Michael Conlan Decisions Doheny, Wins WBA Interim Featherweight Title

Is Michael Conlan’s future at 122 or 126 pounds?

WBA Interim featherweight champion Michael Conlan poses following weigh-in for fight against TJ Doheny
Michael Conlan

Is Michael Conlan’s future at 122 or 126 pounds?


In one of the biggest fights in Northern Ireland’s boxing history, Michael Conlan (16-0, 8 KOs) takes on former IBF World junior featherweight champion TJ Doheny (22-3, 16 KOs) for the WBA “Interim” World featherweight title at the Falls Park in Belfast.

Since a controversial loss to Vladimir Nikitin at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Conlan has become the darling of Irish boxing. He decided to turn pro in 2017, and the 29-year-old from Belfast has progressed, developing into an all-around fighter. He’s worked his way up to the number one ranking by the WBO at 122 pounds. The popular fighter is a draw in the smaller weight divisions with options at either 122 or 126 pounds.

He’s facing a TJ Doheny who is looking to make one last push. The 33-year-old from Portlaoise, Ireland won the IBF World 122-pound strap with a unanimous decision win over Ryosuke Iwasa in November 2018. After one title defense, he lost the belt in a riveting contest against the then-WBA “Super” World junior featherweight champion Daniel Roman in April of 2019. Despite all of his years in the ring, this is Doheny’s first professional fight on home soil.

A STRATEGIC START

Often, when you have a highly-anticipated fight that inspires the passions of a nation, the fighters themselves feel the pressure. Usually, it results in the combatants starting carefully. That proved to be the case for both men early on.

Conlan is an orthodox fighter who can switch-hit and fight as a southpaw. It was interesting that he chose to fight exclusively from the left-handed stance in the opening stanza. He wanted to use his advantages in height and reach to gain an early points lead. It didn’t make for great action early, but the strategy proved to be an effective one.

This forced Doheny to come forward which fell right into Conland’s hands. In the fourth, Conlan began to step on the gas and fight more in the center of the ring. He put more power into his shots.

The fifth round saw Conlan concentrate on Doheny’s body. With fifty seconds to go in the round, a series of body punches put TJ Doheny down on one knee.

Conlan continued to control the pace and action through the middle and late rounds. He used the right-hand stick to keep Doheny at bay, mixed in with effective body shots. Doheny briefly rallied in round eleven, but it was too little, too late. The final round saw the two give the fans a treat. They stood center-ring and went for broke. In the end, Michael Conlan comfortably won by unanimous decision (119-108, 116-111, 116-111).

It will be interesting to see where Michael Conlan goes. Should he stay at featherweight, it would put him in line for a fight against newly crowned WBA “Regular” world 126 pound champion Leigh Wood. If he decides to go back down to 122 pounds, he’s in line for the WBO World junior featherweight title early in 2022. In all likelihood, he would fight the winner of the September 11 showdown between WBO World junior featherweight champion Stephen Fulton and WBC world champ Brandon Figueroa.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.1959 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.