Andrew Moloney loses title fight on late KO

·3-min read

A courageous Andrew Moloney went to hospital after being unable to equal the world title-winning achievement of his twin Jason as he was brutally knocked out in the 12th round by Japan's Junto Nakatani in their WBO junior bantamweight title match in Las Vegas.

Moloney showed great toughness to get within 18 seconds of going the distance in the bout for the vacant title, after being knocked down in the second and 11th rounds.

Just when it looked like the 32-year-old Australian was going to hear the final bell, he was tagged by a perfect left hook to the head.

"That was as brutal a single punch as you will ever see," said one of the fight commentators, and it was impossible to disagree.

The referee didn't even bother to count as No.2 contender Moloney crashed to the canvas and needed some time and assistance to get back to his feet.

After the fight, Moloney, accompanied by trainer Angelo Hyder, was examined at a local hospital.

Boxing journalist Ben Damon later reported Moloney had been discharged from hospital but had perforated both eardrums during the fight.

Moloney was floored by a right uppercut early in the second but quickly bounced back to his feet.

Little more than a minute into the 11th, he was put down by a straight left and just beat the count.

Pre-fight favourite and No.1 contender Nakatani 25-0 (19 KOs) enjoyed height and reach advantages and dominated when he managed to get some distance and land his hurtful uppercuts.

Moloney, the former WBA interim super flyweight champion who had won his past four fights, was marked on his head in the second round.

An accidental head clash opened up a cut over former WBO flyweight champion Nakatani's left eye early in the third but it wasn't a factor in the fight.

Moloney gradually worked his way into the fight in the fourth and started to land more regularly in the middle rounds, as he closed the distance and worked his way inside.

He did particularly well in the sixth, backing up his opponent and landing some telling shots.

Moloney (25-3, 16 KOs) continued to score with some strong inside punches in the seventh, though Nakatani also landed some decent blows.

Nakatani reasserted himself from the eighth and dictated for the rest of the fight, landing from longer range as Moloney had less success in backing him up and applying pressure.

Following the 11th round Hyder delivered a blunt warning to Moloney.

"We might have to stop it, mate because you're not listening. You haven't been listening for a couple of rounds," Hyder said.

Moloney won the WBA interim title in Melbourne in November 2019.

He then had three fights for the full title against Josh Franco, losing two on points, with the middle bout controversially declared a no contest.

Earlier on Sunday (AEDT), Australian-based Irishman Dennis Hogan (31-5-1, 7 KOs) lost his IBO super welterweight title on a unanimous decision to England's James Metcalfe (25-2, 15 KOs) in Dublin.

Hogan, making his first defence of the IBO belt - which is not universally recognised as one of the major global organisations - lost 117-110 on two scorecards and 115-112 on the other.