July 2, 2018
July 2, 2018
Paul Butler vs Emmanuel Rodriguez

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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NEWLY crowned IBF bantamweight world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez will make the first defence of his title against mandatory Jason Moloney.

Rodriguez won the title in May when he convincingly outpointed Englishman Paul Butler on the undercard of Tony Bellew v David Haye II.

The Puerto Rican, who holds a record of 18-0 (12), was named as one of the three world champions to enter the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) season two, as WBA champion Ryan Burnett, and WBO titlist Zolani Tete will also compete.

Rodriguez will defend his title against the fourth named participant in the bantamweight WBSS as he meets current Commonwealth champion Moloney in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

The Australian challenger also comes into the fight unbeaten in 17 with 14 knockouts, while also competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games at age 19.

“It has been my dream for many years now to become world champion,” said Moloney. “It is something which myself and my team have been working very hard towards.

“Now I will have the opportunity to achieve this dream and much more. We now have the opportunity to become a unified world champion, win the glorious Muhammad Ali Trophy and become the undisputed number one bantamweight in the world.”

In a division stacked with talent, picking a favourite to win the tournament will be no mean feat but not many will tip the unknown Moloney to go all the way, although that has not stopped the Aussie from claiming he will “shock the world”.

“I am going to grab this opportunity with both hands and I truly believe that we have what it takes to go all the way and win this tournament and become Australia’s next world champion,” Moloney said.

“We are not in this competition to make up the numbers, We are here to shock the world.”

Chief Boxing Officer for the WBSS, Kalle Sauerland said Moloney is “another exciting addition” to the second season of the knockout tournament.

“Moloney is yet another exciting addition to Season II,” said the promoter.

“He is one of the biggest prospects in Australian boxing and enters the world stage and Ali Trophy action full of confidence. He is clearly a very determined power punching fighter eager to impress.”

Three weight classes will feature in Season II of the World Boxing Super Series with two categories, bantamweight and super-lightweight, already announced.

The names already announced for the super-lightweight tournament are: Kiryl Relikh (WBA world super-lightweight champion), Anthony Yigit (European champion and IBF mandatory), Ivan Baranchyk (IBF mandatory) and Josh Taylor.