TJ Doheny pays emotional tribute to first pro coach following World title win

Ireland’s newest world champion has paid an emotional tribute to his long-time coach.

Boxing may be an individual sport that comes down to how one man does against another in the ring but the new IBF super bantamweight world champion has acknowledged the part Tony Del Vecchio played in his sensational success.

When ‘The Power’ turned over in 2012 there were not too many predicting he would join the list of Irish world title winning greats, but the country’s 21st world title holder claims his first pro trainer always had faith.

Doheny admitted before he became only the second Irish or UK fighter to win a world title on Japanese soil by defeating Ryosuke Iwasa last week, that lifestyle prevented him fulfilling his potential as an amateur and attributes his pro success to the relationship he has with the Sydney coach.

While the southpaw has relocated to Boston and American coach Hector Bermudez [left of photo] for recent fights, Del Vecchio remains a big part of the team. Doheny still ticks over at the Bondai Boxing Club when at home in Sydney, and  the Aussie coach was in the corner at the Korakuen Hall alongside Bermudez last Thursday.

Basking in the glow of his minor upset win, Doheny has explained how the Bondai coach helped him through some hard times, guided him expertly through the murky waters of pro boxing, and showed the kind of belief others didn’t.

The busy trainer jetted out of Japan just hours after the big win to contribute to the corner of Tasmanian Luke Jackson in Belfast, with Doheny’s former sparring partner being stopped in the ninth round by his old amateur rival Carl Frampton.

Indeed, the 31-year-old is adamant Del Vecchio, who also guides the careers of Irish fighters Darragh Foley, Gearoid Clancy, and Danny Keating, is one of the main reasons he has reached the summit.

Speaking online Doheny [20(14)-0] described how “six years ago we embarked on a journey together. No contracts, no sponsorship, no TV backing and no handouts. Just two guys with ambition, a vision and a belief that right up until August 16th 2018 nobody could see.”

“We revelled through the highs and you towed me through so, so many lows. Always looked out for me and made sure I never got screwed in this beautiful yet notoriously shady world of professional boxing.”

“If not for you, I would not be in the position I am in today and I want that to be known. You sir, are one of the main reasons I get to call myself a World Champion for the rest of my life. Something you have repeated to me over and over and now the day has finally come.”

“From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for everything you have done for me and my family over all those years.”

“A mentor first and my friend forever. We did it.”


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Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years