Trumped: How Aussie boxers beat COVID freeze for US entry
A WEEK ago, Andrew Moloney feared he would not defend his WBA super flyweight title this year.
Well, Australia's sole boxing champ is quarantining in a Las Vegas mansion.
Alongside him, twin brother Jason.
Together, the pair set to spend the next 14 days training, sparring and generally preparing together for what looms as the biggest fights for any Aussies in 2020.
Unthinkable only days ago, the Moloney twins have been rushed across to the world's fight capital as famed American promoter Bob Arum prepares to resurrect boxing before the end of June.
While most of the world remains in lockdown, the Australian Government has granted its top-ranked brothers a special exemption to fly stateside on one of the few United Airlines services still in operation.
And with the Las Vegas strip in lockdown, Arum's Top Rank promotion has hired a spacious home in the suburbs - complete with pool and jacuzzi - for the Moloney boys to quarantine.
After being granted a travel exemption last Thursday evening, the pair had only hours to pack before flying out to Los Angeles early Friday morning.
They then caught a second flight, wearing face masks throughout, into an almost deserted Las Vegas airport.
"So it's been a whirlwind," Andrew told The Daily Telegraph from his new Sin City digs.
"Only last week I thought there would be no fights for either of us until the end of the year.
"Now though, it looks like we'll be fighting real soon.
"And because Jason and I have been able to train throughout lockdown, I actually feel we've got the advantage over everyone else.
"We've been training hard when I know other boxers haven't.
"Even now while we're in quarantine, Top Rank have put us in a great house where we can train and spar together.
"They've actually told us there aren't too many boxers ready to go like we are."
Brother Jason, a No.2-ranked bantamweight, agreed adding: "It's great because at this stage of our careers, we can't afford to take time off.
"We're in our prime now and have some really big fights coming up."
Before the COVID-19 pandemic broke, Andrew was scheduled to defend his super flyweight title against Mexican Israel Gonzalez in Oklahoma on April 18.
Brother Jason, meanwhile, was booked to fight No.1 bantamweight contender Josh Greer seven days later at the Mandalay Bay Casino, Las Vegas.
While the twins currently have no idea who they will face next, or when, Arum is expected to announce a June show shortly.
Already training in quarantine, both fighters also praised their manager Tony Tolj, who after taking a call from Top Rank last Monday then worked overtime to have his fighters on a US flight by Friday morning.
A major reason the Moloneys were granted permission to travel was due to Tolj having already had all the paperwork, visas and medical testing signed off in case of such a call.
Asked if they had concerns about contracting the virus while in the US, Jason said the pair, who will undergo COVID-19 testing this week, had all faith in Top Rank medical procedures.
"Because they want us fighting," he said. "And that can't happen if we contract the coronavirus.
"So we know Top Rank are doing everything possible to protect us. We feel safe."
Originally published as Trumped: How Aussie boxers beat COVID freeze for shock US entry