MANILA, Philippines –Australian Jason Moloney fought smarter and better and bested Filipino Vincent Astrolabio in their battle for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight crown on Saturday, May 13 (Sunday, May 14, Philippine time) in Stockton, California.
Having felt Astrolabio’s power in the third round, Moloney resorted to jabbing and piling up points rather than fighting toe-to-toe in their 12-round encounter for the 118-pound title.
Putting his two-inch reach advantage to good use, Moloney won by majority decision, with two judges siding with the Australian, 116-112, and 115-113, and the third seeing it a 114-114 draw, to finally become world champion after two failed attempts.
The 32-year-old Moloney lost by split decision to Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez in a world title clash in October 2018 and got knocked out by Japanese phenomenon Naoya Inoue in the seventh round of another world title tussle in October 2020.
Having learned his lessons, Moloney called on his long experience to tame Astrolabio, who searched but was unable to land the big punch throughout the uneventful bout and raise his record to 26-2 with 19 knockouts.
Astrolabio, a 27-year-old hard-hitter from General Santos City, tasted defeat for the first time in seven fights and skidded to 18-4, with 13 knockouts.
Feeling Astrolabio’s chances slipping away, trainer Nonoy Neri ordered his ward to go for the knockout in the late rounds, but to no avail as Moloney tied him up whenever he landed a power shot.
Astrolabio and Neri will have to return to the drawing board to find out what went wrong and where the warrior from GenSan is headed to this year. – Rappler.com
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