Ahead of the biggest fight of his six-year professional career, undefeated Australian-based Irishman TJ ‘The Power’ Doheny 19-0 (14) is confident of claiming his first world championship.
The 31-year-old Portlaoise-born southpaw challenges reigning IBF super bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa 25-2 (16) tonight at Japan’s world famous Korakuen Hall in the nation’s capital of Tokyo.
“We’ve got a job to do no matter where it may be and I am 100% sure that I will be leaving Japan as the new IBF world champion,” said Doheny, who holds a victory over two-division world champion Carl Frampton in the unpaid ranks, in an interview Boxing Monthly.
“Camp has gone really well. I couldn’t have asked for a better prep leading into this fight. I am in great condition and feeling supremely confident.”
It’s no secret that the left-handed Iwasa has historically struggled with fellow southpaws. The two losses on his ledger came at the hands of lefties Lee Haskins and Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2015 and 2011 respectively. Perhaps more worryingly, both Haskins and Yamanaka were able to stop Iwasa by TKO.
The heavy-hitting Doheny, who has won almost three-quarters of his bouts by stoppage, clearly fancies the job in front of him.
“He’s a stylist, he’s a pretty sharp fighter, but I’m very confident in my ability. I really expect to go over there and smash the title from him,” Doheny said.
“I do see he’s got a lot of holes, but he’s not world champion for nothing. He’s a very beatable opponent. I just fancy my chances going over there.”
The 28-year-old champion won the IBF 122-pound crown with a sixth round TKO over compatriot Yukinori Oguni 19-2-1 (7) in Osaka, Japan almost a year ago. He has since defended the strap against the Philippines’ Ernesto Saulong 21-4-1 (8) in March in Tokyo, earning a wide 12-round points decision victory.
Despite being on a six-fight win streak since his loss to Haskins with only one opponent lasting until the final bell, Iwasa has admitted he is wary of his adversary and the skills he brings to the table.
“He is a powerhouse and I expect him to pressure me,” Iwasa recently admitted. “Both of my losses have been to southpaws, so that is my Achilles heel.
“He is a huge obstacle, but if I can overcome him I’ll become that much stronger.”
Tonight’s fight will be available to North American fight fans via the ESPN+ streaming app. ESPN’s broadcast partner Top Rank are aiming to give the pair stateside exposure with a view to matching the victor against the winner of Isaac Dogboe’s WBO super bantamweight title defence against Hidenori Otake on August 25 in an IBF/WBO 122-pound unification bout.