“I was starting to lose faith” – New Final Eliminator a Christmas miracle for TJ Doheny

TJ Doheny [17(13)-0] admits he thought the Grinch had stolen his Christmas before his team donned Santa suits and pulled the ultimate present out of the bag.

After seeing three fights in three months cancelled Doheny (17-0, 13 KOs) had agreed to travel to Ekaterinburg in central Russia to fight former World champion Evgeny Gradovich in a bid to secure a shot at IBF super bantamweight world champion Ryosuke Iwasa.

With six months training behind him, the Portlaoise native was not only confident he would take his opportunity but, after a number of frustrating delays, was determined to make the most of his big chance.

However, the Russian was forced to pull out of the class scheduled for December 15th because, as his manager put it,his “vision has deteriorated to such a point that he does not see anything right now and there is a high probability that he will be forced to finish his boxing career.”

Doheny obviously had sympathy for a fellow pro, but was gutted as his run of bad luck seemed to continue.

“When I got the news last week I just thought ‘not again’. This was the fourth fight in four months to fall through on me and I was thinking about the six months I have spent away from my family and not going to have anything to show at the end of it all,” Doheny told Irish-Boxing.com.

The fighter, who lives in Australia, but trains in America, was always going to be afforded the chance to secure mandatory status but at that point he didn’t believe he would fight in a crucial fight before Christmas.

However, his team of Mike Altamura, Ken Casey, and Sean Gibbons managed to pull off a Christmas miracle and secured a final eliminator in a different country against a new rival and the presents could come early for ‘The Power’ if he beats Thai boxer Mike Tawatchai on December 20th in Bangkok.

“My team were pretty confident of rectifying the situation before the Christmas holiday but I was starting to lose faith,” Doheny continued.

“We needed a new opponent and a new promoter to put the fight on at such short notice and I was thinking, not a chance it won’t be happening until the New Year. So I have to say a big well done to them for pulling it off in less than a week.””

There has been massive changes in a week for Doheny. Emotionally he has gone from despair to delight, the venue changes from Russia in the depths of Winter to Thailand in the height of Summer – not to mention he will need a new game plan for a new opponent.

However, his desire to win and secure a World title shot, his confidence, and his mental fortitude remain the same.

Doheny described how “it’s a new country and new opponent but nothing changes for me mentally.”

“I am fully confident in my ability and I’m in terrific shape, I know I have what I takes to go out there and get the job done.”

“It will be warm and it’s an outdoor venue but everything I have sacrificed and worked so hard for over the years boils down to this and I won’t be found wanting no matter what the conditions,” he added before sympathising with Gradovich.

“As much as I was upset over Russia I do have to sympathise with Gradovich, it’s a hard road and no fighter deserves to bow out of their career with any type of problem so I hope he can make a full and speedy recovery.”


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