The main event of Tuesday night’s Top Rank on ESPN card featured Australian WBA World Super Flyweight Champion Andrew Maloney, 21-0 (14 KOs) vs Joshua Franco, 16-1-2 (8 KOs), The fight was coming live from Las Vegas, NV in a closed session as COVID-19 was still a threat.
Round one was pretty much all Moloney as Franco looked to get a feel for the pace of the fight. Franco started off the second coming forward though he continued to maintain a high guard. Moloney maintained a high activity as he threw punches in bunches. Franco found a little bit of success when he threw his right uppercut.
Franco seemed to have loosened up as he worked the jab more in the third round. Franco found success in combinations to include landing on the body of Moloney. Moloney was able to get off the better shots to close the round. Moloney landed three solid left hooks to the body through the first minute of the fourth round as he looked to separate himself from Franco. Both fighters found themselves in the trenches towards the end of the fourth though Moloney seemed to be the fighter in control.
Moloney remained controlled through the fifth as he continued to be the fighter pressing the action. He used his jab to set up shots as Franco worked to battle back. Moloney used his movement to control the pace in the sixth as he was able to get off from the outside. That said, Franco did find success when the movement stalled as he worked in his right hand to include getting in lets to the body. Franco closed the round with confidence.
Franco continued to press forward in the seventh and saw success landing his straight right. Moloney continued to work in his punches from the outside but was starting to slow a bit as his defense wained. It was Franco who landed a solid right hook in the eight which was likely his best punch of the fight. Moloney, though, remained game though he found himself continually backing up.
Both fighters fought evenly in the ninth round as they looked to prepare themselves for what was looking to be a fight to the distance. Each had their moments but kept it close. Moloney had a bit more bounce in his step to start the 10th as he was able to work his jab to open up single shots. Franco pressed Moloney midway through the round as he got up from a slip. This allowed Franco to open up a cut on the left eye of Moloney. Franco then looked to go in for the kill as he started to tee off on Moloney with crisp combinations that definitely bothered the WBA World Super Flyweight Champion.
Franco had a renewed energy coming out for the 11th and dropped Moloney with a combination about a minute into the round. Moloney looked to be a broken fighter but stay on his wheels on the outside to bide time. Franco continued to batter Moloney when he was able to cut the ring off and catch him but Moloney was able to maintain the round, though bloody and bruised.
Franco came out of the 12th looking to take the fight to Moloney who was still game but a bit reluctant to exchange on the inside. Franco continued to press and was able to get off clean shots when he caught Moloney stagnant. As the round wore on it was Moloney who gained back momentum as he looked to close the round on a high note in what was a definite close fight.
When the scores from the judges were read it turned out to be a unanimous decision victory for Joshua Franco with s sores of 115-112 and 114-113 twice. Congrats to Franco on picking up the title.