By Anthony Cocks
CHALLENGERS LINE UP TO FACE NEWLY-MINTED CHAMPION TJ DOHENY
Australian-based Irish southpaw TJ Doheny 20-0 (14) became an overnight star with his competitive points win over fellow lefthander Ryosuke Iwasa 25-3 (16) to claim the IBF super bantamweight title at the famed Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday night.
Fighters are already lining up to challenge the 31-year-old, who has lived in the Sydney suburb of Bondi Junction for the past decade and fought his entire pro career out of his Australian base.
Former WBO bantamweight champion and current IBF #3 Tomoki Kameda 35-2 (20) climbed onto the ring apron immediately after the fight to issue his challenge to the newly-minted champion.
But Doheny resented Kameda’s attempt to steal his shine.
“He came up trying to be the man, ‘me, you fight next’,” said Doheny. “I told him, get out of here. This is my moment, my time. Get the f#%k out of here.”
And IBF #8 ranked 122-pounder Shingo Wake 25-5-2 (17) told the media that he would welcome the opportunity to face Doheny in what would be another southpaw versus southpaw battle.
Meanwhile American boxing powerhouse Top Rank, who have an exclusive deal with ESPN to provide boxing content for their sports streaming app ESPN+, are looking to match Doheny with WBO super bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe 19-0 (13) later this year if the undefeated Ghanaian gets past the challenge of Japanese veteran Hidenori Otake 31-2-3 (14) in Glendale, Arizona next weekend. ESPN+ carried the Iwasa-Doheny fight in the United States.
Doheny overcame an early cut to his right cheek and swelling under his left eye in the second round to work his way into the fight.
After losing the opening round Doheny won the next three frames on two of the judges’ scorecards. The fifth round belonged to Iwasa, with Doheny sweeping the next four rounds on all three judges’ scorecards.
Coach Celes Kobayashi told Iwasa after eighth round that he would need a knockout to win.
The champion won the tenth and eleventh rounds but faded in the twelfth, allowing the challenger to take over and secure victory.
When the dust had settled Katsuhiko Nakamura had it for Doheny 115-113, Tony Marretta scored it 117-112 and Jonathan Davis delivered a 116-112 verdict, all for the new IBF super bantamweight champion of the world, TJ Doheny.
Iwasa has now lost three bouts to fellow southpaws and is reportedly considering retirement at the age of 28.
LAST WORD FROM ‘REAL LIFE ROCKY’ LUKE JACKSON AHEAD OF CARL FRAMPTON FIGHT FOR INTERIM WBO TITLE AT WINDSOR PARK
When Tasmania’s Luke “Action” Jackson 16-0 (7) climbs through the ropes and into the ring at Belfast’s Windsor Park on Saturday night to face local hero Luke “The Jackal” Frampton 25-1 (14) there will be just one person in the anticipated crowd of 25,000 that he hopes to impress.
“My father has left Australia for the first time ever to be here and it makes me so proud. A 67-year-old man has travelled halfway around the world for me,” Jackson said at the final press conference ahead of the fight.
The 33-year-old from Hobart endured a rough upbringing and bouts of the crippling mental health condition OCD to overcome his demons and arrive on the verge of what he says is his destiny.
“I have tried to prepare mentally for all the things that can happen and we have to see if it works,” said Jackson.
His trainer Billy Hussein believes that Frampton, the interim WBO featherweight champion, is looking ahead to a super-fight against local rival and IBF 126-pound champion Josh Warrington 27-0 (6).
“Luke is an ultimate professional and I have had to slow him down. I believe Carl is overlooking us and thinking of the Warrington fight,” said Hussein.
Jackson, who is stepping up a couple of levels from his previous competition in this fight, knows that nothing less that perfection will get him the win.
“I thought Carl was overlooking me but he knows what is at stake. If Carl loses to me his career is over. I have got to fight the perfect fight and I believe I can do it,” said Jackson.
“It’s a real life Rocky story if I win. I have come from nothing. I have gone through a lot to get here and if I spoke about that I’d be here all day.”
INVESTIGATION INTO SAM SOLIMAN VS TEJ PRATAP SINGH FIGHT CONTINUES
The Victorian Government-run Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board is continuing its investigation into the appointment and actions of veteran referee Malcolm Bulner for the Sam Soliman versus Tej Pratap Singh fight at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington on July 27.
Bulner made some contentious calls throughout the fight, docking two points from Singh and refusing to recognise what appeared to be a pair of legitimate knockdowns in the tenth and final round.
The 44-year-old Soliman, who briefly held the IBF middleweight title in 2014, was awarded the win by majority decision to up his ledger to 46-14-1 (19) while southpaw Singh saw his record drop to 13-5-2 (7). Martin O’Malley scored the fight a draw 94-94, while Andrew Campbell had the fight for the Melbourne veteran 96-92 as did Samantha Bulner, who turned in an outrageously wide scorecard of 98-90.
Judge Bulner is the wife of referee Bulner.
The Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board has appointed an independent international expert judge to assess whether there was any malpractice at play in the bout and, if so, determine whether that malpractice affect the result of the fight.
All fight officials, coaches and combatants with also be interviewed as further evidence is gathered before a final decision is made as to whether the fight will be changed to a no contest.
Bulner was the referee for the controversial Randy Petalcorin versus Omari Kimweri fight for the vacant WBC Silver flyweight title at the same venue two years ago that resulted in a split decision victory for Kimweri and prompted a formal protest from Team Petalcorin to the Mexican-based sanctioning body.
Bulner missed as many as four legitimate knockdowns in that fight.
The WBC admitted Bulner made errors with his officiating in that bout but the result remained unchanged.
