Down from the Australian skies, the bantamweight monarch, Jason “Mayhem” Moloney, is all set to stir up a storm in the cooler climes of the north. He will be putting his WBO world title on the line against the challenger with Mexican-American roots, Saul Sanchez, on a chilly Saturday night, the 13th of January, within the walls of the Videotron Centre located in the heart of Quebec City, Canada.
The showdown between Moloney and Sanchez will be delivered live and direct to fans in the U.S. on ESPN+, setting the stage before the televised double whammy on ESPN at prime time. This evening of fisticuffs will be headlined by Artur Beterbiev defending his trio of light heavyweight belts against the fierce Callum “Mundo” Smith, followed by the powerhouse Christian Mbilli, who has yet to taste defeat, trading blows with Rohan Murdock in the super middleweight division.
Hailing from Melbourne, Moloney’s road to the world title has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride marked by both grit and grace. After a heart-wrenching split decision loss to Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF world title back in October 2018, he faced another setback against the whirlwind known as Naoya Inoue two years later, enduring seven grueling rounds. Unfazed, the former amateur sensation clawed back into the spotlight, racking up wins against respected adversaries Joshua Greer Jr. and Aston Palicte. His persistence paid off when, this past May, he edged past the heavy-handed Vincent Astrolabio with a majority decision to snatch the WBO crown.
Moloney exudes the confidence of a champion who has weathered many a battle, stating, “Saul has scored himself an impressive victory on foreign soil, and I’ve no doubt he’s coming with an appetite for gold. However, this is my time, the age of ‘Mayhem,’ and I am not just content with wearing the belt. The year 2024 will be my canvas to paint my supremacy as the finest bantamweight on the planet. I’m looking to keep the action going and aim to topple all the other champions in my path. My quest is to stand alone at the summit, an undisputed champion. Yet, before we talk about the road ahead, let’s focus on the present. I’m primed to deliver a knockout that’ll echo through Canada and beyond!”
Sanchez, with his roots anchored in Los Angeles, steps into his premier title challenge with his confidence at its zenith. Despite a close loss to Eros Correa the previous summer, he bounced back spectacularly, dismantling Franklin Gonzalez four times, culminating in a decisive sixth-round halt. He harnessed this surge to overpower the left-handed RV Deniega in Japan, notching a unanimous decision after eight rounds.
Sanchez shares his excitement and determination, ready to bring his top game to the ring. “This opportunity is a dream turned reality, and I’ll be in the form of my life to grab the victory and hoist the title of new world champion. I’m grateful to my manager Nomaan Ali at GOAT Management for making this happen. After securing back-to-back victories, I’m fully prepared to step into the ring with everything I’ve got.”