By Anthony Cocks
Bantamweight contender Jason ‘The Smooth One’ Moloney is excited.
Newly signed to promotional powerhouse Top Rank after his breakthrough performance against then-IBF 122-pound champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in the World Boxing Super Series last year – a split decision loss that could’ve gone either way – the 28-year-old Melbourne native is looking champing at the bit to get a second crack at world championship glory.
One-half of Team Moloney along with his twin brother Andrew, the competitive brothers have spent a lifetime trying to outdo each other. And with both boxers on the verge of world title shots, the battle for bragging rights as the first world champion in the family has never been greater.
Now based in Kingscliff on the north coast of New South Wales, the Tony Tolj-managed fighter is ramping up his training camp ahead of his return to the ring against tough Mexican Cesar Ramirez at the Seagulls Rugby League Club in Tweed Heads on June 15.
Bang a gong and get it on, we’re going 15 rounds with Jason Moloney.
1. What attracted you to boxing in the first place?
MOLONEY: I started boxing when I was 13 to help give me a bit of an edge in fitness during the preseason of [Australian Rules] football. At this stage my dream was to play AFL. Eventually I fell in love with boxing that much that I decided I’d quit footy and focus 100% on boxing.
2. Toughest fight in the amateurs or pros?
MOLONEY: Would have to be my world title fight against Emmanuel Rodriguez. My only loss as a professional and certainly a rematch that I’d love to have.
3. Biggest puncher you’ve faced?
MOLONEY: Geez, honestly, I’m not sure. [Vasiliy] Lomachenko is definitely the best fighter I’ve ever been in the ring with, by an absolute mile too. I wouldn’t say he was a devastating puncher though, just very accurate and extremely smart.
4. What are the best and worst thing about being a boxer?
MOLONEY: I love boxing so I feel blessed to wake up every day and do something I love. The feeling of winning a fight is something which is hard to describe and for me it far outweighs the thrill of winning in any other sport. Having your hand raised after working so hard towards something is incredibly rewarding. The worst part of boxing is the enormous amount of sacrifices and discipline it requires. You have to be quite selfish at times too which is hard. Luckily, I have very supportive people around me who understand what it takes.
5. What is your most defining win of your career?
MOLONEY: Amateur – beating Michael Conlan at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Professional – probably beating Kohei Kono. He was a two-time world champion and I knew before the fight that I needed to beat him to enter the WBSS so there was a lot of pressure on me to perform. That win felt good.
6. What are your goals for the next 12 months?
MOLONEY: To become world champion.
7. What are some your hobbies away from the ring?
MOLONEY: I like going to the beach, surfing, fishing, spear fishing and spending time with my fiancé Jorja, my daughter Isla, friends and family.
8. Who is always ringside for you fights?
MOLONEY: Too many people to mention, the support I get from my family and friends is phenomenal. Special mention to my fiancé Jorja who is so supportive and my dad. My dad’s never missed any of my fights, amateur or professional.
9. Who has been biggest influence on your career?
MOLONEY: My dad. From a young age my dad taught me the importance of hard work, discipline and commitment. I have a note at home which he gave me about 12 years ago which I read often, one thing that it says is ‘Anything you want can be yours if you truly want it!’. I really believe that and it applies to everything in life, not just boxing. For me I really want to become world champion and that’s why I work so hard.
10. What fight have you learnt the most from?
MOLONEY: My world title fight against IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez. The experience of having a fight like that is priceless and it really enforced in me that I have what it takes to be a world champion. I’m very confident that if I had that fight again I would win, so I can’t wait for another crack at a title.
11. What is something our readers would be surprised to learn about you?
MOLONEY: I lost my first three fights and my twin, Andrew, lost his first seven fights. A lot of people would have given up at this stage and said maybe this isn’t for me. Luckily, we aren’t quitters!
12. Do you have any superstitions or rituals you follow in the lead-up to fight night?
MOLONEY: No, I think superstitions are generally a weakness. I don’t want anything playing with my head, I just make sure I never take any shortcuts and I prepare 100%. I put in the hard work and make all the sacrifices required to give myself the absolute best chance of winning. After that it’s all down to performing on the night.
13. What is your favourite post-fight feed?
MOLONEY: I love all food but I’d probably say pizza. I do love a good lasagne too.
14. Why would we find you when you’re away from the gym?
MOLONEY: Generally at home with my family, but boxing really is a full time job. In between training sessions I’m busy cooking, eating, doing recovery work like massage, stretching, foam rolling, salt baths or napping. Then I’ll be watching fights or studying opponents. There really isn’t much down time. After a fight I might have a week off but I train all year round.
15. If you weren’t boxing, what would you be doing?
MOLONEY: Honestly, I’d probably either be a plumber or a landscaper. I did an apprenticeship in both trades but finding the balance between work and boxing was very hard. I decided to quit work so I could give boxing everything I’ve got! I never want to have any regrets. When I’m finished boxing, I’ll know that I gave this sport absolutely everything and hopefully I’ll be happy with what I’ve achieved.