Australia To The MGM Grand: Identical Twins Andrew & Jason
Moloney Set For Las Vegas Debuts
From Down Under to “The Bubble,” Australia’s Moloney twins —
Andrew and Jason — are set for their Las Vegas debuts.
Andrew “The Monster” Moloney will make the first defense of
his WBA super flyweight world title Tuesday, June 23 from
the MGM Grand Conference Center—Grand Ballroom against
Joshua “El Professor” Franco (ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 8 p.m.
ET). Moloney-Franco will be the first men’s boxing world
title bout since February 29.
The fights continue from the MGM Grand Thursday, June 25,
when WBO No. 2 bantamweight contender Jason Moloney will
face Leonardo Baez in a 10-rounder (ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 8
Week 3 of the Top Rank on ESPN summer series concludes from
TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City on Saturday, June 27, when
WBC super featherweight world champion Miguel “El Alacran”
Berchelt will face Eleazar “Tronco” Valenzuela in a 10-round
lightweight bout (ESPN & ESPN Deportes, 11 p.m. ET).
“It’s very exciting times as Australia's only world
champion, Andrew Moloney, will defend his title against a
tough warrior in Joshua Franco,” said Tony Tolj, who manages
the Moloney brothers. "Jason has trained hard and is ready
for world championship opportunities. Both are in tough
fights that the fans are going to love. We want to fight the
best. It's a great honor to headline back-to-back shows,
especially at MGM Grand.”
MGM Grand Conference Center – Grand Ballroom
Andrew Moloney (21-0, 14 KOs) vs. Joshua Franco (16-1-2, 8
12 Rounds, Moloney’s WBA Super Flyweight World Title
Andrew Moloney has won four consecutive bouts by knockout,
including an eighth-round stoppage over Miguel Gonzalez on
Gonzalez’s home turf in Chile. He captured the WBA interim
world title last November, stopping Elton Dharry on cuts
following eight one-sided rounds. The WBA elevated Moloney
to full champion in March, and he will defend his strap
against Franco, a San Antonio native who is best known for
his action-packed trilogy against Oscar Negrete. Franco, who
has gone five bouts since his lone professional defeat, went
1-0-2 versus Negrete.
“It’s a dream come true for me to be headlining at the MGM
Grand for my first world title defense,” Andrew Moloney
said. “Thank you to Top Rank and my team for giving me this
amazing opportunity. Franco is a great fighter, but I
believe I am faster, more powerful, and too hungry to let
anyone take this belt away from me.”
Said Franco: “I have been waiting all my life to fight for a
world title. I know that all my hard work will pay off when
I step into the ring and become a world champion. These are
tough times for the world, so I’m grateful to have this
opportunity when the world has come to a halt. I will do my
best to entertain the fans during this time and make my
training team, promoter and everyone in San Antonio proud.
This June 23, class will be in session, and everyone’s
invited to watch on ESPN.”
Christopher Diaz (25-2, 16 KOs) vs. Jason Sanchez (15-1, 8
10 Rounds, Featherweight
In a clash of former world title challengers, the winner
will re-enter the world title picture. Diaz is 2-1 since a
decision loss to Masayuki Ito for the vacant WBO junior
lightweight world title. Following the Ito loss, Diaz moved
down in weight to compete as a featherweight. Sanchez gave a
valiant effort in a June 2019 decision loss to then-WBO
featherweight world champion Oscar Valdez. The Albuquerque
native rebounded with a knockout win over Adeilson Dos
Santos last October.
“I know that winning this next fight opens the door to a
world title shot, and I have worked hard to make it happen
and finally achieve my dream of becoming a world champion,"
Diaz said. "Jason Sanchez is a world-level opponent. His
only defeat is against Oscar Valdez — and he is a seasoned
Mexican warrior — but I am coming prepared for everything
Sanchez will bring to the ring."
Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno (14-0-1, 12 KOs), who is
coming off an eight-round draw in January, will look to get
back to his winning ways against Alexis del Bosque (17-5, 9
KOs) in an eight-rounder at lightweight.
In a junior welterweight battle set for six rounds, Miguel
Contreras (10-0, 6 KOs), from Bakersfield, California, will
fight 20-year-old knockout artist Rolando Vargas (5-0, 5
Helaman Olguin (7-3, 3 KOs), winner of five straight, will
take on Adam Stewart (8-0-1, 5 KOs) in a six-rounder at
MGM Grand Conference Center – Grand Ballroom
Jason Moloney (20-1, 17 KOs) vs. Leonardo Baez (18-2, 9 KOs)
10 Rounds, Bantamweight
Jason Moloney came up a hair short in his bid for the IBF
bantamweight world title in October 2018, losing a disputed
split decision to Emmanuel Rodriguez. He has knocked out
three opponents since, most recently blitzing Dixon Flores
in two rounds on the same card as his brother’s victory over
Elton Dharry. Baez, from Mexicali, Mexico, has won six in a
row, most recently shutting out former interim world
champion Moises Flores over eight rounds.
“My opponent, Leonardo Baez, is a good fighter who comes
forward and puts on a lot of pressure,” Jason Moloney said.
“I have been working extremely hard to make sure this is the
most spectacular performance of my career and to prove that
I am ready for another shot at a world title.”
Said Baez: “I’m very happy for this opportunity. I had
already been training, so that’s why I’m ready to come back.
I’m confident in my preparation. I know I will walk away
with my hand raised.”
Abraham Nova (18-0, 14 KOs) vs. Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs)
10 Rounds, Junior Lightweight
Nova made his Top Rank debut in January, registering a
fourth-round knockout. He returns for his “Bubble” debut
against Sparrow, a battle-hardened Philadelphia native who
is coming off a March 2019 decision victory over former
world title challenger Hank Lundy. Nova, born in Puerto Rico
and raised in Albany, New York, was one of Teofimo Lopez’s
chief sparring partners before Lopez’s lightweight
title-winning effort over Richard Commey last December.
Orlando “El Zurdo de Oro” González (14-0, 10 KOs), from
Aguadilla Puerto Rico, will face off against Ecuadorian
veteran Luis Porozo (15-2, 8 KOs) in an eight-rounder at
junior lightweight. A southpaw puncher, Gonzalez has
registered three knockouts in his last four fights.
TV Azteca Studios
Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) vs. Eleazar Valenzuela
(21-13-4, 16 KOs)
Berchelt, the long-reigning WBC super featherweight kingpin,
will return in his first non-title bout since 2015. A native
of Cancun, Mexico, he has notched five consecutive
knockouts, including a devastating fourth-round stoppage
over former world champion Jason Sosa in his last outing.
Valenzuela is 8-3 with one no contest in his last 12 bouts.
Omar “Pollo” Aguilar (17-0, 16 KOs), a 21-year-old punching
prodigy from Ensenada, Mexico, will fight Dante “Crazy”
Jardon (32-6, 23 KOs) in a 10-rounder at junior
In a 10-round junior lightweight bout, Mauricio “Bronco”
Lara (18-2, 12 KOs) will fight unbeaten Tijuana native
Humberto Galindo (12-0-1, 9 KOs).
Rafael “El Divino” Espinoza (14-0, 12 KOs) will look to
extend his knockout streak to eight in an eight-round
featherweight battle against Luis Guzman (8-14, 1 KO).
Junior welterweight prospect Ruben “Pollito” Aguilar (9-0, 7
KOs), who has five consecutive first-round knockouts, will
fight Emanuel Herrera (7-10, 1 KO) in a six-rounder.