There was a time where Andrew Moloney was willing—however begrudgingly—to sit and wait for his due to shot at a major title.
That waiting period has officially ended now that Kal Yafai is once again in need of a next opponent.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Moloney plans to exercise his mandatory contender status in efforts to secure a direct shot at England’s Yafai (26-0, 15KOs) for his first fight of 2020. The undefeated Brit was due to enter a unification bout versus Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada (40-3, 27KOs), the lineal 115-pound king and World Boxing Council (WBC) titlist who suffered a hand injury which has forced him out of their planned Jan. 30 unification clash in Miami, Florida.
Yafai holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) title, while Australia’s Moloney is the sanctioning body’s top contender and interim titlist.
“We want that fight,” Tony Tolj, Moloney’s longtime manager told BoxingScene.com on Tuesday.
Without the benefit of a unification clash versus Estrada, there is little wiggle room for Yafai to avoid next honoring his mandatory. According to a previous WBA ruling, Moloney is owed the title shot by no later than March 22, 2020.
Moloney (21-0, 14KOs)—whose twin brother Jason is a top-rated bantamweight contender—became the number-one contender to Yafai’s title following an 8th round knockout of Miguel Gonzalez in their title eliminator this past March on the road in Chile. The unbeaten Aussie—who turns 29 in January—had to wait out Yafai’s first mandatory defense, a 12-round win over Dominican Republic’s Norbelto Jimenez this past June which left him with an assortment of injuries.
Yafai’s promoter, Eddie Hearn made it well known his plans to move his titlist towards a unification bout with Estrada, whom Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing inked to a co-promotional pact earlier this year. The bout was targeted for December, then pushed back to a planned pre-Super Bowl boxing event in Miami, only to now hit another postponement after Estrada once again heads towards the injured list.
Moloney has since added an interim title to his collection, overcoming a stiff-challenge from Brooklyn-based contender Elton Dharry to score a 9th round stoppage this past November at home in Melbourne, Australia. The bout was his second since inking a co-promotional pact with Top Rank earlier this summer, and with now with every intention of his next bout coming versus Yafai, who no longer has an alibi to look elsewhere.
“I worked my way up the rankings, beat (former flyweight titlist) Luis Concepcion in far more convincing fashion that Yafai did,” Moloney noted to BoxingScene.com. “I flew to Chile for an eliminator and knocked out the number-two contender (Gonzalez). I just won the interim title against [Dharry], the number-five contender in the world.
“What more do I have to do? I’m grateful to the WBA for those opportunities and am now ready to challenge for the world title. Let’s make this fight happen.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox