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Down Under Thunder: Jason Moloney Stops Leonardo Baez

The Unbeaten Abraham Nova

Defeats Avery Sparrow In Tactical Co-Feature!

(June 25th) Two days after bantamweight contender Jason Moloney watched his identical twin brother, Andrew, lose his super flyweight world title, he evened the Las Vegas score. Jason Moloney defeated Leonardo Baez by TKO Thursday evening after Baez's corner stopped the bout following the conclusion of the seventh round.

 

Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) has won four in a row since an October 2018 split decision loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF bantamweight world title. Currently ranked in the top five by all of the major sanctioning organizations, title shot number two may be around the corner.

 

Baez (18-3, 9 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, had won six in a row and was stopped for the first time since 2016.

 

At the time of the stoppage, all three judges had Moloney ahead (69-64 2x and 68-65)

 

“That was the greatest moment of my career. It was tough watching my brother the other night, but I knew I had a job to do," Moloney said. "Thank you to my team. I sacrificed so much for six weeks, leaving my fiancée and my baby. I’m just over the moon.

 

“My brother told me he loved me and that he was proud of me. He’ll be back better than ever. Trust me.”

Nova Slips Past Sparrow

Abraham Nova (19-0, 14 KOs) was faced with the toughest test of his career in Avery Sparrow (10-2, 3 KOs), a savvy veteran schooled in the gyms of Philadelphia.

 

In a mostly tactical 10-round junior lightweight bout, Nova kept his unbeaten record in tact with a unanimous decision by scores of 99-91, 97-93 and 96-94. Nova is ranked in the top 10 by two of the major sanctioning organizations and hopes a world title shot is in his near future.

 

“Sparrow was slippery in there and tough to hit. I had to be patient and search for my openings. In the last few rounds, I began to time him, and that won me the fight," Nova said. “Listen, this was a learning experience. I’ll be ready for the top guys in the 130-pound division very, very soon.”

 

Rising featherweight prospect Orlando Gonzalez (15-0, 10 KOs) scored a pair of knockdowns, but Luis Porozo (15-3, 8 KOs) made him work for all eight rounds. Gonzalez ultimately prevailed via unanimous decisions by scores 76-74 and 77-73 2x, as the knockdowns in the second and seventh rounds sealed Porozo's fate.

 

Welterweights Vlad Panin (8-1, 4 KOs) and Benjamin Whitaker (13-4, 3 KOs) fought a close one for six rounds, but Panin received the majority decision nod by scores of 57-57 and 58-56 2x.

 

In a six-round welterweight battle, Reymond Yanong (11-5-1, 9 KOs) outpointed Clay "3rd Degree" Burns (9-8-2 4 KOs) via split decision. Yanong closed the fight strong and is back in the win column after being knocked out in his last fight.

 

Kingsley Ibeh (4-1, 4 KOs) knocked out Waldo Cortes (5-3, 2 KOs) in the fourth round of a heavyweight rumble. It was a rematch of a 2019 bout that Cortes won via split decision.

Next Up Top Rank on ESPN

June 27

TV Azteca Studios

Main Event

Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KOs) vs. Eleazar Valenzuela (21-13-4, 16 KOs)

 

Berchelt, the long-reigning WBC super featherweight kingpin, will return in his first non-title bout since 2015. A native of Cancun, Mexico, he has notched five consecutive knockouts, including a devastating fourth-round stoppage over former world champion Jason Sosa in his last outing. Valenzuela is 8-3 with one no contest in his last 12 bouts.

 

Undercard

Omar “Pollo” Aguilar (17-0, 16 KOs), a 21-year-old punching prodigy from Ensenada, Mexico, will fight Dante “Crazy” Jardon (32-6, 23 KOs) in a 10-rounder at junior welterweight.

 

In a 10-round junior lightweight bout, Mauricio “Bronco” Lara (18-2, 12 KOs) will fight unbeaten Tijuana native Humberto Galindo (12-0-1, 9 KOs).

 

Rafael “El Divino” Espinoza (14-0, 12 KOs) will look to extend his knockout streak to eight in an eight-round featherweight battle against Luis Guzman (8-14, 1 KO).

 

Junior welterweight prospect Ruben “Pollito” Aguilar (9-0, 7 KOs), who has five consecutive first-round knockouts, will fight Emanuel Herrera (7-10, 1 KO) in a six-rounder.

 

About Top Rank

Innovation has been the standard at Top Rank since it was established in 1966 by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. The boxing industry’s leading promotional company, Top Rank has shaped, developed, and promoted the careers of top international pay-per-view superstars and Hall of Famers, including Muhammad Ali, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Terence Crawford, and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

 

Top Rank has promoted some of the most memorable fights in the sport’s history, including 26 Ali events, Leonard vs. Hearns, Pryor vs. Arguello, Duran vs. Leonard, Hagler vs. Hearns, Leonard vs. Hagler, Foreman vs. Holyfield, Morales vs. Barrera, De La Hoya vs. Trinidad, and the most lucrative fight in boxing history, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. In addition to the previously mentioned super fights, Top Rank possesses one of the largest sports libraries, which includes nearly 10,000 fights.

 

Known for creating strategic collaborations between athletes, sponsors, and television networks, Top Rank has been an architect of boxing’s global growth by staging high-profile events in landmark settings around the world, including Madison Square Garden, MGM Grand Garden Arena, Staples Center, Wembley Arena, Araneta Coliseum, The Venetian Macao, Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, The “Fabulous” Forum, and AT&T Stadium. Top Rank has also been the leader within the boxing industry in creating unforgettable in-arena experiences for fans and embracing 21st century technological advancements to distribute world-class fights and shoulder programming across a variety of platforms.

 

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It reached 2 million subscribers in less than a year and offers fans thousands of live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

 

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL games, exclusive UFC, Top Rank boxing and PFL fights and events, top domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and other sports), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and can cancel at any time.

 

ESPN+ is available as an integrated part of the ESPN App (on mobile and connected devices) and ESPN.com.

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