TJ Doheny‘s big world title fight tomorrow morning will not be available on Irish television but American viewers will get to see the Portlaoise super bantam’s assault on the upper echelons of the sport.
‘The Power’ challenges Ryosuke Iwasa for his IBF strap in Tokyo at the famous Korauken Hall and the bout will now air live on ESPN+ in the United States.
The bout will be broadcast on the American streaming service at 11:45am Irish time [note: initially publicised as 9:00am] and provides Doheny with the chance to grab some spotlight Stateside despite the fact he fights in Japan.
It may strike as being odd that a U.S. network have shelled out for a fight at an off-peak hour featuring an Australian-based Irishman and a Japanese fighter but there is method behind the move.
ESPN, the broadcast partner of promotional giant Top Rank, have pursued the clash in a bid to give both exposure as they are keen to pair the winner of tomorrow’s bout in a unification with the winner of WBO champion Isaac Dogboe‘s defence versus Japan’s Hidenori Otake on August 25th.
Dogboe, a former training partner of Carl Frampton who Doheny defeated in the amateurs, is promoted by Japanese giant Teiken.
Akihiro Honda guides the Ghanaian in conjunction with Top Rank and Mike Altamura – who is involved in the management of ‘The Power’ Doheny
Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti explained that “the fact that Dogboe fights the following week on ESPN, and that he is promoted by Mr. Honda, makes for a natural unification bout – hopefully in 2019.”
It further highlights just how big a fight Doheny heads into.
The Australian-based puncher may not have the profile but he can join Ryan Burnett and Katie Taylor as a reigning Irish world champion and he has the chance to become only the second fighter from the UK or Ireland to win a world title in Japan – Wayne McCullough being the first and only fighter to do so thus far.
The 31-year-old southpaw has the chance to become Ireland’s twenty-first world champ and fourth ever unified champ, after Burnett, Frampton, and Taylor, if he buckles the red strap around his waist tomorrow morning.
It is disappointing that the bout will not be aired in Ireland, with eir Sport’s efforts to secure the fight being thwarted.
Doheny himself has recommended the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to subscribe to ESPN+ to view the career-changing fight