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Yoshiki Takei outpoints Jason Moloney, wins WBO bantamweight title


Jason Moloney (left) and Yoshiki Takei. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Former kickboxing champion Yoshiki Takei utilized his long reach, unorthodox southpaw style and a lot of guts to outpoint battle-tested Jason Moloney and win his first major world boxing title in his ninth pro bout on the Inoue-Nery undercard on Monday at the Tokyo Dome.

The 27-year-old Tokyo native had to survive a furious rally from Moloney in the final minute of Round 12 to earn the WBO bantamweight title by scores of 117-110 and 116-111 (twice), but he had banked the early rounds (despite being penalized a point for a borderline low blow in Round 2) by soundly outworking the rugged Australian and he held his form when the 33-year-old veteran pressed him hard in Rounds 6, 7 and 8.

Takei (9-0, 8 KOs) had only fought past eight rounds once (an 11th-round stoppage of Bruno Tarimo in 2022), so he lost some steam in Rounds 8 and 9 but he was still able to set traps and land his heavy left hand while backpedaling away from Moloney (27-3, 19 KOs), The Ring’s No. 2-rated bantamweight, who inexplicably took his foot off the gas pedal in Rounds 10 and 11, setting up the dramatic finish.

With Takei’s victory, all four major bantamweight world titleholders now hail from Japan.

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