Moloney no baloney
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 9, 2019 - 12:00am

STOCKTON – When Top Rank chairman Bob Arum mentioned that Moloney will be IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas’ next challenger if he turns back No. 1 contender Ryuichi Funai, I thought it was the Australian who recently figured in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) bantamweight quarterfinals against Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez.

I had a chance to chat with Arum during the weigh-in the day before Ancajas stopped Funai in the seventh round at the Stockton Arena here. The first thing that entered my mind was Jason Moloney would drop down to superflyweight.  Moloney lost a split decision to Rodriguez in the WBSS quarterfinals last October and suffered the first setback in his career.

But when I checked it out with Las Vegas international matchmaker Sean Gibbons, he said Arum had Moloney’s twin brother Andrew in mind. So it was a case of mistaken identity. Andrew, 28, is known as The Monster and has a record of 19-0, with 12 KOs. He was a gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games as an amateur and turned pro that same year. Andrew has made it a habit to victimize Filipino fighters as 11 of his wins came at their expense. The cast of Filipinos who’ve bowed to Andrew lists Richard Claveras, Rene Dacquel, Raymond Tabugon, Renoel Pael, Jether Oliva, Markquil Salvana, Cris Alfante, Roberto Lerio, Ronerex Dalut, Nilben Lottila and Jonathan Ligas. Five of the 11 lost by knockout.

Andrew competed in three AIBA World Championships without bagging a medal. As a pro, he now holds the WBA Oceania and OPBF superflyweight title belts. Andrew is ranked No. 2 by the WBA, No. 3 by the WBC and No. 6 by the IBF.   He is trained by Angelo Hyder and works in the gym with his brother Jason, Billel Dib and Bruno Vifuaviwili. Andrew said his goal is to become the world champion this year. Dib, 29, is the WBO Oriental superfeatherweight champion from Australia while Vifuaviwili, 23, is the IBF Pan Pacific superfeatherweight titlist from Tanzania.

Andrew has a contract with Top Rank and Gibbons said if the fight with Ancajas pushes through, it won’t be in Australia where Manny Pacquiao got a taste of home cooking against Jeff Horn in 2017. 

A fighter whom Top Rank recently gave up is heavyweight Andy Ruiz. Early this year, Ruiz paid out his Top Rank contract for a reported $250,000 to move to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions stable. Ruiz, 29, lost a majority 12-round decision to Joseph Parker in a bid for the vacant WBO heavyweight crown in 2016 but has since won three in a row.

Last week, Ruiz got the nod to challenge WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua of England at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1 as a late replacement for Jarrell Miller who failed three drug tests administered by VADA and has been suspended for six months. What a twist of fate for Ruiz who called it a “life-changing” opportunity to earn a purse of about $7 million. Paying off Top Rank turned out to be a wise investment.

Joshua, 29, has been a world champion since 2016 and boasts a record of 22-0, with 21 KOs compared to Ruiz’ 32-1, with 21 KOs. It will be Joshua’s US debut. Ruiz is out to become the first-ever Mexican world heavyweight champion. Notorious for being overweight, he scaled 297 1/2 pounds in his pro debut in 2009. Ruiz weighed 262 in his last bout while Joshua was 245 1/4. Ruiz’ trainer is Manny Robles and he has worked with body-sculptor Memo Heredia.

BOXING JERWIN ANCAJAS RYUICHI FUNAI
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