Super bantamweight TJ ‘The Power’ Doheny 22-1 (16) is chasing a shot at newly crowned WBA and IBF king Murodjon Akhmadaliev 8-0 (6).
The 33-year-old Australian-based Irishman claimed the IBF 122-pound belt against Ryosuke Iwasa in Japan 18 months ago and made one successful title defence before losing his strap to WBA champ Daniel Roman by majority decision in April last year.
That fight was widely regarded as one of the most thrilling contests of 2019 and now Doheny is targeting the man who bested Roman, Akhmadaliev.
Speaking to Irish-boxing.com ahead of his clash with Ionut Baluta at Caesars Palace in Dubai on Friday night, Doheny said: “Akhmadaliev is the current unified world champion so yes, he is my No. 1 target right now. I only narrowly missed out in my attempt to unify the division so it remains my ultimate goal.
“Akhmadaliev and I fight under the same umbrella so that fight can be made easily. It would be a really fan-friendly fight – an absolute war. Two power-punching southpaws having an absolute shootout for the unified championship of the world. It’s a mouth-watering match-up.”
The 25-year-old Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan scored a split decision victory over the vastly more experience Roman 27-3-1 (10) in Miami in January.
Doheny still wants to avenge his loss to Roman, but believe the victory would be sweeter if he was to do it as world champion.
“The ideal scenario would be for me to regain my status as a world champion and then avenge the only loss of my career to date, which came against Roman,” he said.
“With that in mind, I’ll stay at super bantamweight for now because I’m very well positioned with all the governing bodies, so another world title shot is just around the corner.
“There are lots of great fighters out there who I’d love to share a ring but the man on my mind right now is the unified champion Akhmadaliev.”
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