With Australian Boxing in it's best shape for quite some time and with 2017 drawing to a close, we have a look at some of the Australian-based fighters set to make a big impact in 2018.
Jason Moloney (15-0-0, 12 KOs)
Having recently moved down to Bantamweight, Jason Moloney made his first appearance at 118lbs last weekend on Lynden Hoskin’s ‘Punches in the Park’ show in Melbourne. On a show that featured brother Andrew, local favourite Ibrahim Balla and rising star Jai Opetai, it was Jason Moloney that sole the show, delivering a KO-of-the-year contender in the final seconds of the first round. – Following a thoroughly dominant first 3 minutes, the affable young Australian saw an opening and launched a vicious over-hand right that almost took his opponent’s chin clean from his body!
Moloney’s win secured him the WBA Asia Title and will likely see him ranked across the major governing bodies having been ranked with IBF, WBA and WBO at Super-Bantamweight prior to dropping down a division. The bantamweight division is piping hot right now, we have just Ryan Burnett of Northern Ireland win a unification match to claim both the IBF and WBA Titles, Luis Nery’s WBC title may also be up for grabs with the highly-rated American failing a drugs test back in August and with the tough Zolani Tete holding the WBO Title, there are plenty of avenues for Jason Moloney to chase a World Title next year and with the power he has brought down to Bantamweight, there is no doubt that ‘The Smooth One’ will be a force to be reckoned with.
Andrew Moloney (15-0-0, 10 KOs)
Like his brother, Andre Moloney recently moved down in weight and is now fighting at Super-Flyweight limit of 115 lbs and, in just his first two fights at the weight so far he has collected the WBA Oceania Title as well as the Commonwealth Title. Given a lack of depth at Super-Flyweight, Moloney finds himself already ranked in the top fifteen with the WBA (8th), IBF (13th) and WBO (10th), meaning an opportunity to fight for any of those belts may present themselves at any time. At only twenty-six, ‘The Monster’ has many bright years ahead of him and having shown consistent development in each fight so far, it’s safe to expect we will see even more next year.
There has been no news yet as to Moloney’s next opponent but in a division without too many big-name commercial stars, it isn’t inconceivable that promoter, Lynden Hoskin, would be able to bring a World Title fight to Australia, should the opportunity arise. However, given his amateur pedigree and experience of fighting abroad, it will not phase the young Australian if he is forced to travel to challenge for that first World Title.
George Kambosos Jr (13-0-0, 7 KOs)
Having cleared up the Lightweight division in Australia with impressive wins over Brandon Ogilvie and Qamil Balla, the outspoken Sydney-Sider recently picked up a stoppage win on Brian Armatruda’s show in Melbourne two weeks’ ago to take his record to 13-0. Currently ranked at number seven with the WBA, Kambosos is well-placed to make a run for a World Title next year, if he is unable to secure that World Title fight, then a big-money fight in the UK against the likes of Ant Crolla or Ricky Burns are being considered.
Kambosos is not currently tied down to a promoter and is in discussions with seemingly everyone from the US to the UK, as well as looking for the best financial deal, Kambosos is likely to sign with someone able to deliver the big fights he craves so desperately and having sparred with the likes of Ray Beltran as well as spending an entire training camp as Pacquiao’s main sparring partner, the undefeated Australian feels he has all the tools to be able to mix it at the very top level. Kambosos has delivered on all of his predictions to date and there is no reason to believe he cannot continue this trajectory into the new year.
Paul Fleming (24-0-0, 16 KOs)
Signed to Top Rank a few years ago and still one of Australia’s hottest, undefeated talents, Paul Fleming’s career has unfortunately lost some of it’s momentum in recent years with inactivity hampering the Super-Featherweight Southpaw’s progression following impressive performances in Macau and the Philippines. However, a sensational KO last weekend has gone viral in Australia and put Fleming’s name back on many fans’ lips as one of the country’s most exciting prospects.
Undefeated after 24 fights, the talented southpaw is well-positioned to make an impact in 2018. With Duco and Top Rank working together on the at least the next two Jeff Horn fights, there may yet be a chance for Fleming to prove his abilities on the bigger stage.
Kris George (13-1-0, 7 KOs)
The current Commonwealth Welterweight Champion just beat Jack Brubaker in Sydney in this past weeknd in his first Title defence. The tough Queenslander was in talks to face Larry Ekundayo in the UK for the WBO Inter Continental Title but promoter Frank Warren instead chose to put in Gary Corcoran into that fight. In winning that fight Corcoran secured himself his upcoming World Title fight with Jeff Horn, a fight that George would love for himself.
