Las Vegas gym along with his brother Jason.
Making his professional debut in 2015, Franco (16-1-2) was on a 13-fight win streak before losing to Lucas Emanuel Fernandez Leone back in 2018. “The Professor” has since gone 3-0-2 during that time. Franco’s last fight was a TKO-win against Jose Alejandro Burgos back in January.
The card will only have four fights due to Joseph Adorno being forced off due to an illness suffered during weigh-ins.
FIGHT SPORTS brings you live coverage of Moloney v. Franco: