Junto Nakatani won a world title in a second weight class tonight, brutally knocking out Andrew Moloney in the 12th and final round to win the previously vacant WBO 115 lb title.
Nakatani (25-0, 19 KO) had dropped Moloney (25-3, 16 KO) in the second and 11th rounds, and Moloney’s corner were reluctant to send him out for the 12th.
The knockout shot, which was truly vicious, came at 2:42 of round 12.
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To note, Moloney was definitely knocked clean out, but he was able to sit up, was responding, and more or less seemed OK in the moment. He received attention quickly and will surely head to a hospital for further tests.
The 25-year-old Nakatani, who previously held a flyweight world title, really does look like one of the top rising fighters in the sport right now. He mostly dominated this fight, and Moloney, 32, had his best moments just kind of roughing it up and trying to make the fight ugly, because he couldn’t really out-box Nakatani and he couldn’t win a firefight with him.
It was a game effort from Moloney, but he was never totally in the fight at any point, either. Nakatani had his number, because he really is just that good.
Hearts of champions are on display #HaneyLoma pic.twitter.com/UiqLo6EXZz— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 21, 2023
NAKATANI FLOORS MOLONEY IN ROUND ELEVEN. #HaneyLoma pic.twitter.com/pHG2dgAJj5— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 21, 2023
WORLD CHAMPION— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) May 21, 2023
Nakatani does it in devastating fashion #HaneyLoma pic.twitter.com/PtGRLRp4g3
Nico Ali Walsh D-8 Danny Rosenberger
The first official blemish on the record of Walsh (8-0-1, 5 KO), and very easily could and maybe even should have been a loss. Judges had one card of 76-76, and then two of 77-75, one to Walsh, one to Rosenberger.
Unofficially, Bad Left Hook had scores of 77-75 and 78-74 for Rosenberger (13-9-5, 4 KO), whose movement and mildly slick stylings gave Walsh fits in this fight. Andre Ward suggested they run it back, and I think that’s probably good. The reality is that Walsh just does not look like a guy who “has it,” but he does seem to work hard, he’s made improvements, he’s trying to get better, and Rosenberger was a good test for him.
Personally, I think he failed the test, but he gets an out with the draw. Maybe you give him a different fight first and come back to this late in the year or something, but he’s going to have to really get better to convincingly, genuinely beat this guy. And maybe he will! But this was a clear look at how limited he still is, because Rosenberger is a 33-year-old Youngstown club fighter.