Jason “Mayhem” Moloney (26-2, 19 KOs) emerged victorious in his third attempt, securing the vacant WBO bantamweight world title with a majority decision win over Filipino fighter Vincent Astrolabio (18-4, 13 KOs).
Moloney employed a smart boxing strategy to neutralize Astrolabio’s powerful punches. While Astrolabio managed to close the gap in the early rounds, the 32-year-old Australian from Melbourne gained control of the bout in the middle rounds using continuous footwork and jabs.
One judge scored the fight as a 114-114 draw, but two other judges overruled with scores of 115-113 and 116-112 in Moloney’s favor, ultimately crowning him the champion.
Moloney expressed relief at the victory, saying, “I thought I won it going away, but all that matters is the victory. And now I have this belt for the rest of my life… I broke my hand in the third or fourth round. It hurt every time I threw it. But I knew this was my last chance to make my dream come true… This is half the job done for Team Moloney. Next week, [twin brother] Andrew will join me as champion of the world.”
In other bouts:
Lightweights: Gabriel Flores Jr. (22-2, 8 KOs) from Stockton delivered a first-round knockout against Derrick Murray (17-9-1, 6 KOs) in their scheduled eight-round contest. Despite being away from the ring for nearly 10 months, Flores only needed a single counter left hook to knock Murray out cold in just 27 seconds.
Featherweights: Former world title challenger Ruben “Drac” Villa IV (20-1, 7 KOs) debuted successfully with Top Rank, achieving a fifth-round TKO victory over Maickol Lopez Villagrana (16-5, 8 KOs). Villa floored Villagrana with a left hand in the fourth round and continued his relentless assault in the fifth, prompting referee Gerard White to stop the fight at 1:55.
Middleweights: Undefeated prospects Javier Martinez (8-0-1, 2 KOs) and Joeshon James (7-0-1, 4 KOs) fought to a split draw in an intense eight-round battle. James performed better at a distance, but Martinez managed to keep the fight at close quarters for extended periods, allowing him to land left hands through his opponent’s guard. Scores: 79-73 James, 77-75 Martinez, and 76-76.
Junior Lightweights: Amado Fernando Vargas (7-0, 2 KOs) made a triumphant return to the ring with a four-round unanimous decision win over Bernardo Manzano (2-5). Vargas scored a knockdown in the first round and maintained his dominance throughout the fight with a relentless body attack. Scores: 40-35 across all three judges’ cards.