ANDREW MOLONEY VS LUIS CONCEPCION SET TO BE STREAMED LIVE ON ESPN+ IN THE UNITED STATES
Next month’s intriguing WBA world title eliminator between undefeated super flyweight contender Andrew “The Monster” Moloney 17-0 (10) and former WBA 115-pound champion Luis “El Nica” Concepcion 37-6 (26) will be broadcast live on sports streaming app ESPN+ in the United States, it was announced this week.
The fight will take place at the Bendigo Stadium in the regional Victorian centre of Bendigo on Saturday, September 8.
The Melbourne-born, Kingscliff-based boxer in under no illusions about the challenge he faces.
“Concepcion is an extremely tough and very experienced boxer, he always comes to fight and puts a lot of pressure on his opponents. I know that I will have to be in great condition for this fight,” said Moloney, who will be making the fourth defence of his WBA Oceania 115-pound title.
"I am very familiar with how Concepcion fights. I have watched him many times over the years as he has always been one of the top guys in the super flyweight division.”
Moloney, the IBF #3, WBC #4, WBA #6 and WBO #9 ranked super flyweight, had to climb off the canvas in his last fight to score a 10-round unanimous points win over former world title challenger Richard Claveras in Melbourne in May.
Concepcion, who is ranked WBA #7 and WBC #15, was last in action in October last year when he knocked out journeyman Luis Carrillo in two rounds.
The 32-year-old Panamanian won the WBA super flyweight title against Kohei Kono in Japan in August 2016 only to lose the belt on the scales ahead of his first title defence four months later against current world champion Khalid Yafai in Manchester, England.
“I want to show everyone what level I am at by beating Concepcion and then we will set our sights on Yafai next,” Moloney added.
The Hosking Promotions and Peter Maniatis Events co-promotion will also feature junior middleweight prospect Tim Tszyu 10-0 (8) in his first Victorian appearance when he takes on Argentinean puncher Marcos Jesus Cornejo 19-3 (18) in a 10-round contest.
Moloney, 27, is the twin brother of bantamweight contender Jason Moloney 17-0 (14) who is currently preparing for his world title challenge to IBF 118-pound champion Emmanuel Rodriguez 18-0 (12) of Puerto Rico in the first round of the second season of the World Boxing Super Series.
PETER MANIATIS SECURES RIGHTS TO HOST RANDY PETALCORIN VS FELIX ALVARADO FOR VACANT IBF JUNIOR FLYWEIGHT TITLE
Melbourne promoter Peter Maniatis has scored a minor coup with news the fight for the vacant IBF junior flyweight title between two of the most avoided small men in the sport Randy “Razor” Petalcorin 29-2-1 (22) and Felix “El Gemelo” Alvarado 33-2 (29) will take place in the Victorian capital on October 20 at a venue to be named.
“I think it’s a 50-50 fight,” Maniatis told Philstar.com. “Alvarado and Randy are the most avoided fighters in the light flyweight division so I expect fireworks when they face off.
“They both have power and they’re very smart. They can box and set up attacks well. I rate Alvarado very highly. Randy has to be at his best to win.”
Maniatis rates the 29-year-old Alvarado of Nicaragua more highly that current world titleholders Angel Acosta and Carlos Canizales and sees victory for Petalcorin placing him among the elite names at 108-pounds.
“I think Alvarado can beat the other champions – WBO’s Angel Acosta and WBA’s Carlos Canizales -- so if Randy defeats him, it will be a tremendous victory,” said the Melbourne-based promoter.
Australia is a home away from home for Petalcorin with the 26-year-old Filipino having fought four times in Melbourne since 2013.
SUSIE RAMADAN RETURNS ON AUGUST 31, PLOTTING ANOTER TITLE RUN
Former IBF and WBC bantamweight champion Susie “Q” Ramadan 27-2 (12) returns to the ring on at the Croatian Club in Footscray on August 31 with more than just victory on her mind.
If everything goes to plan the IBF #1, WBA #3 and WBC #5 super flyweight contender will soon get the opportunity to fight for a third world title with victory placing her alongside Jeff Fenech as Australia’s only three-time world champs.
“I am the mandatory contender for long-time IBF champion Debora Dionicius and I want the chance to prove I still belong at the top level,” said Ramadan this week. “She’s never fought a boxer with my experience and ring smarts and I’m confident I would do a number on her, even in her home country of Argentina.
“Mexico’s Maribel Ramirez beat Linda Lecca for the WBA title in May. She already has nine losses on her record, so why not make it ten?
“WBC champion Guadalupe Martinez Guzman is another boxer I have in my sights. I have fought in Mexico before and would welcome the opportunity to beat her up in front of her own fans.”
Ramadan’s career has had its ups and downs with promotional and managerial disputes sidelining her for periods of time, but with the backing of trainer and promoter Sam Labruna she is finally in a position to realise her potential.
“I am hungry for the opportunity to fight for a world title again and it’s showing in the gym,” said Ramadan. “I am as fit as I’ve ever been and I consistently spar bigger, stronger blokes and more than hold my own.
“If any of the current world champions genuinely want to test themselves, I’m here and my phone is always on.”
BILLEL DIB GETS HIS REVENGE
Super featherweight Billel “Babyface” Dib 22-3 (10) got his revenge against Bruno Vifuaviwili 21-2-1 (5) outpointing him over 10 rounds to claim the WBA Oceania super featherweight title at the Seagulls Rugby League Club in Tweed Heads, NSW on Saturday 11 August.
The Tanzanian won a 10 round majority decision over the former world-rated 29-year-old at the same venue last March.
Meanwhile world-rated Reagan “The President” Dessaix 15-1 (10) made the first successful defence of his WBA Oceania light heavyweight title against Michael Van Nimwegan 10-6 (4) winning a six round decision.
The 22-year-old Dessaix is a promising prospect with good power in both hands.