The Hype is Real
Andrew Moloney rarely appears on a boxing card without his brother Jason Moloney sharing the bill. And vice versa. It’s worked out well. Both are undefeated. This coming Saturday, Australia’s version of the Charlo twins will be in action again, co-headlining a show at the St. Kilda Town Hall in Melbourne. Andrew (15-0, 10 KOs) meets Rene Dacquel (20-6-1) of the Philippines in a 12-round contest in the super flyweight division. Jason (15-0, 12 KOs) opposes Namibia’s Immanuel Naidjala (23-4-1) in a 10-round bantamweight match. Multiple regional titles are on the line in both bouts.
The twins, who turned 27 last month, got hooked on boxing after taking up the sport in their early teens as a way to keep in shape for Australian Rules Football. “In football,” Andrew is quick to remind us, “there are so many variables and your teammates can determine whether you win or lose, whereas in boxing it is 100 percent down to you.” The brothers love competition and firmly believe that boxing is the most competitive thing a person can do.
Andrew lost his first seven amateur fights but never thought about stopping. “I’m not a quitter,” he will tell you with pure conviction in his voice. He went on to win seven state and seven national titles. He represented Australia in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and again in 2014 when he won the gold medal in the flyweight division.
Jason also competed in the Commonwealth Games. He won five state and four national titles in a decade of amateur fighting. During his amateur days, he convincingly beat Michael Conlan.
As pros, the twins have been around some of the best, with Oscar Valdez saying that the brothers “are sure to be future world champions” and Nonito Donaire saying that Jason “is a big time talent.” The Filipino Flash even stated that he learned a few things from Jason in sparring despite the age difference.
Early last year the brothers made a big decision when they left their home in Melbourne and relocated to New South Wales to link up with longtime trainer Angelo Hyder.
As fate would have it, the pairing between the trainer and the twins almost never happened. Angelo suffered a nearly fatal accident when he was working in the forest and a bulldozer reversed, with its blade clipping a tree that fell into another tree that then in turn fell on Angelo.
The tree fractured his skull, broke his jaw, eye socket, cheek bone, and leg while crushing his T-11 disc. The surgeon said that he came as close as a human can come to death and still survive. His rehab is still ongoing due to needing seven plates in his head and jaw and a titanium rod in his leg from knee to ankle.
Angelo wasn’t sure if he would ever train again as he could not get around on his feet, let alone hold the pads. But he saw something in the twin brothers who were looking for a top level trainer and were willing to leave their home city, so instead of turning them away he linked them up with Nick Midgley and Tony “El Tigre” Nobbs. To this day, both continue to help out with training and corner work.
Team Moloney is very tight-knit. Above all else, they take pride in character.
“Leaving their whole life behind to reach their dreams is part of the commitment needed to achieve the elite level,” says Angelo Hyder, who was good friends with Lou Duva. “Not everyone can be a world champion, but whether a world champion or not you cannot teach a fighter to reach their true potential without character. If they have poor character the ability only gets you so far because when someone starts banging into your liver and your nose is bleeding, your eyes are cut and you got blood pouring down your face and you got six rounds to go with a world champion, that ability only gets you so far. The character deep inside that person takes over, that fire burning, and when they have true character they are going to dig deep inside and for that character to stand up and listen to dig you out of that hole and win the fight.”
Andrew and Jason have exceptional character, says Angelo, with their abilities an added bonus.
Angelo considers himself a boxing teacher more than a trainer. He likes observing the brothers as they do pad-work so he can watch their movements to see if they are leveraging their punches to get the maximum amount of power.
“When the boys came to me they had a good base and good muscle, but too much muscle in some of the wrong areas for boxers. So we started with endurance training and stripping away muscle from areas that were not relevant to punching power or strength.”
With the help and focus, both Jason and Andrew dropped a weight class. They both claim they find it easier to make weight in their new weight class than the old one.
The progress of Jason and Andrew has been very interesting from Angelo’s perspective. In the gym, they learn different things at different times, which Angelo finds amusing. “I will teach Andrew to rip left hooks and he will get it right away but Jason won’t get it, so I will say what side of the womb were you on? You must have spent your time on the right side and Andrew on the left.”
He also has to slow them down when they spar each other due to their competitiveness. As he is constantly reminding them, “you should learn when you spar, not fight when you spar.”
In the ring, there is indeed a noted difference between them. Angelo describes Andrew as “a young Manny Pacquiao, fast and powerful, high volume, with really fast foot movement,” while he describes Jason as “a longer statured, more patient boxer-puncher, more like Erik Morales or Juan Manuel Marquez, working to set up his power shots.”
For the most part the twins agree with the assessment, with Jason saying “I’m probably a little more relaxed and patient while Andrew’s got a bit of a short temper. You will see that in the styles sometimes.” (What’s interesting is that the more patient brother has two more knockouts in the same number of fights.)
Andrew, per his style, is nicknamed “The Monster.” Jason has yet to get a nickname that sticks, having shed his old moniker “The Smooth One.”
The twins are back in their hometown on Saturday where they have quite a fan base.
Their manager Tony Tolj of Dragon Fire Boxing is looking to expand that base. He says that the end game is to win and defend world titles. “Winning the world title can be in Australia, America, England, or Jupiter; it doesn’t matter. The goal is winning and unifying.”
Andrew Moloney isn’t one to mince his words, flatly stating “I will be a super flyweight world champion in the future.” The weight class in which he competes is getting a lot of buzz right now. It will be interesting to see if he can make his words come true.