High Drama In "The Bubble":
Franco Snags Moloney’s World Title
By William Trillo
Photos: Mikey Williams - Top Rank
Joshua Franco (17-1-2, 8 KO’s) destroyed all the plans
of Super Flyweight Champion Andrew Moloney (21-1, 14
KO’s) when he systematically broke down the champ and
walked out of “The Bubble” with the World Boxing
Association World Super Flyweight Title around his
It was as good a battle as could be as each warrior had
their moments. In the early portion of the fight it was
Moloney who was taking the slight edge with sharper more
accurate punches . Franco for his part seemed content to
survey the situation.
As the rounds hit the midway point Franco became much
more comfortable in the pocket and he began to do damage
that would begin to change the entire flow of the night.
Bloodied in the tenth and down in the eleventh Moloney
was now in danger of losing his title. It was a good
twelfth round for both fighters, but it wasn’t clear if
Moloney did enough to retain his belt. The barnburner
would end up going to the scorecards.
The announcer revealed the tally’s, “115-112, 114-113 &
114-113 for the winner…and the new world champion,
On losing the fight and his title Moloney remarked, “It
just wasn’t my night tonight. This was not the best
version of Andrew Moloney, but full credit to Joshua
Franco. He deserved to win the title with his effort. He
closed the fight strong, like a true champion. I’ll be
back. One loss won’t define me.”
On becoming the champ Franco said, “After the fourth
round, I gained the momentum and figured him out. I
always knew this was possible. I wasn’t nervous when the
decision was being read. I knew I’d done enough to win
this fight. My coach, Robert Garcia, had me ready. I’m
going home with the belt.”
The Freddie Roach trained Featherweight Christopher Diaz
(26-2, 16 KO’s) was 100% in the zone against a highly
regarded Jason Sanchez (15-2, 8 KO’s). Diaz could do no
wrong in this ten rounder, he looked comfortable in the
ring and was genuinely having fun with this very
There was little or nothing Sanchez could do that Diaz
did not react to and capitalize on. Stiff jabs, stellar
counter-punching and wicked combinations gave Diaz the
victory scoring a unanimous decision with scores of 9-93
and 98-92 twice.
“I can fight at featherweight, or I can make 122 pounds.
Whatever Top Rank wants, but I’m ready for a big fight
in either weight division. I am a completely different
and improved fighter from the one who fought Shakur
Stevenson last year. I worked on my power in the gym. My
coaches, Nelson Rodriguez and Freddie Roach, got me
ready for tonight. I’m ready for a big fight now.
Whether it’s at 126 or 122, I’m ready. This is a new
It was a battle of young, tough and undefeated Super
Lightweights and this six rounder did not disappoint.
Overall it was Miguel Contreras (11- 0, 6 KO’s) who was
the proverbial cream that rose to the top. Rolando
Vargas (5-1, 5 KO’s) is a gifted fighter but with half
the fights of Contreas it was a case of biting of taking
on too much too soon.
Contreras bloodied the face of Vargas early while using
good combination punching throughout the fight. Vargas
would switch to southpaw at times but was never able to
solve the problems he was facing. It was close but, in
the end all three judges scored the fight for Contreras
58-56 across the board.
In the opening bout of the night Heavyweight Helaman
Olguin (8-3, 3 KO’s) took on an undefeated Adam Stewart
(8-1-1, 5 KO’s) in this round scrap. Olguin may not have
the body of Adonis but he did seem to have the better
boxing skills. Stewart had the look of a chiseled
athlete but lacked the fundamentals.
It went unnoticed on the broadcast that Olguin hurt his
right hand in the early rounds and was basically a
one-handed fighter for three rounds. Even with the
busted wing Olguin did enough to impress the judges and
earn a split decision. Final scores read 57-57 and 58-56
twice in favor of Olguin.