The Portlaoise super bantamweight was made the IBF mandatory challenger in December but was forced to wait as champion Ryosuke Iwasa [25(16)-2(2)] undertook a voluntary defence in March.
The 28-year-old Japanese southpaw duly dominated Ernesto Saulong in what was his first defence and will now face Doheny this Summer. It has been announced today that Doheny will challenge for the belt in Tokyo on Thursday August 16th.
The Sydney-based Doheny last fought in March in Boston, keeping busy following his final eliminator win over Mike Tawatchi with an early stoppage of Mike Oliver.
31-year-old Doheny, who is promoted by Murphys Boxing, will be aiming to make history in the battle of the southpaws. ‘The Power’ has the chance to become only the second fighter from the UK or Ireland to win a world title on Japanese soil after Wayne McCullough who dethroned WBC bantamweight champ Yasuei Yakushiji in 1995. Additionally, he is aiming to become the latest Irish fighter to win a world title without ever having fought in Ireland after the legendary two-time welterweight champ Jimmy McLarnin.
The Laois fighter will hope to become Ireland’s third reigning world champion alongside WBA bantamweight king Ryan Burnett and unified WBA-IBF lightweight ruler Katie Taylor as well as the 21st world champion in the island’s history.
Doheny is supremely confident of beating Iwasa but the Kashiwa fighter will provide a career-toughest test. After an early defeat to former bantamweight king Shinsuke Yamanaka, Iwasa went on a hot streak and was seen as a rising star in the 118lbs division before he was stopped by former Burnett foe Lee Haskins in 2015. He has since rebuilt at super bantamweight and upset champion and countryman Yukinori Oguni to take the red belt last September.
The world title bout kicks off a big weekend for Irish boxing with Carl Frampton, who Doheny holds an amateur win over, having his dream Windsor Park fight date on Saturday August 18th.