VINCENT Astrolabio finally earned his shot at a world title as he takes on former world title challenger Andrew Moloney for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight belt in an ESPN show on May 13 in at a yet-to-be-determined venue in the United States.
Astrolabio had an impressive campaign in 2022 that skyrocketed his career after impressive wins over two-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux and world-rated Russian Nikolai Potapov.
The 25-year-old Astrolabio shocked Rigondeaux after dropping him in the eighth round and defeated him by unanimous decision on Feb. 26, 2022 in Dubai. Later that year, Astrolabio earned an International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight title eliminator against Potapov. He floored Potapov three times and knocked him out in the sixth round to earn the mandatory challenger status.
Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue, who held all the belts in the bantamweight division, suddenly relinquished his belts to move up in weight thus paving the way for different highly rated bantamweights to fight for four vacant titles.
Astrolabio was ordered by the IBF to fight No. 2 ranked Emmanuel Rodriguez for the vacant IBF belt. However, he decided to go a different path and chose to fight Moloney for the WBO strap.
The 32-year-old Moloney, on the other hand, was supposed to negotiate for a fight against Filipino star Nonito Donaire Jr. for the vacant World Boxing Council bantamweight title. But Moloney decided to pursue the WBO belt and face Astrolabio.
Moloney has fallen short, thus far, in all his world title attempts. His first shot at a world title was back in 2018 in the quarter finals of the World Boxing Super Series. He challenged then IBF champion Rodriguez and lost by a split decision in Orlando, Florida.
Moloney’s second attempt came in 2020. He fought Inoue for the IBF and World Boxing Association bantamweight belts but lost by a seventh-round knockout.
Since his loss to Inoue, Moloney has climbed his way back up the bantamweight ladder defeating Joshua Greer Jr. by unanimous decision, Aston Palicte by a third-round stoppage and lately Nawaphon Kaikanha by a third-round technical knockout.
Astrolabio is 18-3 with 13 knockouts, while Moloney is 25-2 with 19 knockouts.(EKA)
March 24, 2023
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