'Yafai is the fight I want next!': Andrew Moloney interview
After stopping Luis Concepcion, Australia's unbeaten super-flyweight contender Andrew Moloney tells James Lupton that he is now gunning for WBA champion Kal Yafai...
Australia is a country well known for its predators - snakes, spiders, crocodiles ... and Kostya Tszyu.
Now there’s a new monster in town - super flyweight Andrew Moloney.
Off the back of impressively stopping former WBA champion Luis Concepcion, Moloney is hunting down his next target, the current holder of the belt, Birmingham's Kal Yafai.
Twin to World Boxing Super Series bantamweight competitor Jason, Andrew has his sights set firmly on a world title shot. Funnily enough, as a child Moloney had no interest in becoming a boxer, it was, in fact, Australian Rules Football that was the passion in his household.
“Me, my twin and my older brother growing up were always into sport," Andrew told Boxing Monthly. "We were extremely competitive, especially me and my twin brother. We were always trying to be better than each other in everything that we did.
“We found boxing when we were about 12 or 13 years old and fell in love with the sport. Again we would try and outdo each other. We spent a lot of years sparring each other - being extremely competitive made us become better and better.
“Growing up it was mine and my brothers' dream to play Australian Rules Football professionally. When we got to 12 or 13 years old we decided to try boxing just to get fit for football during pre-season. I think we fell in love with boxing because unlike football being a team sport, it is an individual sport and it is all down to you and how hard you worked.
"I prefer to have all that [blame] put on me that way. However hard I work shows in the ring and I get the reward for my effort and I think that’s why I fell in love with boxing.”
As an amateur ‘The Monster’ accomplished all his goals. Professional boxing was what made him tick, he couldn’t wait to turn over. He left amateur boxing with a bang.
“I represented Australia internationally over 40 times," he explained. "I had about 85 amateur fights all together. I represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games twice, 2010 in India at the Delhi Games then again in 2014 at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games where I won the gold medal. That was the highlight of my amateur career and set me off to become professional.
“My ultimate goal was always to be professional world champion. I felt like I’d done my apprenticeship in the amateur game, I gained a lot of experience competing around the world. It was my goal to finish with gold in Glasgow and I did that! I was ready then to turn professional.
"My brother Jason was already set to have his pro debut about two weeks after I got home from the Games. I knew straight away that’s what I wanted to do and follow him into the professional game. I’d made my decision before I went to the Games.”
Commonwealth titles have played a huge part in the Australian’s career - indeed he was the first Australian boxer to win Commonwealth titles in both the pros and the amateurs.
“It it was a big goal on my list to become Commonwealth champion again as a professional," he admitted. "When I did get the Commonwealth title fight I did a bit of research and found out no other Australian had done that before me - that made me even more excited to win the Commonwealth title and it’s something I’m definitely very proud of.”
With the introduction of various Intercontinental and European titles it is increasingly less common to see boxers progress up the rankings and title ladder like we used too. Moloney though stressed that during his career he has sought to collect his titles in the ‘correct’ order.
“I think the way my career has progressed is more like the old school style. I went from winning the Victorian, which is the state title here in Australia, I then won the Australian title then the Commonwealth title and the WBA Oceania title. I progressed up the ranks in the correct order I believe, and my career has been guided by my manager Tony Tolj to perfection and we’re at a very exciting stage now where hopefully the next title will be the world title.”
Manager Tolj has done a stellar job promoting his fighter over social media. Since Moloney last left the ring not a day has passed where I’ve not seen a video, photo or mention of him online. Tolj is certainly a man Moloney is grateful is in his corner rather than anyone else’s.
“Probably the most important thing as a fighter is to have a good team behind you. I’m extremely lucky the team I have. Myself and my brother have the best team in world boxing I believe. We have an amazing team from our trainer to our manager to our sponsors and to our supporters. This makes our job a million times easier.”
Panamanian Concepcion is certainly a name well known around the 115lbs division. The man who Kal Yafai beat to win his world title. The man who was victim to ‘The Monster’.
“It excited me a lot," Moloney said of the best win of his 18-0 career thus far. "It’s the sort of test that I really wanted at this stage in my career. It was definitely a different feeling going into the fight because I’ve watched Concepcion many times over the years being one of the good, big names in the super-flyweight division.
“I always keep a close eye on all the champions around my weight. It was a different feeling going in knowing the opponent, I was definitely a bit nervous and knew that I was up against the biggest test in my career. That kept me motivated in training, it definitely had grown my focus and brought my training to a whole new level.
“On fight night everything went exactly to plan and all the hard work I put in during camp paid off. I got the stoppage in the tenth round and things couldn’t have gone any better.”
Now Moloney wants one man, and one man only. Kal Yafai.
“Yafai is the fight I want next! Whenever and wherever he wants I’m happy to fight to go whether it’s in England, America or Australia, wherever they want it. I’m ready, that’s a fight we been looking at for a while now. I’ve been climbing the ladder with the WBA for a while now and I’ve just defeated Concepcion who he won the belt off.
"I believe I put on a better performance than Yafai did against Concepcion. I believe I’m ready for that fight, I believe I’m ready to become world champion that’s been my dream for many years now and I hope Yafai gives me the opportunity that I think I deserve.”
Confidence is one department Moloney is not lacking in, yet during our conversation not once do I sense arrogance or entitlement. Indeed, Moloney feels he has earned his shot at Yafai the 'right way' after many years studying his profession.
“I believe I can match it with any of the top super flyweights now. Yafai has the WBA belt and I’ve watched him for a while now, he’s definitely a solid fighter. He’s world champion for a reason, I definitely believe I can beat Yafai. That’s the fight I want, I’m ready for it.
“I don’t know what Yafai’s team has planned but I know he hasn’t fought for a bit now and I believe he’s planning on fighting soon - whether it’s at the end of the year or early next year. I’m ranked very highly with the WBA and I’m undefeated. Coming from Australia and England with that rivalry we’ve had in sport for many years, the fight sells itself, I can’t control what they want but I hope they give me my opportunity.”
Not only does Andrew know who he wants to fight, he also knows where and when he wants to fight...
“I definitely would love to fight on the Anthony Joshua undercard in April. I believe they are going to get 100,000 people there that night.”