Nakatani And Moloney To Vie For Vacant WBO Title At 115

Nakatani to Battle Moloney in WBO Title Fight!

WBO orders Junto Nakatani vs Andrew Moloney vacant title fight
Junto Nakatani (L, Mikey Williams/Top Rank), Andrew Moloney

WBO Orders Junto Nakatani vs Andrew Moloney Vacant Title Fight

The plan is officially underway to fill the void for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title. The WBO announced that their mandatory challenger, Junto Nakatani (24-0, 16 KOs), and the WBO second-ranked 115-pounder, Andrew Moloney (25-2, 16 KOs, 1 NC), will fight for the vacant belt.


This move comes after Kazuto Ioka decided to relinquish the title to seek a rematch with reigning WBA champion Joshua Franco. Word on the street is Franco vs Ioka II will happen in June 2023.

Nakatani is the one-time WBO champion at flyweight. In October 2022, the 25-year-old vacated that belt. The WBO ordered him to face then-champion Ioka in January 2023. That ordered contest headed to a purse bid when Ioka announced he would forego the junior bantamweight title.

Instead, Nakatani will face Moloney who is a one-time WBA Regular champion at 115. Many fans remember the 32-year-old from his three fights against Franco. In June 2020, Moloney lost the title to Franco by unanimous decision. Their rematch ended in a disappointing two-round no contest over Franco being unable to continue after he suffered severe swelling due to a headbutt. In the trilogy, Moloney once again defeated Franco by a unanimous decision.

The WBO has yet to announce a deadline for Nakatani and Moloney to negotiate. Teiken Promotions handles the career of Nakatani. The Japanese promotional powerhouse has a business relationship with Top Rank, current promoters of Moloney. Nakatani’s lone fight in the United States took place in September 2021, when he successfully defended the WBO flyweight title with a fourth-round stoppage over then-mandatory challenger Angel Acosta. That contest occurred on a fight card that was promoted by Top Rank.

The expectation is that negotiations for Nakatani vs Moloney will go smoothly, and the fight will get finalized sooner rather than later. Stay tuned to 3Kings Boxing for updates on the date and location.

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Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for