Two days after bantamweight contender Jason Moloney watched his identical twin brother, Andrew, lose his super flyweight world title, he evened the Las Vegas score. Jason Moloney defeated Leonardo Baez by TKO Thursday evening after Baez’s corner stopped the bout following the conclusion of the seventh round.
Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) has won four in a row since an October 2018 split decision loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF bantamweight world title. Currently ranked in the top five by all of the major sanctioning organizations, title shot number two may be around the corner.
Baez (18-3, 9 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, had won six in a row and was stopped for the first time since 2016.
At the time of the stoppage, all three judges had Moloney ahead (69-64 2x and 68-65)
“That was the greatest moment of my career. It was tough watching my brother the other night, but I knew I had a job to do,” Moloney said. “Thank you to my team. I sacrificed so much for six weeks, leaving my fiancée and my baby. I’m just over the moon.
“My brother told me he loved me and that he was proud of me. He’ll be back better than ever. Trust me.”
Nova Slips Past Sparrow
Abraham Nova (19-0, 14 KOs) was faced with the toughest test of his career in Avery Sparrow (10-2, 3 KOs), a savvy veteran schooled in the gyms of Philadelphia.
In a mostly tactical 10-round junior lightweight bout, Nova kept his unbeaten record in tact with a unanimous decision by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94. Nova is ranked in the top 10 by two of the major sanctioning organizations and hopes a world title shot is in his near future.
“Sparrow was slippery in there and tough to hit. I had to be patient and search for my openings. In the last few rounds, I began to time him, and that won me the fight,” Nova said. “Listen, this was a learning experience. I’ll be ready for the top guys in the 130-pound division very, very soon.”
— Rising featherweight prospect Orlando Gonzalez (15-0, 10 KOs) scored a pair of knockdowns, but Luis Porozo (15-3, 8 KOs) made him work for all eight rounds. Gonzalez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decisions by scores 76-74 and 77-73 2x, as the knockdowns in the second and seventh rounds sealed Porozo’s fate.
— Welterweights Vlad Panin (8-1, 4 KOs) and Benjamin Whitaker (13-4, 3 KOs) fought a close one for six rounds, but Panin received the majority decision nod by scores of 57-57 and 58-56 2x.
—In a six-round welterweight battle, Reymond Yanong (11-5-1, 9 KOs) outpointed Clay “3rd Degree” Burns (9-8-2 4 KOs) via split decision. Yanong closed the fight strong and is back in the win column after being knocked out in his last fight.
— Kingsley Ibeh (4-1, 4 KOs) knocked out Waldo Cortes (5-3, 2 KOs) in the fourth round of a heavyweight rumble. It was a rematch of a 2019 bout that Cortes won via split decision.
Header photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank