Moloney claims WBA interim junior bantamweight title

MELBOURNE, Australia - Australian Andrew Moloney has defeated New York-based Guyanuan Elton Dharry to claim the WBA interim junior bantamweight title by TKO in the ninth round.

In a popular hometown win, Moloney raised his undefeated record to 21 victories.

Fifth-ranked Dharry, 33, hadn't tasted defeat in more than a decade and approached this bout rated by bookmakers as a longer odds chance of maintaining that run. With the backing and conditioning of the famous Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, Dharry set his sights on achieving the title in unfamiliar territory.

In what appeared to be a fairly even contest in the early rounds, Dharry found his rhythm landing some of his heaviest blows in the fifth. By the sixth round, Moloney recovered and drew a cut and swelling to his opponent's right eye which the 28-year-old used to his advantage.

Dharry required treatment to the eye and brow at the beginning of the seventh and eighth rounds. Ultimately, with just one second elapsing in the ninth, a ringside doctor called the fight to an end. The task proved a little harder than Moloney had initially envisaged.

"He was (tougher to beat)", Moloney told ESPN. "I'm my own toughest critic but I would've loved a more spectacular finish, to knock him out and win more convincingly. But I've got this belt and I can't be too upset."

"He popped my eardrum so I lost my balance a bit there", he explained of his mid-bout lull. "I just had to listen to my coaches and stay composed, get behind the jab and be a bit smart about things."

"When his eye started to swell when I was landing some good jabs. I just tried to really stick behind that and keep landing that shot. His eye was starting to close more and more each round. It became a target."

Earlier on the card, Andrew's twin brother, Jason, defended his WBA Oceania bantamweight title by knockout in the second round over Dixon Flores of Nicaragua.