TJ Doheny was first to admit that he came up just short in his attempt to add the WBA world title to his IBF strap, losing by majority decision to Daniel Roman in California on Friday night.
The Portlaoise native picked himself up off the canvas twice as he made it through all 12 rounds in the unification bout at the iconic Forum arena, but lost out on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
Doheny went down in the second round, despite starting the brighter of the two fighters, and was again felled in the penultimate round as his American opponent finished in style in his home town of Inglewood, on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
"Gave it my best shot tonight, came up short but no shame in losing to a great fighter in a world title unification," said Doheny, posting on his Twitter account following the bout.
WHAT A FIGHT! ?? Danny Roman came out on top in an incredible battle between 2 world champions.— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) April 27, 2019
Here are just 3 of the key moments... ??
?? Srisaket v Estrada is up next on Sky Sports Main Event pic.twitter.com/3IrhVUePdM
The defeat handed Roman Doheny’s IBF belt to go alongside his WBA title, and proved the Portlaoise native’s first defeat of his impressive professional career.
Doheny’s record changes to 21-1-0, yet despite the defeat, The Power is naturally, and deservedly, taking the positives from his performance, showing quite clearly that he is more than comfortable at this level.
"The main thing is that I’m improving as a fighter and my best is yet to come. I’ll take a little break and be back in no time," added Doheny, who is certainly not thinking of hanging up his gloves.
Speaking after the fight, