TJ Doheny retains title at MSG

By Michael Woods

TJ Doheny, an Irish born Aussie resident made his first successful defense of the IBF junior featherweight title, stopping Ryohei Takahashi in round eleven.

In the first, Doheny, a lefty, showed solid aggression and the title challenger went to his corner exhaling like the first round had gone six minutes. In the second, we saw cuts on both fighters. The side bridge of the nose was sliced on Takahashi and Doheny’s slice was in between his eyes. But as he said afterwards: “It’s not a TJ Doheny fight without a cut.” The blood didn’t flow in the third, and then some drama…TJ got credited for a knockdown. A right hook hurt Takahashi, he held on but got swatted to the canvas.

“I was shaking off a bit of rust, coming off of a thumb injury. I was about a half a second too slow on my counter punching but the main thing is I came here to defend my title for the first time and that’s exactly what I did,” said Doheny (21-0, 15 KOs). “Every time I hit him, I felt I was hurting him. The main thing is we got the stoppage in the end and we are moving on now.”

In the fourth, Doheny got the nod, with his volume and sharpness. In the fifth, Takahashi (16-4-1, 6 KOs) wanted to get grittier and press the Irishman. Not as easy in practice as theory; Doheny skipped and slid and popped the Japanese boxer, who was a step or two behind in the sixth. In round seven and the eighth, Doheny kept on proving his skill set edge. And to the end….the ref halted it, pulled the plug after about eight blows went unanswered in round 11.  The loser didn’t protest, either, signifying Michael Ortega did the right thing. The end came at the 2:18 mark.

Doheny won the stat war, 191-80 in punches landed, 713-583 in punches.

Doheny didn’t have to look far for the fight he wants next. Danny Roman, the WBA titleholder, was in attendance, and Doheny called on his new promoter Eddie Hearn to get that fight made.

“That’s the fight I want next, that’s what we are all in it for. Danny Roman is a great fighter, he’s got the WBA. I’ve got the IBF. Let’s get it on. Eddie, you heard it. You got the order from the fighters, let’s make it happen.”