For the 3rd time in the last 16 months, Josh Franco and Andrew Moloney met in the ring Saturday night and the result was the same as the first fight as Franco outpoints Moloney for a unanimous decision.
Franco (18-1-2 8 KOs) showed improvement and he stated prior to the second fight that he came in overweight to camp and said that affected his performance as Moloney (21-2 14 KOs) thought he should’ve won following a lengthy commission review that was judged a no contest.
In this camp, Franco said he had no weight issues and it certainly showed. Franco started earlier than the previous fights and did well with his pressure and skill that helped lead to the unanimous decision with scores of 116-112 on all three cards. Franco in the middle rounds started to put distance between him and Moloney which led to the clear victory.
Early on, Franco and Moloney were very competitive as each was doing well with their game plan. Moloney was moving and using his boxing well. He was placing the jab out and looking good early and his body work was looking really good, and he was going there consistently. Franco was applying pressure, throwing combinations out while also popping a jab out. The biggest punch from the early going was in Round 1 as Franco landed a counter right hand to momentarily shake up Moloney.
As the middle rounds began, it seemed as though Franco was starting to get the better of the action. The fight was competitive, but Franco always seemed to be getting the better of it. In Round 7, it seemed to be “here we go again” as Moloney appeared to knock Franco down. Franco was adamant that he slipped, and the referee reviewed it. Once the round ended and upon review, it was clear no punch was landed and there was a slip.
Franco outpoints Moloney by taking control in later rounds
As the fight progressed into the championship rounds, Franco had started to pull away. Moloney’s best weapon was his shotgun like jab that seemed to fade away in this fight as he only ended landing 9% of those shots. The total CompuBox numbers for this fight went (168 landed out of 772 thrown by Franco and 107 landed out of 730 thrown by Moloney).
This looked a bit reminiscent of the first fight as Franco began to clearly pull away, but this time Franco made more clear adjustments in this fight. Early on, Franco applied a lot of pressure and threw more power shots, but as the fight carried on, he went more with a jab and body work.
He said after the fight he wanted to use all his boxing skills and knew it would work. Moloney never wilted and kept firing back, but his work became more ineffective and less consistent. He put forth a valiant effort but just came up short. It was a hard pillow to swallow for Moloney as he will return to Australia but must go with a two-week quarantine before seeing his family.
Franco has now clearly established himself as a legitimate top six Junior Bantamweight with this win. He mentioned he was happy to leave this chapter behind and move forward. He said he wants to take on any champion in the division and he mentioned the top four at the moment: Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada, Kazuto Ioka and Jerwin Ancajas.
Gonzalez and Estrada look to be busy with each other later in the fall and Ioka is fighting in September while Ancajas fights under the PBC, and they and Golden Boy aren’t really working together, so who knows what’s next for Franco. There is a chance Franco gets a hometown fight, something he has said he would like and maybe that will be a good comeback for him as he prepares to challenge the top of the division going forward.