Moloney states ambition after title rival's roo stunt

May 12, 2023 10:50 AM AEST | By AAPNEWS
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Jason Moloney doesn't expect any "cat and mouse" tactics from his world title rival despite Vincent Astrolabio bringing a stuffed kangaroo to their pre-fight press conference.

The Filipino, managed and mentored by legendary compatriot Manny Pacquiao, offered little ahead of Sunday's (AEST) battle for the vacant WBO bantamweight world title in Stockton, California.

That was until he was asked why he was holding a fluffy toy kangaroo.

"I will give it to Jason," he said through a translator.

"I have it because I think of Jason as a baby kangaroo."

Moloney (25-2, 19 KOs) laughed off the attempted sledge before adding, "don't mess with kangaroos".

The Australian was poised and direct ahead of his third world title fight, five years after he was denied in a narrow split decision on his first attempt.

The 32-year-old said his most recent win, over Nawaphon Kaikanha in Melbourne last October, showed he was ready to take over a division that's wide open after undisputed champion Naoya Inoue vacated.

"That fight was the perfect preparation for this one," he said.

"He was a strong, come forward fighter with experience and power and I handled him with ease, put on a boxing clinic.

"Now I want to go out and put out an even better performance and prove I'm the best bantamweight on the planet."

Astrolabio (18-3, 13 KOs) knocked out his last rival in the sixth round, having already knocked him down twice earlier in the fight.

"There won't be too much cat and mouse," Moloney told AAP of what he expects.

"You'll get two hungry fighters in the ring; he'll be coming to knock me out and I'll be doing the same. It'll be a cracker."

Moloney's twin brother Andrew will fight for his own world title in Las Vegas next weekend, with the pair set to defend their belts in a blockbuster double-header homecoming show should they both win.

"This is an incredible story," Moloney said.

"Twin brothers that have been on this journey for nearly 20 years.

"For us to finally achieve it and to become champions one week apart is incredible."


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