From 0-10 to potential world champions: The stunning rise of the Moloney twins
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Jason and Andrew Moloney could both become world champions within a week of each other, a stunning feat for Australian twins who began their boxing careers with a combined 0-10 record.
Jason will get his third crack at a world title when he takes on Filipino Vincent Astrolabio for the vacant WBO bantamweight title at Stockton Arena in California on Sunday (AEST). A week later, Andrew will challenge undefeated Japanese fighter Junto Nakatani for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Jason (left) and Andrew Moloney will chase history in the next few days.Credit: Getty Images
The Moloneys are at the top of their game, sporting identical 25-2 records as they prepare for bouts that could define their careers. However, they got off to inauspicious starts: Jason lost his first three amateur fights, while Andrew began his career with seven consecutive defeats.
Those early setbacks, suffered while the siblings juggled boxing with AFL, only strengthened their resolve, to the point where they could return home as twin world champions.
“It’s a crazy story,” Jason said. “Thankfully, we made the decision to stick to boxing. People thought we were crazy at the time, we were 0-10.
“We just loved the sport, even though we weren’t so successful initially. We knew if we gave it 100 per cent, that we could turn the results around, which we did.
Jason Moloney and Vincent Astrolabio go head to head on Sunday (AEST) in California.Credit: Getty
“It wasn’t too long after giving footy the flick that we started being successful. We made it onto the Australian team, made it to the Commonwealth Games and found out pretty quickly that we could get the results we wanted if we applied ourselves, which we have done ever since.
“I think we are two of the most professional boxers in the game; we take this sport seriously and train hard, make all the sacrifices we need.
“We’ve been boxing for nearly 20 years and all of that hard work is about to pay off. We will get on the plane with two world titles.”
Jason’s only professional losses were in world title bouts: to Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2018, and to Naoya Inoue, arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, in 2020. The man dubbed “Mayhem” has subsequently won four straight to earn the No.1 ranking in the WBO division.
He has come a long way from the youngster who had to wait so long to have his hand raised in victory.
“It never felt like we were never not going to do well, but it started rockier than we thought,” Jason said. “The sport was harder than we initially thought, but we both had a belief we could be good at it.
“That rough start spurred us on to try even harder and stick at it. In the long run, it was a bit of a blessing.”
Japanese champion Inoue has moved up a weight class, leaving the bantamweight division without a king. Moloney is ready to fill the breach against a Filipino opponent coming out of the stables overseen by the legendary Manny Pacquiao.
Jason Moloney and Vincent Astrolabio, who mocked his Australian rival with a toy kangaroo at the press conference for their WBO bantamweight world title fight.Credit: Getty
“I’m just anxious to get in there, get the job done and win this world title, finally,” Jason said.
“It’s been a long time coming. This world title has been a dream of mine for so long.
“I came so close in 2018, nearly five years ago now. I came that close to achieving my dream and fell short, and I’ve then had to work and ride the roller coaster that is boxing for the next five years, to get back to this position. Third time lucky.”
Astrolabio, who has an 18-3 professional record, has other ideas.
“I’m very determined to take the belt home to the Philippines for my family, my country and my people,” he said. “I am prepared 100 per cent. I am very much ready for this fight.
“I have this stuffed kangaroo because I will give it to Jason. I have it because I think of Jason as a baby kangaroo.”
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