Australian Jason Moloney [17(14)-0] will join Belfast’s WBA champion Ryan Burnett, IBF champ Manny Rodriguez, WBO titlist Zolani Tete, and Japanese star Naoya Inoue who is still to be officially confirmed.
Moloney enters as the IBF mandatory challenger and, as part of the deal, will face Rodriguez in the quarter-finals this Autumn.
The Puerto Rican will be one of four seeded fighters – and it is assumed Burnett will also be seeded – and will ‘pick’ Moloney at the Draft Gala in Moscow on Sunday July 22nd.
27-year-old Moloney hails from from Mitcham just outside of Melbourne and was a good amateur along with his twin brother and current super fly contender Andrew.
An Oceania gold medallist in 2010, he also competed in the Commonwealth Games that year in India scoring an opening round countback win over a young Mick Conlan.
Turning pro in 2014, he won a WBA Oceania title at super bantam in just his fifth fight before moving down and winning the same belt at 118lbs along with the Commonwealth title. In his most recent fight, in May, he defeated Japanese veteran Kohei Kono, stopping the former world champ on cuts after six dominant rounds in what was, by far, the best win of the career.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of the World Boxing Super Series. For me, this is a dream come true!” said Moloney.
“It has been my dream for many years now to become World Champion, it is something which myself and my team have been working very hard towards.”
“Now I will have the opportunity to achieve this dream and much more! We now have the opportunity to become a Unified World Champion, win the glorious Muhammad Ali Trophy and become the undisputed number one Bantamweight in the World.”
“I am going to grab this opportunity with both hands and I truly believe that we have what it takes to go all the way and win this tournament and become Australia’s next World Champion.”
“We are not in this competition to make up the numbers, We are here to shock the world!”
“Moloney is yet another exciting addition to Season II,” said Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer Kalle Sauerland. “He is one of the biggest prospects in Australian boxing and enters the world stage and Ali Trophy action full of confidence. He is clearly a very determined, power punching fighter. Eager to impress!”
Assuming the entry of Inoue, three slots remain up for grabs in the bantamweight tournament – which is one of three for next season alongside light welterweight and, according to reports, super middleweight.
While not confirmed by the WBSS themselves, one of these slots is believed to be filled by Russian Olympic medalist Misha Aloyan [4(0)-0] who was ‘announced’ by the head of he Russian Boxing Federation.
Other names rumoured in recent weeks include Reymart Gaballo, Nonito Donaire, Liborio Solis, Juan Carlos Payano and Luis Nery – while the postponement of the vacant WBC title fight between Nordine Oubaali and Tassana Sanpattan could perhaps allow this to become a WBSS quarter-final match-up and facilitate the eventual crowning of an undisputed champion.
The tournament offers a reported $4,000,000 to the eventual winner along with the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
While it may not crown an undisputed champion, with the division’s #1 and #2 Inoue and Burnett down to compete, the overall winner will become the first lineal bantamweight champion since Bernardo Piñango over 30 years ago.
26-year-old Burnett is keen for his quarter-final match-up to take place at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast and, with Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn winning purse bids for James Tennyson’s European super featherweight title defence versus Samir Ziani, it looks like there is another strong card forming for the venue which hosted Mick Conlan’s homecoming extravaganza at the weekend.