From Ireland to Australia to the United States to Japan, TJ Doheny is truly a world champion
He came from the Emerald Isle, boxed Down Under, temporarily set up shop in “Beantown” and went to the “Land of the Rising Sun” to become a champion.
Unbeaten Irishman TJ Doheny, 20-0 (14), captured the IBF junior featherweight title, on August 16, via unanimous decision over defending champ Ryosuke Iwasa, 25-3 (16), of Japan.
The two 122-pounders waged war at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. While Doheny left the ring bloodied, cut and bruised, he also left as a world champion, seeing the realization of hard work and dedication that started upon turning pro back in 2012.
In just his fifth bout, Doheny fought for the vacant Pan Asian Boxing Association junior featherweight title, successfully defending it six times. However he always had his eyes on the big prize.
The Portlaois, Ireland-born Doheny, who spent the majority of his career in Australia, made the move to the United States a couple of years ago to take the next steps in his career. After moving to Massachusetts in 2016, while at 14-0, Doheny and Australian-based manager Mike Altamura started putting together the run that would take them to the title.
Under the direction of Altamura, who is also an international consultant for MTK Global, Doheny kept stacking up the wins as he looked to one day secure a title shot.
Coming off an impressive stoppage of veteran Mike Oliver last March, and sitting at 19-0 (14), Doheny was slotted for a shot at the world title. However it wasn’t going to be an easy assignment in facing a red-hot Iwasa, who was entering his third world title fight (and second title defense) in less than a year. And Doheny was facing the champion in his backyard.
However on Thursday night, Doheny banged, boxed and brawled his way to a close but clear win over the game and talented former champion. Traveling to Iwasa’s home country was obviously no problem for a road warrior like Doheny.
Doheny was born in Ireland before moving to Australia. Then he relocated to Melrose, Massachusetts and is now back living in Perth, West Australia. So traveling to East Asia in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was just another day at the office.
It’s now full speed ahead for the exciting junior featherweight champion.
Thursday night it all came together for Doheny, who now heads home as a champion in an exciting division that also includes WBO champion Isaac Dogboe, WBC champ Rey Vargas and WBA boss Daniel Roman.
After the bout, UCNLive.com caught up with Altamura, who was thrilled for his charge, as he delighted in seeing it all come together for the hard-working Doheny.
“It was a great fight between two great fighters,” said Altamura. “He came here to get that strap and that’s exactly what he did. I’m thrilled for him, his coaches and our whole team, Hector Bermudez, Tony Del Vecchio, my dear friend Sean Gibbons and all our supporting team, everyone. It was a great fight, two gladiators and two gentlemen and now TJ is the newly-crowned champ. All the years of blood, sweat and tears finally paid off for him. It was a great night and I think that TJ boxed the best he ever has in his carer. I think it was clear he was the winner. What made it more special was that he had some nasty cuts early but he held his composure and came on in the middle stages and he really had to stamp his authority in the 12th round and he did that. A very, very proud moment for the kid.”
As for what is next, Altamura said Doheny has earned a nice rest before they look at their best options.
“I think it is time for a rest; he has earned it. I think then we’ll look at a title defense in December or sometime thereabout. We’ll speak to our team and see what options are on the table. We’ll look at any challenges that are available for him but it would be great to have a homecoming fight for him in Ireland,” said Altamura.