Naoya Inoue’s return to the United States has now become the night of the bantamweights.
A supporting act has been added to Inoue’s three-belt unification clash with Johnriel Casimero, providing a scenario where the winners could meet down the road. Jason Moloney and Joshua Greer Jr. have agreed to terms for a clash that now puts four of the 10 best bantamweights in the world on the same April 25 show, airing live on an ESPN platform from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Nevada.
Even promoter Top Rank Inc. confirmed the news to BoxingScene.com, with the development first revealed on social media by The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger.
"Obviously because of the status of the main event, this slot fits perfectly for so many reasons,” Carl Moretti, vice president of operations for Top Rank told BoxingScene.com. “In the ring, we can expect a highly competitive fight in a true 50/50 battle.”
Australia’s Moloney (20-1, 17KOs) was angling for a title fight in 2020, along with twin brother Andrew who is a current unbeaten junior bantamweight contender. Both will have to wait at least one more fight for such an opportunity, with Jason Moloney looking to extend his current three fight win streak.
The twin brothers appeared on back to back shows together in their native Australia in 2019, their most recent respective appearances marking the 17th such occasion where they’ve shared a bill. The bantamweight Moloney picked up his third straight knockout in as many fights, stopping Dixon Flores in two rounds with hopes of getting his second career title shot. His lone loss came in a narrow points loss to then-unbeaten Emmanuel Rodriguez in their October 2018 title fight in Orlando, Florida.
With this opportunity comes Moloney’s second career ring appearance in the U.S.
Like Moloney, Greer (22-1-1, 12KOs) enjoyed a three-win campaign in 2019, although in far more competitive bouts. The streaking contender from Chicago survived a knockdown to drop and stop Giovanni Escander last January, setting up a title semifinal eliminator for his next bout. Greer was considered fortunate to have escaped with a 12-round split decision over Nikolai Potapov last July, and similarly had his hands full in a tightly contested 10-round nod over Antonio Nieves last October.
The pair of bantamweights are highly ranked among all four major sanctioning bodies and are considered perennial Top 10 contenders (both are rated by ESPN.com and The Ring, with Moloney also the #8 contender as recognized by Transnational Boxing Ratings Board (TBRB), with Greer just outside the Top 10). Despite their lofty rankings, nothing is officially at stake for their supporting bout, although a major prize lies immediately ahead with the bout directly in front of them,
“Winner clearly puts himself into the title shot picture with the winner of main event,” notes Moretti.
Japan’s Inoue (19-0, 16KOs) makes his Top Rank debut in the evening’s headliner. The three-division and reigning World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight titlist enters his second straight unification bout versus Philippines’ Casimero (29-4, 20KOs), also a three-division titlist thanks to his recent knockout win over exiting champ Zolani Tete last November.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox