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IBF champ Ryosuke Iwasa admits problems with southpaws ahead of title defence against lefty TJ Doheny

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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IBF super bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa 25-2 (16) has revealed he struggles with fellow southpaws at a news conference to announce his upcoming world title defence against TJ “The Power” Doheny 19-0 (14) at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan on August 16.

Speaking this week in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, Iwasa was honest in his assessment of his previous performances against lefthanders. Doheny, who holds a win in the amateurs over two-division world champion Carl Frampton, is not only a lefty but a heavy-handed one with seven of his last eight victories coming via stoppage.

“He is a huge obstacle, but if I can overcome him I’ll become that much stronger,” admitted Iwasa.

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“He is a powerhouse and I expect him to pressure me. Both of my losses have been to southpaws, so that is my Achilles heel.”

Iwasa won the IBF title against compatriot Yukinori Oguni by TKO6 last September and successfully defended it against Filipino Ernesto Saulong in March, boxing his way to a comfortable 12-round decision win.

But it is those two losses – both by stoppage – to southpaws that will have the 31-year-old Australian-based Irishman licking his lips in anticipation.

In 20011 future WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka stopped Iwasa in the tenth round of their closely contested scheduled 12-round bout for the Japanese bantamweight crown. Four years later, England’s Lee Haskins dropped Iwasa with a left cross in the sixth round of their fight for the IBF interim bantamweight title, finishing him off along the ropes.

Still, Iwasa has strung together six wins since then in the heavier super bantamweight division and is not without confidence going in to his second world title defence.

“I want to start a new legend here,” said Iwasa, 28, who recently switched to the Kashiwa-based Celes Boxing Sports Gym.

Meanwhile Doheny flew out to the United States on the weekend to start his training camp for what will be the most important fight of his career.

“Time to say goodbye again. Never easy but at times like this you have to look at the bigger picture. The future is bright!” Doheny posted on his social media accounts on Sunday along with a photo of his partner and young son.

“Now let’s go get that strap!”

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