Inoue to make Top Rank debut vs. Jason Moloney

Boxing

Naoya Inoue’s Top Rank debut is set.

The unified bantamweight titlist and ESPN’s No. 4 pound-for-pound fighter is scheduled to face Jason Moloney (21-1, 18 KOs) at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas this fall, according to Moloney’s manager, Tony Tolj.

“We’re still in talks and finalizing the fight, but it appears we will be fighting Inoue for all his titles,” Tolj said.

Bob Arum, who promotes both Jason Moloney and his brother Andrew, says the bout is slated for Oct. 31.

Originally, the highly regarded Inoue was scheduled to face WBO belt holder John Riel Casimero. That fight fell apart due to the changing economics in the sport because of the coronavirus pandemic. Casimero is now facing Duke Micah on Sept. 26.

“We would like to thank John Riel Casimero and Sean Gibbons [of MP Promotions]. We might actually send a Christmas hamper to the Philippines for making the fight happen,” Tolj joked. “We don’t run from ‘the Monster,’ we’re there to take him on.”

On June 25, Jason Moloney stopped Leonardo Baez in seven rounds in his debut with Top Rank. Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs) last fought Nonito Donaire last November.

Andrew Moloney (21-1, 14 KOs) lost his WBA 115-pound title in a hard-fought unanimous decision to Joshua Franco on June 23 but has enforced his rematch clause and will most likely face Franco again in November.

Tolj says both Moloneys will be prepared.

“They’re the consummate fighters; they’re in the gym every day,” he said. “These guys eat, breathe, live boxing.”

Tolj said the pair will return to the United States about a month before the Inoue bout, saying these will be two of the most important bouts the Moloneys will ever have.

In Ric Flair’s words, Tolj joked, “To beat the man, you’ve got to beat the man.”

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