A mild upset took place Tuesday night in Las Vegas, as Joshua Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) won in Andrew Moloney‘s American debut (21-1, 14 KOs) and is the new WBA Champion at 115 lbs, winning by unanimous decision.
Franco knocked down Moloney in the tenth, and that proved to be the difference on the scorecards. The three judges had it 115-112, and 114-113, by the other two, all in favor of Franco. Closer scorecards than what the broadcast reflected, but the right guy won.
The first title fight inside “The Bubble” closed out Top Rank Boxing’s broadcast on ESPN Tuesday night, as Moloney’s WBA Jr. Bantamweight belt was on the line. This bout was the first World title defense in the United States for a boxing, since the Covid 19 pandemic took hold back in March.
That #AndNew moment!!@JoshuaFranco_ comes on late, with an 11th round knockdown making the difference as he scores the upset and takes the WBA Super Flyweight strap ? #MoloneyFranco pic.twitter.com/FTOAm3LjUq
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) June 24, 2020
The first four rounds of the fight were a process of both guys feeling each other out and using their strengths to their advantages. Franco, from San Antonio, TX, started in the middle rounds establishing mid-range shots and landing solid left uppercuts on Moloney. Plus, he was using his attack inside to the body.
This main event in terms of the action of championship-level quality had plenty of exchanges.
The adjustment Moloney made in the fight was midway through it, when he decided to stick and move and stay on the outside. While the ESPN crew gave Franco the “road team” treatment, his movement and work in this fight was good. So much so, that anyone watching saw him take control of the match from then.
Moloney’s twin brother Jason, will. headline the Thursday night Top Rank show from Vegas on ESPN.
A cut started on Andrew Moloney’s left eye near the end of the tenth round from a right from Franco. From there and the rest of that round, it was a target that Franco looked to capitalize on. In the eleventh round, he would do just that. It was huge for Franco, as Moloney was hit with a flurry of punches and was finally ruled down.
A tired Moloney beat the count from referee Tony Weeks, but spent the rest of the round and the fight in survival mode afterward.
“I needed that knockdown, but little by little, I was getting to him,” said Franco after the fight relating to the scorecards.
The final Compubox fight totals showed Franco being the more active fighters landing 231 out of 789 (29%), compared to Moloney, who only landed 191 out of 663 (29%).