The third time was in fact the charm on Saturday night in Stockton, CA, as former two time world bantamweight challenger Jason Moloney of Australia won the WBO version of the belt with a majority decision over Vincent Astrolabio of the Philippines.
The bout was the co-feature fight of the Top Rank Boxing/ESPN card and saw Moloney win by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and a draw of 114-114 on the third card,
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 14, 2023
Moloney was the busier and more effective fighter over the 12 rounds landing quick combinations out-landing Astrolabio 143-109 in total punches with a 93-29 lopsided edge with the jab, according to CompuBox stats.
The restless crowd in northern California that was awaiting Janibek Alimkhanuly to defend his WBO middleweight crown, began to boo both fighters midway through the fight for the lack of sustained action. But, the Aussie stuck to his gameplan and used the jab and moving in and out to be effective. Astrolabio was unable to put many combinations together throughout the bout. His best punch was a straight right, but he didn’t land nearly enough convincing shots to win the fight.
Moloney got the opportunity to win the WBO’s vacant title after undisputed 118 lb. champ Naoya “The Monster” Inoue of Japan vacated his four titles to move up to super bantameweight. Inoue will fight unified 122 lb. champ Stephen Fulton of Philadelphia later this Summer.
One of Inoue’s title defenses earlier in his career was a body shot KO of Moloney in Las Vegas in October of 2021. Moloney had won four straight bouts coming into Saturday’s title bout, since “The Monster” loss.