Report, photo by Joe Koizumi
It is a very interesting matchup that former IBF world champ WBO#4, IBF#11 TJ Doheny (24-4, 18 KOs), an Irishman now residing in Australia for years, will make his initial defense of the WBO Asia Pacific 122-pound belt against unbeaten Japhethlee Llamido (11-0, 4 KOs) tomorrow (Tuesday) in Tokyo, Japan. For TJ, Japan is a lucky place that he dethroned then IBF ruler Ryosuke Iwasa on points in 2018 and also wrested the WBO AP belt from Kazuki Nakajima via fourth round TKO this July. But the challenger Llamido also upset ex-titlist Ryosuke Iwasa by a lopsided decision in Korea last April. The US prospect Japhethlee, thirteen years his junior at 23, served as a sparring partner for “Monster” Naoya Inoue before his Fulton title go and performed very well in sparring sessions according to Naoya’s promoter/manager Hideiyuki Ohashi. It will be a competitive confrontation of the veteran ex-champ versus the fast-rising speedster. Ironically, the television commentator will be their mutual victim, former IBF titleholder Ryosuke Iwasa (who hung up gloves for good after his Llamido defeat).