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Andrew Moloney didn’t know referee had ruled Joshua Franco’s injury was a head clash

A devastated Andrew Moloney says he was unaware referee Russell Mora had ruled Joshua Franco’s eye injury was caused by a head clash and that he would have stayed away from the badly swollen eye until after the fourth round if he did.

Moloney was robbed of the chance to become a two-time world champion when his rematch with Franco for the WBA super flyweight world title was stopped after the second round. 

Franco’s eye had swollen closed by the end of the first round, with Mora ruling an accidental head clash had done the damage. 

Because the fight was stopped before the end of the fourth round becase of a head clash, it was ruled a no-contest. If Mora had declared the injury was caused by Moloney’s punches — or if the fight had proceeded until after the fourth round — then Moloney would have regained the title with a TKO win. 

MORE: Andrew Moloney robbed in Vegas | Bob Arum lashes out at NSAC officials

Nevada State Athletic Commission officials reviewed the fight for almost half an hour attempting to determine where and when the head clash occurred. Despite no clear evidence of a head clash, the NSAC sided with Mora and the bout was called a no-contest. 

Moloney is adamant there wasn’t a head clash and says there’s clear evidence a jab caused the swelling to Franco’s eye.

“There’s clear footage of me landing a jab on Franco where his eye was fine, the jab lands directly on his eye, he holds his eye, he lets his hand down and his eye is already swollen,” Moloney told Sporting News from Las Vegas. 

“I don’t know what more they needed to see on the replay. The instant replay is in use here in Nevada, and they used it, but they didn’t change the decision.

“I just don’t understand it.” 

Thinking Franco’s injury was caused by a jab, Moloney attacked the eye and thought he had won the bout via TKO when it was stopped ahead of the third round. 

He says he would have steered clear of the injury if he had been told it was due to a head clash. 

“The referee hadn’t made it clear to us that it was an accidental head clash,” Moloney said. “He should have told us that that was his ruling and I would have left the eye alone for another few rounds, and after four rounds I would have worked on the eye and it would have gone to the scorecards. 

“They made no communication that was his ruling, so I celebrated thinking I’d won a TKO. 

“But I knew it was a punch, that jab kept landing and the eye started to shut. I knew I was going to stop him.

“I just can’t believe they’ve robbed me of this moment. It hurts.”

While viewers around the world watched numerous replays of the first round as officials searched for a head clash, Moloney waited in agony unable to see a big screen.

He said Top Rank boss Bob Arum and commentators Andre Ward and Tim Bradley all told him he should be declared the winner.

“He (Arum) was pissed off and he’s already got lawyers onto it already to try and overturn the decision,” Moloney said. “He asked us to come into the office on Monday. Worst case is that he’s got options on Franco’s next fight and it will definitely be against me – he won’t let him fight anyone else.

“That’s obviously good news, and hopefully they do overturn the decision, but I’m still devastated they robbed that moment in the ring from me.” 

Moloney traded heated words with Franco and his team in the minutes after the result was made official. He says the 25-year-old American doesn’t deserve to be a world champion.

“His team were a joke. They were screaming at me and one of them was telling me I didn’t want to be in there and wanted out,” Moloney said. “One was telling me about the first fight, that he broke my nose. But I’m not arguing about the first fight, I’m arguing about this fight. 

“I fought through a broken nose and perforated ear drums and a cut eye. Tonight, as soon as it got tough, he wanted out of there. I could sense it. 

“After the fight he knew he’d lost. I knows he doesn’t deserve to have that belt. 

“He knows he doesn’t deserve it and he knows he won’t be carrying it around too much.”

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