Australian Associated Press – Murray Wenzel
Jason Moloney and George Kambosos Jr could fight to unify and reclaim titles respectively on a stacked Australian card as momentum builds for the world champion’s homecoming.
Moloney won the WBO bantamweight crown in California more than two months ago and is eyeing a defence or unification bout, potentially in Melbourne or the Gold Coast in December.
He is yet to return to full sparring after sustaining a hand injury in the win that secured him Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame fighter of the year honours.
“Hopefully I’ll keep winning that award for the next five years,” he told AAP.
“I’m super proud, but hungry for more. You look forward to becoming a world champion for so long.
“It’s an unreal feeling to do it, but straight away it’s natural to think ‘what’s next?’.”
Former unified lightweight champion Kambosos returned to the ring in Oklahoma on the weekend with a tight points victory over British veteran Maxi Hughes in an IBF title eliminator.
The pair are both part of US promoter Top Rank’s stable, whose chief Bob Arum is keen to give Moloney and twin brother Andrew top billing in an Australian blockbuster after years of building their careers overseas.
“I’d be happy to do that; I want to be a part of the big shows in Australia and I’d love to share a show with George and my brother (Jason),” the 32-year-old Moloney said.
“It’s great to have Aussies with Top Rank and if we can do some double and triple headers I’m all for that.”
Kambosos’ career has followed a similar path to Moloney’s, who fought on the undercard when Devin Haney dethroned the Australian last year.
Haney is considered likely to soon move up to junior welterweight, with 30-year-old Sydneysider Kambosos in position to fight No.1 contender Gustavo Lemos of Argentina for a vacant title.
Likewise, Japanese great Naoya Inoue’s move up a class to become a four-division world champion earlier this week has reconfigured Moloney’s playing field and left him waiting on his next opponent.
It could be 40-year-old future Hall of Famer and four-division champion Nonito Donaire, who fights Mexican Alexandro Santiago in Las Vegas this week for the vacant WBC belt.
Or it could be Emmanuel Rodriguez, who along with Inoue is the only other man boasting a win over the Australian.
He’ll face Melvin Lopez next month for the vacant IBF bantamweight title.
“I’d like Donaire to get it done because I’d like to fight him; he has a big profile and is a future Hall of Famer,” Moloney said.
“But I’d love to fight the winner of either fight and hopefully we can bring them out to Australia.
“And if he (Haney) says he’s moving up then there’s no reason George and I can’t do a double header for two world titles in December.”