A fired up TJ Doheny [22(16)-2(0)] is re ready to set the super bantamweight division alight again in 2021.
‘The Power’ became world champion with a sensational victory in Japan back in the summer of 2018.
Two defenses and less than a year later and he was attempting to become only the fourth Irish fighter to unify world titles after Carl Frampton, Ryan Burnett and Katie Taylor.
He lost that WBA and IBF world title fight to Danny Roman, but such was the platform, the performance and the landscape at the time, that the Laois fighter never looked far away from another tilt or massive fights.
However, a surprise defeat to relatively unknown Romanian Ionut Baluta in Dubai in March set him back massively.
Baluta has since gone on to defeat David Oliver Joyce, proving he is a solid fighter, but it’s a bout the Australian based, New York trained former world champ was expected to win.
Speaking with regard to just his second career defeat Doheny confessed he took his eye off the ball leading into the fight, something he greatly laments now.
“What happens to a person happens because of their own actions. No other excuse is needed. I have to admit the way I approached my last fight wasn’t exactly professional and that cost me dearly,” Doheny said online.
“The result of that fight was absolutely devastating and shows how damaging it can be if you take your eye off the ball for even one single moment and overlook any opponent. All those years of sacrifice and hard work can easily be destroyed if you do not remain disciplined and focused at all times.”
Now with time to reflect and having pin pointed the errors, Doheny is motivated to fix the problems and educated in what has to be done to return to world level.
“In saying that, I’ve had alot of time to think about this and I’ve been very quiet throughout the year, but that don’t mean I haven’t been busy. Working on myself for myself. There’s a fire that burns deep inside to right my wrong and put myself back where I belong, right at the very top mixing it with the best fighters in the world,” he continues quiet passionately.
“I promise you will see the best version of me when I return to perform in that ring. Disciplined, focused, stronger, faster, smarter, sharper! I’m working my nuts off and I’m coming to take my spot back!”
Interestingly enough Michael Conlan is now in the super bantamweight division and is expected to fight for a world title in the summer at the latest.
If the Belfast favourite can claim the strap a historic first all Irish world title fight with Doheny could appeal, particularly if the 34-year-old can secure an eye catching win or two.
Considering both are MTK aligned it would also be easy to make. The Roman fight would be one people would like to see again, but the American is no longer a world champion.