TJ Doheny refusing to overlook highest-rated Ryohei Takahashi


TJ Doheny knows just how motivated Ryohei Takahashi will be to unbuckle the IBF super bantamweight world title from around his waist in New York tomorrow night, but warns the Japanese fighter he will need to produce something out of the ordinary to upset the odds. 

Upon leaving his home land the challenger told the local press he feels the champion is overlooking him and picked what he believed to be a routine defence on the DAZN and Sky Sports card before promising to drop a ‘surprise bomb’ and bring the title back home. 

However, Ireland’s only reigning male world title holder certainly doesn’t seem to be overlooking the challenge of the 28-year-old.

Having having taken an ‘Off Broadway’ route to world level, winning a final eliminator and the title away from home, Doheny knows just how motivated his opponent will for their Madison Square Garden clash.

The Portlaoise fighter expects the Yokohama resident to be motivated by the prize and offer and will thus  produce his best every performance.

However, there is a lot at stake for a Australia-based fighter who trains out of Boston too, and he he warned Takahashi that it will take something unique and special to beat him tomorrow night at the old Felt Forum.  

“He is a busy little fighter and he is going to bring it,” Doheny [20(14)-0] said after admitting to watching the challenger.

“It’s his first world title fight so I know he has that burning desire, like I had in August. He is going come to try take this belt and try and change his life, but I think the position I am in right now, top of the division it’s going to take something special to knock me off.”

“Takahashi is going to have to produce something special to beat me on Friday night,” pledged the 32-year-old champ.

The new Matchroom signing predicts the raising of the stakes will raise the IBF #10’s performance levels, but also believes his opponent is a genuine talent.

Some may argue the three losses on his record may suggest otherwise but Doheny, who defeated Ryosuke Iwasa in Tokyo to win the belt, knows that Japanese records can make for deceptive reading.

“To look at his record you wouldn’t think much, but Japanese records can be very deceiving. They through them in with anybody, there is no padding records in Japan.”

“They fight the best of the best so I know this kid has been in some tough fights and he is going to bring it, but as I said I am 100 percent confident of getting the win.”

This weekend’s fight on the undercard of the big Andrade Akavov card came out of the blue. Matchroom only confirmed they would be working with Doheny last week and confirmed his first title defence would play out this Friday.

The announcement of Takahashi [16(6)-3(1)] as the fighter to man the away corner came even latter but southpaw Doheny notes how both fighters had enough notice ahead of the bout. 

“Even though the fight was announced last week it’s been in the works for a while now. We were given a few names and the lower in the rankings and I said ‘I am world champion now I want to fight someone in the top 10’ and I think he was the highest ranked available opponent.”

“People think it’s short notice, but he has a lot of notice for this fight. It’s just it couldn’t be announced because of a few minor details that had to be brushed over before officially announcing it.”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com