Mike Oliver looks to be a fairly routine keep-busy opponent for TJ Doheny [18(13)-0] but, with a World title fight so close he can touch it, ‘The Power’ isn’t taking anything for granted this Saturday night.
American Oliver [26(8)-7(5)-1] hasn’t fought since 2015 and hasn’t won since he got a DQ victory over future world title challenger Eric Hunter in 2013 which all suggests the fighter, who was once deemed an exciting prospect and holds a win over Cristobal Cruz, shouldn’t pose the Portlaoise man any problems on St Patrick’s Day.
However, Doheny knows he can’t take Oliver lightly with what he has lined up.
Doheny defeated Pipat Chaiporn in a super bantamweight final eliminator to become mandatory challenger for IBF world champion Ryosuke Iwasa last December.
The Murphys Boxing man expects to challenge the champion in Japan in June or July of this year so a slip up on the “St. Patrick’s Day Clash 3” in Boston this weekend would be disastrous.
“People can look at it and say, ‘He hasn’t fought in a long time, he’s kind of over the hill,’ but he’s an experienced fighter,” said Doheny when speaking to Ring Magazine.
“He’s gonna be wily, he’s gonna know how to survive in there, so I’ve got to be on game on Saturday night. I’ve got a world title fight coming up soon, so I can’t afford any slip-ups.”
The 31-year-old hadn’t bagged many rounds prior his victory in Thailand late last year so it is safe to assume this St Patrick’s Day clash has been made to keep him active and to afford him more time to work with relatively new coach Hector Bermudez in a fight situation. It also ensures him more practice against a southpaw, a stance the Japanese titlist also adopts.
Regardless, Doheny is confident of becoming only the second Irish for British fighter – Wayne McCullough being the first – to travel to Japan and snatch a famous World title win.
“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,” said Doheny.
“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 annual show at the House of Blues will be headlined by Irish-American light welter Danny O’Connor who defends his WBC International silver title against Canadian Steve Claggett.