Now that major titles may be won in consecutive weekends, Andrew and Jason Moloney have a chance to do so.
BoxingScene.com has heard that a date and venue have been set for Andrew Moloney’s previously scheduled bout with Junto Nakatani of Japan for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title. The fight as it has been finalized is scheduled for May 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The undisputed lightweight championship bout between Devin Haney and Vasily Lomachenko will serve as the main event of the night and be broadcast on ESPN Pay-Per-View. Moloney-Nakatani’s participation in the PPV section of the program or whether it will serve as the lead-in card on a different ESPN platform are still to be decided.
The Nakatani-Moloney winner will earn the WBO junior bantamweight title that was recently vacated by four-division champion Kazuto Ioka. Nakatani was the mandatory challenger for Ioka, who instead chose to pursue a rematch with WBA junior bantamweight titlist Joshua Franco (18-1-3, 8KOs), which will take place in June as previously reported by BoxingScene.com.
Nakatani (24-0, 16KOs) was named the mandatory challenger to the WBO junior bantamweight title during the sanctioning body’s convention last October in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ranking came in exchange for his vacating the WBO flyweight title, though with the understanding that he would have to wait out the already scheduled Franco-Ioka WBA/WBO unification bout for last New Year’s Eve in Tokyo.
The WBO ruled during the convention that Nakatani was guaranteed to next challenge for the title within 180 days of the unification bout. Ioka (29-2, 15KOs) and Franco (18-1-3, 8KOs) fought to a twelve-round majority decision draw, which left Ioka on the hook to honor the mandatory title defense as the reigning WBO titlist.