Tuesday, January 31, 2023  |


TJ Doheny shocks Ryosuke Iwasa to claim IBF 122-pound title, wins decision in Japan

Ryosuke Iwasa (left) and TJ Doheny pose after their 12-round 122-pound title bout. Photo / @mjaltamura

Australia-based Irishman TJ Doheny ventured over 4000 miles to Japan to face IBF junior featherweight titleholder Ryosuke Iwasa and it was a worthwhile trip because the unbeaten southpaw managed to secure a 12-round unanimous decision against the odds. The official scores were 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113.

Doheny, known as “The Power,” was taking a serious step up in class against Iwasa, who was rated No. 7 by The Ring at 122 pounds coming in. But one of two things can happen when an unbeaten fighter jumps up levels; either they get ruthlessly exposed or they rise to the occasion. Doheny had the ability to do the latter.

Iwasa, who is also a left-hander, inflicted facial damage on the challenger, cutting him under the right cheek in Round 1 and working on swelling around his left eye. However, Doheny (20-0, 14 knockouts) let his hands go more often throughout the bout and that proved to be decisive when it came to the scoring.

The bout was far from entertaining and there was plenty of clinching, but that didn’t matter to the 31-year-old Doheny who was elated with his dream triumph. Iwasa, 28, is young enough to come again and he has already proven his world class pedigree with victories over countryman Yukinori Oguni and Ernesto Saulong. This defeat takes the Japanese star’s record to 25-3 (16 KOs).


Tom Gray is Associate Editor for Ring Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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