Former IBF Super-Bantamweight World Champion, TJ Doheny, overcame odds of 5/1 in sensational fashion, scoring a highlight-reel first-round knockout over Japhethlee Llamido to defend the WBO Asia Pacific 122lb title.
Boxing in Australia for the majority of his career, Doheny’s big breakthrough came at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo in 2018 where he outpointed Ryosuke Iwasa to win the IBF world title.
The southpaw made a first defence of the belt against another Japanese challenger, Ryohei Takahashi, at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Demetrius Andrade’s knockout win over Artur Akavov, which also featured a shock first-round defeat for Jorge Linares against Pablo Cesar Cano.
Five months later, Doheny lost his undefeated record and world title to Daniel Roman, defeated by a majority-decision after being knocked down twice. Losses to Ionut Baluta, Michael Conlan and Sam Goodman suggested that the Irishman’s time at the peak of the division was up, but ‘The Power’ seems to have found a new home in Japan.
Back in June, Doheny returned to the venue where he won the world title and pulled off an upset stoppage win against Kazuki Nakajima to earn the WBO Asia Pacific Super-Bantamweight Title.
This week he wsa tasked with defending the belt, pitted against hot-favourite, Llamido, who defeated former Doheny opponent, Iwasa, earlier this year, and handed Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez his first loss as an amateur.
At just 23-years-old Llamido, a sparring partner of both Naoya Inoue and Junto Nakatani, was expected to send out a message with a statement win over the former world champion but was instead dealt with a devastating overhand by the experienced 36-year-old that appeared to knock him out cold.
. @TjDoheny and 5-1 outsider odds in Korakuen Hall now 3-0! Legendary status in the Orient. First-round KO victor 🧨☘️
So proud of how this almost 37-year-old warrior carries himself. All heart, always willing to dare. pic.twitter.com/LS9rBhmA2H
— Mike Altamura (@mjaltamura) October 31, 2023
The 122lb division is heating up with the arrival of Inoue, and Doheny may be within the grasp of a world title shot if he can secure another win on his next outing.