Donaire battles Moloney for vacant WBC bantam throne

Next to eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, Donaire has been the Philippines’ premier fighter in the last two decades

Nonito Donaire gets another world title try when he meets Australian Jason Moloney for the vacant WBC crown. Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP

At 40 years of age, Nonito Donaire will get an opportunity to become a world champion again after the World Boxing Council formally ordered that the Filipino-American and Australian Jason Moloney would fight for the bantamweight throne vacated by Naoya Inoue.

Being the leading contenders in the WBC’s 118-lb class, Donaire and Moloney have until 17 February to come up with an agreement to avoid a purse bidding.

Represented promotionally by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., Moloney, who hails from Melbourne, Australia, packs a 25-2 win-loss card with 19 knockouts. His two losses came at the world title level.

Donaire, holder of a 42-7 mark with 28 knockouts, hasn’t fought since being brutally stopped by Inoue in June last year in Saitama, Japan.

About two weeks ago, Inoue officially announced that he is leaving the bantam division in the pursuit of winning a fourth world title in as many weight class, leaving Donoaire and Moloney as top candidates for a contest for the vacant title.

The Mexico-based WBC had already ruled as early as November last year that in the event Inoue vacates, Donaire and Moloney would be called in to fight for the championship.

If victorious, Donaire will become one of the oldest boxers in history to win a world title sanctioned by a widely-recognized governing body.

Next to eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, Donaire has been the Philippines’ premier fighter in the last two decades.

Born in the Philippines and raised in San Francisco’s Bay Area, Donaire has won world titles in four weight classes: flyweight, bantam, super-bantam and featherweight.

On paper, Moloney’s resume doesn’t compare with that of Donaire, who is a certified first-ballot Hall of Famer.

But at 32, Moloney has youth on his side in the event he ends up battling the veteran Donaire for the title.


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