‘Rockstar’ of the Orient TJ Doheny could blast out one of the greatest encores of all time.
The former world champion refused to exit stage left by defeating Kazuki Nakajima in a win-or-bust clash late last month.
The victory, ‘The Power’s’ second at the Korakuen Hall in Japan, a venue where he previously upset Ryosuke Iwasaa to become IBF super bantamweight champion, injected new life into the 36-year-old’s career.
It was also the third time the Portlaoise BC graduate sunk a fighter from the land of the rising sun, thus cementing his status as a Japanese destroyer and increasing his standing in Asia.
Indeed, according to his manager Mike Altamura, Doheny is now a revered name in Japan and will look to use that rockstar standing to secure a huge world title fight with one of the country’s sporting heroes.
If things go to plan he will look to tame ‘The Monster’ that is Naoya Inoue.
“TJ’s a rockstar in the Orient!” Altamura tells Irish-boxing.com.
“He’s a genuinely respected and revered name amongst the fight game over there,” he adds before revealing he will most likely return to the venue where he holds so much respect next.
“We have an option with Ohashi Promotions to defend the strap so currently we’re awaiting to see what they present next.”
5-1 outsider, back on the road… @TjDoheny don't care! Script flipped!— Mike Altamura (@mjaltamura) June 29, 2023
Fourth round TKO at the historic Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Same venue he captured the world strap in 2018.
So proud of you kid #ThePower 👊☘️ pic.twitter.com/NBP6wYhZbc
Doheny had called out Inoue post his odds-defying win, and if the undefeated knockout artist successfully moves up to super bantamweight later this month and defeats Stephen Fulton to become WBC and WBO world champ, that is a fight that could just happen.
“I think if he rolls the next Ohashi Gym challenger and rolls to 4-0 against Japan’s finest, it may build the buzz for a shock opportunity against Inoue. We certainly welcome the challenge. Let’s hope “The Monster” handles Fulton on the 25th.”
Doheny travelled to Japan as a 5-1 underdog with the bookies and there were concerns with regard to motivation post his defeat to Sam Goodman.
However, his manager points out they went to Japan for glory, not financial gain, and were always confident of shocking Nakajima in the WBO Asain Pacific title fight.
“Nakajima was ranked highly, it was a regional title opportunity, and TJ was extremely confident when I presented the prospect of the fight to him,” Altamura adds.
“I would’ve never put it forward to him if I didn’t feel he was a strong chance to upset the applecart. We all know that whenever you’re brought in on the B-side, it’s a challenge of course, but Japan is extraordinarily fair and so we never had any trepidations or worry about what the odds of the fight were, or what anybody else thought,” he continues before admitting it was a win or bust fight.
“It would’ve been a tough road back, but honestly, TJ was focused and excited about the opportunity to fight in Japan again and find a rapid-fire pathway back.”