Sunday 19 May 2019

No shame in points defeat for Doheny

TJ Doheny. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
TJ Doheny. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Seán McGoldrick

Ireland's TJ Doheny fell short in his attempt to become a unified world boxing champion on Friday night in Los Angeles, but still emerged with an enhanced reputation. He was beaten by local hero Danny Roman on a majority 2-0 decision. The American now holds the WBA and IBF belts in the 122lb super-welterweight division.

The 32-year-old Portlaoise-born southpaw, who now lives in Sydney, went to war with Roman in the Forum over 12 ferocious rounds in what observers are billing as an early contender for fight of the year. The bravery Doheny displayed in twice rising from the canvas to take his opponent the full distance has earned him rave reviews.

One judge scored the contest a 113-113 draw, whereas the other two gave the verdict to the 28-year-old Roman on a 116-110 score - the wide margin a reflection of the fact that the two rounds he was on the canvas would have been scored 10-8 against him.

Roman will now be eyeing the prospect of becoming the undisputed champion. Therefore, the chances of a rematch, in the short term at least, are remote.

But given that Doheny is now being promoted by Eddie Hearn's Matchroom organisation, he is likely to get more high-profile fights and have another opportunity to challenge for a world belt if he gets back to winning ways.

"I gave it my best shot," said Doheny. "I came up short but no shame in losing to a great fighter in a world title unification. The main thing is that I'm improving and my best is yet to come. I'll take a little break and be back in no time. Thanks for all your support."

Only three Irish boxers - Katie Taylor, Carl Frampton and Ryan Burnett - have managed to unify a world title, and Frampton did it in the same super-bantamweight division as Doheny attempted. His bid to match that feat was in trouble as early as the second round when Roman dropped him with a left hook. He was quickly back on his feet but by the fight's halfway point he had significant swelling under his right eye.

In the second half of the contest Roman switched the point of attack to Doheny's body but the Irishman had his moments. He went on the offensive in the seventh round after catching his opponent with a big left. Roman was forced down, but the referee ruled it a slip.

Roman's right eye was cut following an accidental clash of heads in the 10th round. He went close to ending the contest in the 11th when Doheny endured his second knockdown. But somehow, he managed to rise again and make it to the bell.

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