TJ Doheny traveled to Japan in search of his first world title and got in the form of a decision win over Ryosuke Iwasa.
Fighting in Japan’s Korakuen Hall, Doheny scored a unanimous decision win over Iwasa to win the IBF super bantamweight title, his first world title as a pro. Doheny won an exciting back-and-forth fight with scores of 115-113, 117-112 and 116-112.
The fight started quietly with both fighters utilizing the jab to establish their range, but things got messy late in the first round when an apparent accidental clash of heads created a somewhat nasty cut on Doheny’s right cheek. The cut never became a huge obstacle for Doheny as he continued to effectively land his 1-2 combinations.
Iwasa got his shots in at times, starting with the end of the first round when Iwasa landed a counter right hook that had Doheny off-balance for a brief second, but it wasn’t enough to knock down the Irish challenger. Still, the two boxers continued to trade blows left and right throughout the entire bout as Korakuen Hall was in a frenzy by the time the later rounds happened. Once the scorecards were read, Doheny looked somewhat in shock to hear that he is the new champion and dropped to the floor as his corner rushed towards him to celebrate.
The loss ends Iwasa’s near 12-month reign as the IBF world champion. Iwasa had won the title in September 2017 when he stopped Yukinori Oguni in the sixth round of their fight. Iwasa had only made one successful defense of the title which was a wide unanimous decision win over Ernesto Saulong this past March.
Doheny, now 20-0 as a pro boxer, fought primarily in Australia far away from his native country of Ireland. Doheny had been riding a wave of momentum into the fight, with seven of his last eight wins coming via knockout.