By Jake Donovan
Andrew Moloney’s effort to stay busy in pursuit of his first career title shot turned out to not last very long at all.
The unbeaten super flyweight prospect made quick work of late replacement Selemani Bangaiza, forcing the Tanzanian to quit inside of two rounds Saturday evening at Seagulls Rugby League Club in Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia.
Moloney came into the evening still riding high from his most recent win, an 8th round knockout of Miguel Gonzalez on the road this past March in Chile. The victory put the unbeaten contender directly in line for a shot at the winner of the June 29 clash between undefeated titlist Kal Yafai and Dominican Republic’s Norbelto Jimenez.
In biding his time, manager Tony Tolj sought to keep his client active and in a bit of a test while awaiting his shot at the next level. Those plans changed when originally scheduled opponent, Mexico’s Ruben Montoya fell out due to undlsclosed reasons.
The backup plan didn’t quite work out as expected.
“I trained extremely hard for this fight,” noted Moloney (20-0, 13KOs). It wasn’t the opponent we lined up for this fight.”
Bangaiza (15-6, 5KOs) was all smiles walking into the ring but had little to offer once the opening bell sounded. The bout was just his second outside of Tanzania, the lone other road trip taking place in South Africa. Saturday’s assignment was a significant leap in competition, which showed as he provided very little in the way of action.
Moloney remained poised, hoping to provide the local fans their money’s worth even in the wake of the mismatch. He had his foe hurt in round two, scoring with a body shot but couldn’t follow up with the knockout blow as his left hand was too heavy on the back of Bangaiza’s head, inadvertently pushing him down to the canvas.
It wouldn’t last much longer than that. Bangaiza went on the retreat, spitting out his mouthpiece as he was under attack. Referee Brad Vocale sensed that the visiting opponent wanted to be anywhere other than in the ring, waving off the contest.
The official time was 1:57 of round two.
“I’m sorry for all the people who flew in tonight,” stated Moloney, showing his class in apologizing for the early stoppage win, knowing that it came with minimal effort provided by his opponent. “I would’ve liked it to go a little longer and put on a better performance.”
He will undoubtedly get that chance later this year. Next for Moloney—whose twin brother and current bantamweight contender Jason Moloney fights in the evening’s main event—is a few weeks rest as he takes in title fight action later this month.
“I’m in the mandatory position for the (115-pound) title,” noted Moloney. “Hopefully that will come later this year or next year. That’s why we would’ve liked a much tougher fight.”
In the opening bout of the ESPN+ livestream, Mose Auimatagi Jr. scored his 12th straight win following a 6th round stoppage of Sydney’s Kerry Foley.
A series of left hooks did the trick for Auimatagi (13-1-2, 9KOs), a streaking super middleweight prospect from Auckland, New Zealand. The 24-year old connected with a left hook upstairs and to the body, the latter proving to be the beginning of the end for Foley.
Auimatagi didn’t give his wounded prey any chance of recovering, continuing with his attack. Another left hook forced Foley to collapse to the canvas for the bout’s lone knockdown—and also the final punch of the fight. Referee Justin Kennedy gave the fallen boxer a chance to continue but ultimately deemed him unfit to continue.
The official time was 1:21 of round six. Foley (19-5-1, 16KOs) has now dropped three of his last five starts.
It’s a complete reversal of fortune for Auimatagi, who stumbled out to a 1-1-2 career start before embarking on his current win streak.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox