'Yafai looked pretty ordinary': Andrew Moloney interview

James Lupton
02/07/2019 7:54pm

Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Australia's Andrew Moloney is hoping for the next shot at WBA super flyweight champion Kal Yafai, and tells BM he was unimpressed by the Briton's latest outing...

WBA super flyweight champion Kal Yafai successfully defended his title against Norbelto Jimenez last weekend in a performance which has left his mandatory challenger, Andrew 'The Monster' Moloney, distinctly unimpressed.

“I thought Yafai looked pretty ordinary if I’m honest," the 28-year-old Aussie told BM. "I know he was looking to put on a good performance in this fight after looking so terrible in his last fight [against Israel Gonzalez] and you could see from the first round he came out pretty eager to try and do something special.

"It looked to me he was trying to force the knockout pretty early in the fight, as the fight went on he began to look pretty ordinary again like he did in his last performance. He was getting hit with silly shots that he shouldn’t be getting hit with and really struggled with Jimenez. I thought overall it was a pretty average performance.

“Sometimes if you look for the knockout too much you can not box very well and lose your cool. Yafai was missing with a lot of big hooks but at the end of the day he’s world champion and someone at that level should’ve taken Jimenez out, I don’t think Jimenez was a great fighter. He was a bit awkward and made it a bit tricky maybe but I believe Yafai should’ve been able to get him out of there, I believe I would’ve been able to myself.

“I think Jimenez was the type of opponent he should’ve blown out of there and got a knockout win and it would’ve started people talking about him again. It definitely should’ve been a performance to shut up the critics after the last one but it turned out not to be that way but just as bad, well maybe not quite as bad as his last one, but he certainly didn’t impress.”

For the second consecutive fight, the Briton suffered a cut during the fight, something Moloney feels played a big part in Yafai’s mentality.

“The cut seemed to bother him quite a lot. For a good minute after the cut opened he seemed really rattled, he seemed to lose his focus during the fight. If that’s the case that could be a problem for him.”

Yafai was also criticised for punches delivered south of Jimenez’s waistline. The Aussie argues that the Briton was lucky to get away without a point deduction.

“There’s definitely a good, maybe, four low blows in there. They gave Jimenez a bit of time to recover but definitely, he should’ve lost points over it, especially the last one where he hit him with a right low and then a left low immediately after.”

In the immediate aftermath of the victory, Yafai wasted no time in calling out Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez. Unification seems the priority for Team Yafai and with Estrada recently acquired by Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, it is a fight which could be easily made.

“I saw Estrada signed with Matchroom [boxing] so I guess that’s what their planning to do," Moloney shrugs. "I saw that Estrada is fighting 24 August so I don’t know if they are planning for the Yafai vs Estrada fight later in the year but we were under the impression from the WBA that when we received the notification about our eliminator that at the time I was ranked number 3, [Miguel] Gonzalez at number 2, Jimenez at number 1 that myself and Gonzalez were going to fight each other and the winner fights the winner of Yafai vs Jimenez so that’s what we were under the impression of.

"I’m obviously hoping that Yafai has to fight me next, I’m just waiting to get confirmation from the WBA if he’s allowed to have a fight in between, I hope not, but I suppose a unification fight might get in the way of that. We will just have to wait and see but I’m really hoping that myself and Yafai fight next because I’ve earned that position now.”

Moloney defeated Gonzalez back in March, becoming the first man to stop the tough Chilean. ‘The Monster’ will demand if it’s not Estrada it should be him next and is dismissive of the Chocolatito call outs.

“My win over the Chilean, I fought him in his own back yard and knocked him out. The guy Yafai won the world title off, Luis Concepcion I knocked him out as well so I’ve earned my shot at Yafai. I believe the fight should happen.

“I think [Roman] Gonzalez has got a big name, a lot of people still know him from where he was a few years ago when he was considered quite high up in the pound-for-pound list but Gonzalez hasn’t fought for a long time now and has been out with injuries so [Yafai] probably thinks it’s a good time to get him.

"As I said before I was under the impression I’ll fight Yafai next and I suppose there is an argument for a unification fight but I certainly don’t think he should be able to fight a non-unification fight. He called out [Srisaket Sor] Rungvisai and Chocolatito and neither of those is a unification so I don’t know why he’s looking at those fights.”

Now with the backing of promoters Top Rank, the undefeated Moloney is hoping that he will finally get his shot at a champion who he and his team believe have been avoiding him.

“I’ve never once heard anyone from his team, Matchroom, Eddie [Hearn] or Yafai mention my name. I’ve been sitting very highly in the WBA ratings for a very long time now and I beat Concepcion, I won the eliminator and I’m now in the mandatory spot so it’s obviously a fight they don’t want.

"Maybe they see what a lot of other people think and that’s me beating Yafai. They are talking about unification fights and to be honest, they can’t be too confident looking at his last two performances, there’s nothing in those fights saying he’s going to win a unification fight so I think he has to fight his mandatory, me!

“My manager Tony [Tolj] will get on to [the WBA] over the next couple of days and we will try to get an answer to what the rulings going to be and whether Yafai has to fight me next. I just want to know the answer and I really hope we get the Yafai fight next.

"We’ve been chasing for a long time now, it’s been my dream for a long time to be world champion and I’m now more confident than ever after watching that fight that I can beat him and become world champion.”