Thursday night’s Top Rank show is solid on paper, and has a little bit of extra intrigue following Tuesday night, where Andrew Moloney was upset by Joshua Franco. Andrew’s twin brother Jason Moloney will look to avoid the same result tomorrow night at 8 pm ET on ESPN.
The Aussie Andrew was making his U.S. debut last night, and Jason Moloney (20-1, 17 KO) is 0-1 in the States himself, suffering his lone career defeat via split decision in 2018 in an IBF bantamweight title fight.
The 29-year-old Moloney is favored tomorrow night, as his brother was, but like Andrew, he’s facing a guy who comes to fight in Leonardo Baez. Baez (18-2, 9 KO) is a short notice replacement for Oscar Negrete, but has three straight solid wins. The 24-year-old from Mexico weighed in at 118¼, with Moloney at 117¾.
The co-feature, which will open the show on ESPN, will see junior lightweight prospect Abraham Nova (18-0, 14 KO) take on Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3 KO) in an intriguing style clash. The 26-year-old Sparrow is a Philly fighter and has some of that Philly craftiness, scoring a majority decision win over veteran Hank Lundy in Mar. 2019, which was Sparrow’s last bout. Sparrow was meant to face Ryan Garcia last year, but was arrested just before the fight.
Now, he’s got a chance to break through in what is, on paper, an easier fight to possibly win. The 26-year-old Nova, a Puerto Rican based in Brooklyn, is taking a bit of a step up in competition here in terms of skill and style, at the very least. Sparrow weighed in at 131½, with Nova at 131¾.
Both Moloney-Baez and Nova-Sparrow are set for 10 rounds.
In an eight-round featherweight fight, Orlando Gonzalez (14-0, 10 KO) will face Luis Porozo (15-2, 8 KO). They weighed in at 126 and 125, respectively.
The show will also feature a trio of six-round fights, two in the welterweight division and one at heavyweight.
The heavyweight fight will pit Waldo Cortes (5-2, 2 KO) against Kingsley Ibeh (3-1, 3 KO) in a rematch. That’s right, folks — Cortes-Ibeh II, live on your screens tomorrow night! Cortes beat Ibeh via split decision over four rounds last October. Cortes weighed in at 246, with Ibeh at 286¼, which is actually his lowest weight in his last four bouts, and he’s really not got the “sloppy bod” you’d usually think of a guy with that weight, he’s just a huge dude with a football (XFL type football, not soccer) body:
Ibeh, 26, came to the U.S. from Nigeria at age 16 and took up football, in fact, getting a tryout with the Arizona Cardinals and eventually landing with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. But it didn’t work out, and he turned pro in boxing last year. He’s a project fighter.
In one welterweight bout, Vlad Panin (7-1, 4 KO) will take on Benjamin Whitaker (13-3, 3 KO). They weighed in at 149 and 151, respectively, which is of course a bit over the divisional limit but whatever. In the other, we’ll see Reymond Yanong (10-5-1, 9 KO) face Clay Burns (9-7-2, 4 KO). They weighed 143 and 143½, respectively, which is of course a bit under the divisional limit but whatever.