Exclusive: WBO Bantamweight Champion Jason Moloney Primed For Tokyo Showdown With Yoshiki Takei: ‘I’m really, really motivated for this one”

Jason Moloney

Opportunities to be part of history come along rarely in a fighter’s life, and when they do, it is often according to their own schedule.

WBO Bantamweight World Champion Jason Moloney was gearing up to defend his title on home soil on May 12 in Perth, Australia, on the undercard of George Kambosos Jr’s lightweight title challenge against Vasyl Lomachenko.

 However,  when the offer came to fight Japan’s undefeated Yoshiki Takei on the undercard of Naoya Inoue vs. Luis Nery at the Tokyo Dome on May 6, Moloney leapt at the chance to achieve a lifelong ambition.

“Surreal. It’s a dream come true. You know, how many people ever get to perform in front of 55,000 people in a sold-out arena in an iconic venue like the Tokyo Dome?” Moloney tells Boxing Daily.

“I’ve always wanted to fight in Japan, even early in my career, when I only had less than a handful of fights. I spoke to my manager, Tony [Tolj], about fighting in Japan, and we were really keen to try and do that.”

The Tokyo Dome has not held a major boxing event since James “Buster” Douglas stunned the world in 1990 with his tenth-round KO victory over Mike Tyson. Next month’s card, with four world title fights scheduled, is shaping up to create an earthquake in the Japanese boxing scene.

Along with the Inoue-Nery and Moloney-Takei bouts, two all-Japanese world title bouts are set to take place. Takuma Inoue will defend his WBA bantamweight strap against Sho Ishida, while Seigo Yuri Akui will defend his WBA flyweight title against Taku Kuwahara.

” It’s keeping me motivated, waking up early every morning to get ready for training and work hard. And make sure that I take advantage of this huge opportunity and put on the best performance of my career and obviously walk away still a world champion and keep moving my career forward in the right direction,” Moloney says.

The 27-year-old Takei is a relative newcomer to the professional boxing scene, but he has an extensive kickboxing career and has captured multiple titles, earning a 23-2 pro record.

The Tokyo-born southpaw has the power to stop anyone in the bantamweight division, and despite having more experience, Moloney respects the threat that Takei poses and is making sure no stone is left unturned as he prepares for his upcoming bout.

“He’s a very good fighter. He doesn’t obviously have a huge amount of experience as a boxer, but he’s a world champion and a ton of experience as a kickboxer ” Moloney says.

” He’s knocked out everyone he has fought, but he hasn’t fought the calibre of opposition that I have or fought the calibre of opposition like myself. So, no doubt I’m his hardest fight to date, but I see him as one of my hardest fights to date too. He is a pretty tricky customer. He’s obviously got knock-out power and, throws pretty big wild shots, and jumps in from a bit of a strange distance. He presents his own risks, and I’m preparing for this fight, I think, harder than I’ve ever prepared for any fight.

Moloney is coming into this fight after an epic performance against Saul Sanchez of the USA in January. The gruelling 12-round battle saw Moloney edge Sanchez on the scorecards in an unforgettable contest that won over the neutral Canadian crowd.

It may not have been his best fight from a technical perspective but in terms of grit and determination. Moloney was forced to dig deeper inside himself than in any previous fight.

“It was a brutal one, mate, a brutal one, ” Moloney explains.

 ” It wasn’t my greatest performance; I was getting hit by shots I should not have been getting hit with. My distance, my timing was a little bit off, but as a boxing fan, it was a great fight and it was a fight that I will always look back on with fond memories”.

The Sanchez bout won Moloney a legion of new fans, and on May 6, he will compete on the biggest platform of his career, where a win is likely to springboard him into future unification matchups.

If those future matchups do eventuate, Moloney knows precisely where he would like those fights to occur.

It’s a bit of a golden era of Australian boxing, so it’s exciting to be a part of it. I’m looking forward to watching it grow even more, and hopefully, I’ll have my world title on home soil very soon.”

However, the focus now is on the job at hand, and fans can be sure that come fight night, they will see the best version of Jason Moloney.

“I’m really, really motivated for this one and really want to make sure I get it right and get the job done.”

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