Australia’s Andrew Moloney hopes to earn another junior bantamweight world title shot in 2022. In order to do so, he’ll have to get past an upset-minded veteran from Northern California.
Moloney will face Gilberto Mendoza in an eight-rounder this Saturday, April 9, at The Hangar at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California. Moloney-Mendoza will open the televised tripleheader headlined by WBO/IBF junior lightweight world champion Mikaela Mayer’s title defense against Jennifer Han.
Mayer-Han, the welterweight co-feature between Giovani Santillan and Jeonvanis Barraza, and Moloney-Mendoza will air live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Moloney (22-2, 14 KOs), a former WBA 115-pound world champion, lost his title via unanimous decision to Joshua Franco in June 2020. Moloney and Franco fought to a controversial no-contest in their November 2020 rematch, and their trilogy concluded last August with Franco retaining his title by decision. Moloney returned to action in December in Sydney, Australia, winning a wide points verdict over Froilan Saludar. Mendoza (19-11-3, 10 KOs), from Modesto, California, has not been stopped in more than a decade and has gone the distance with the likes of former world champions Angel Acosta and Rau’shee Warren.
Moloney said, “I’m grateful that my fight will be live on ESPN, and I will show everyone that I am a much better fighter than what they saw from me against Franco. I’m looking to make a statement in this fight and move closer to another world title.”
Undercard action will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) and will feature the following bouts:
Two-time bantamweight world title challenger Jason Moloney (22-2, 18 KOs), last seen defeating top contender Joshua Greer Jr., will face Francisco Pedroza (17-10-2, 10 KOs) in a bout scheduled for 10 or 8 rounds.
Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz (3-0), the 18-year-old junior featherweight sensation from Las Vegas, steps up against the once-beaten Blake Quintana (4-1, 1 KO) in a six-rounder. Diaz turned pro in February 2021 following a storied amateur career at the junior level.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medalist Duke Ragan (4-0, 1 KO) makes his long-awaited professional return versus Diuhl Olguin (15-21-5, 10 KOs) in a six-rounder at featherweight.
Ragan’s Olympic teammate, Virginia Fuchs, makes her highly anticipated professional debut against Randee Lynn Morales (4-3, 2 KOs) in a six-rounder at flyweight. In addition to her appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, Fuchs earned a bronze medal at the 2018 World Championships and silver at the 2019 Pan American Games.
IBF No. 1 featherweight contender Luis Alberto Lopez (24-2, 13 KOs), fresh off his title eliminator knockout victory over Isaac Lowe, will fight Raul Chirino (19-13, 12 KOs) in an eight-rounder. Lopez has won seven straight fights, a streak that’s included wins over Andy Vences and Gabriel Flores Jr.
In additional undercard action, which will take place before the ESPN+ stream (3 p.m. PT), Mexican junior welterweight prospect Lindolfo Delgado (14-0, 12 KOs) will fight an opponent to be named in an eight-rounder, and 2021 National Golden Gloves silver medalist Angel Hernandez will make his professional debut versus Victor Saravia (1-2, 1 KO) in a four-rounder at featherweight.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Englebrecht Promotions & Events, tickets starting at $60 are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.socafights.com .