After being the victim of apparent rough justice in his rematch with WBA Regular 115lbs champion Joshua Franco at the weekend, Australian Andrew Moloney has lodged an appeal with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

On Saturday at the ‘Bubble’ inside the MGM Grand, former champion Moloney started strongly in his revenge mission against Franco before the fight was halted after two rounds due to a swelling around the American’s right eye.

Referee Russell Mora had previously ruled the injury as stemming from a supposed first-round clash of heads but no headbutt to that area was apparent in slow motion replays of the fight. 

After a mind-numbing 26-minute delay, where NSAC replay officials referee Robert Byrd and Executive Director Bob Bennett poured over the fight footage, Mora’s debatable call was backed and Franco escaped with his title via a No Decision. The outcome was widely derided.

Moloney’s team argued the injury was a result of legal punches, a seemingly legitimate claim, and on Wednesday filed an appeal with the NSAC, labelling the no contest a “clear error”, according to documentation acquired by Espn.com, and demanding a hearing.

“Because there was indeed no headbutt, accidental or otherwise, the correct result should have been a technical knockout victory for Mr. Moloney,” Moloney’s attorney Josh Dubin wrote in the appeal letter. “The consequence of Mr. Mora’s erroneous determination of an accidental headbutt denied Mr. Moloney the WBA super-flyweight world title.”

In a statement on Monday, Bennett had argued replays showed ‘possible headbutts’ at 1.12 and 2.08 of the opening round, with screenshots attached as evidence.

“During this fight there was no conclusive evidence to overturn the referee’s decision,” read Bennett’s official NSAC statement. “In fact, based on the screenshots above the referee was unequivocally correct.”

Dubin disputed those claims in the legal letter as Team Moloney presses for a hearing.

“Any objective analysis of the video footage of the first round of the bout demonstrates that at no point did Mr. Moloney headbutt Mr. Franco,” insisted Dubin, also providing screenshots from that first round. 

“Rather, the video footage clearly show[s] that Mr. Moloney landed a number of powerful jabs to the right side of Mr. Franco’s face. The video footage also unmistakably shows how over the course of the first round, those repeated jabs were the sole cause of Mr. Franco’s eye swelling, and eventually closing.”

Franco previously appointed Moloney at the same venue in June.

Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.