For now, George will have to bide his time while he waits for a shot at ‘The Hornet’ and his Commonwealth Title may yet be the key to a fight in the bulging UK market where the likes of Sam Eggington, Bradley Skeete and Frankie Gavin may all fancy a chance to once again challenge for the Commonwealth Title. Domestically, a rematch with the popular Jack Brubaker seems the most viable option given the way their fight ended at the weekend, however another rising star, Ben Savva is also hot on his heels and hungry to challenge for the Queenslander’s Commonwealth belt.
Luke Jackson (15-0-0, 6 KOs)
A Bronze medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Jackson has long been viewed as one of the country’s top prospects and the Tasmanian fighter has, in his professional career so far, backed up any and all hype surrounding him. Fifteen wins from fifteen as a professional has seen Jackson, trained by Billy Hussein of the BodyPunch Gym, move up to ninth in the WBO’s latest rankings – just behind the UK’s Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton. The Featherweight division is littered with talent at the moment so a big-name fight is certainly on the cards in 2018 and Jackson himself has his sights set on WBO World Champion, the hard-hitting Oscar Valdez.
Elsewhere, a domestic showdown with Nathanial May could also be an exciting option for ‘Action Jackson’ and would see the country’s top two featherweights battling it out. Other big names in the division include Frampton, Warrington, Quigg and Diaz Jr so there are plenty options for a big fight in 2018 if the stars align – although given the limited drawing power of fighting in Australia, it’s more than likely we will see Jackson on the road as he seeks further glory.
Brock Jarvis (11-0-0, 10 KOs)
Trained by former World Champion, Jeff Fenech, and at the tender age of only 19, Brock Jarvis has amassed an impressive record of eleven wins from eleven with ten knockouts! Further to that, Jarvis has already travelled to Thailand and Mexico to fight, building up experience that most fighters would not have until much later in their careers, giving the young Australian a terrific foundation to build upon. Jarvis’ reputation as a terrific body-puncher continues to grow and a first round KO at Suncorp stadium ranks as one of his best performances and finishes. Having seen the youngster in sparring multiple times, it is safe to say there is a lot more to come from him and whilst 2018 may not be the year he challenges for a World Title, it will be the year that the Boxing public in Australia sit up and take notice of this mercurial talent.
Trainer and mentor, Fenech, has already stated his desire to take his time in building up Jarvis but if the 19 year old continues his impressive form, he will be unable to fly under the radar much longer and may well find himself being challenged by some of the bigger names in the Super flyweight division before long.
Trent Broadhurst (20-1-0, 12 KOs)
Broadhurst has, for a long time, been one of the country’s best boxers, the Queensland-based Light-Heavyweight challenges for his first World Title in Monaco later this year against the highly-rated, Dmity Bivol as part of a Matchroom Boxing show also featuring Scott Quigg, Dereck Chisora and Jamie McDonnell. This will be a perfect opportunity for Broadhurst to not only achieve a lifelong dream, but also to put himself in the shop window in front of the European crowd. Bivol is undoubtedly one of the hottest prospects in the higher weight divisions and an impressive performance – win or lose – will set up Broadhusrt for a big 2018.
Should he look to fight at home, domestic fights with Damien Hooper and Blake Caparello could offer Aussie fight fans and exciting domestic dust-up so win or lose in Monaco, there’s plenty to come from the gifted Australian next year who is always entertaining to watch.
Damien Hooper (13-1-0, 9 KOs)
When this year began, Damien Hooper’s career looked as though it may have seen it’s best years, a win over the ageing Nader Hamdam at Luna Park in Sydney did little to silence any of his critics and constant trouble outside of the ring left many disregarding the Queensland-born fighter. However, a fight against Umar Salamov on the undercard of the Jeff Horn v Manny Pacquiao card gave Hooper a chance at redemption in the eyes of the Aussie public and boy did he take it. Salamov came into the fight an overwhelming favourite, even amongst Australian pundits, but a magnificent display of the skill we all knew Hooper possessed saw him take an unexpected victory to claim the WBO and IBF International Titles and put him firmly in the frame for a big 2018.
The aforementioned trouble outside of the ring does mean Hooper will struggle to travel and fight outside of Australia and this is likely to be Hooper’s biggest issue moving forwards although, should Trent Broadhurst be successful in his bid to win the WBA Title, we may yet see an all-Australian World Title fight on these shores.