Wednesday 21 August 2019

Portlaoise's TJ Doheny falls just short in epic world title unification bid but emerges with reputation enhanced

TJ Doheny (white shorts) and Daniel Roman (black shorts) exchange punches in their Super Bantamweight fight at The Forum on April 26, 2019 in Inglewood, California. Roman won by decision. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
TJ Doheny (white shorts) and Daniel Roman (black shorts) exchange punches in their Super Bantamweight fight at The Forum on April 26, 2019 in Inglewood, California. Roman won by decision. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Tony Considine

It wasn't to be for TJ Doheny as 'The Power' from Portlaoise fell just short in his bid to unify the IBF and WBA super-bantamweight titles in California on Friday night.

Despite entering the contest as an 7/2 underdog, Doheny more than held his own in a pulsating contest against WBA champion Danny Roman.

However, when the contest went to the judges scorecards, they were in the American’s favour on a majority decision.One judge scored the fight a 113-113 draw with the other two going Roman’s way 116-110, a margin that raised eyebrows at Inglewood’s Forum.

It was ultimately two knockdowns that did for Doheny, the first in Round 2 when his positive start was brought to a halt by a left hook from the blindside. While the punch did little damage, it was enough to make Doheny lose his footing and gave Roman a 10-8 round. 

The IBF champ fought his way back gamely and was back on top by Round 7 when a huge left hook rocked Roman as Doheny piled the pressure on with sustained punishment to the body and head.  

Roman finally hit the deck but the referee correctly put it down to a slip rather than a specific shot and the American held on to barely survive the barrage till the bell. 

The fight finally swung in the 11th as a recovered Roman caught Doheny with a savage left to the body, sending the Irishman back to the canvas.

To Doheny’s credit, he somehow hauled himself up and, after surviving further punishment in the round, went back on the attack in a sensational 12th but just hadn’t enough in the tank to force a stoppage before the final bell.

The CompuBox stats showed the new unified champ was the busier fighter but Doheny the more accurate with Roman landing 195 of 742 (26%) total punches and 174 of 532 (33%) power shots while Doheny found his target with 150 of 503 (30%) total punches, and 127 of 356 (36%) power shots.

Despite his defeat, the manner of it certainly enhanced Doheny’s reputation which has been growing since he outpointed Japan's Ryosuke Iwasa in a unanimous decision at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo last August to win the IBF strap.

Speaking afterwards, Doheny was gracious in defeat, saying of Roman: "He's a great fighter, but more importantly he's an absolute gentleman and that means more to me than anything so I just want to congratulate him first.

"Secondly, the plan was to come here and become undisputed champion. That didn't come. 

"Plan two was to give the people of Las Angeles an absolute war and I hope I entertained everyone tonight."

In response, the new champion told host broadcaster Eddie Hearn’s DAZN: “No wonder they call him ‘The Power!’”

Questioned on the possibility of a rematch, Doheny added: "My stock can only go up from there. I put it all on the line. 

"I was in there against a world class operator. It wasn't like I got beaten by some Joe Soap. I got beaten by the best 122 fighter in the world.

"I said it all along in the build-up, the winner was going to be the number one. Danny's the man. I can't take anything away from him.

"If there's a rematch on the cards, whatever. I want to go straight back in at the top."

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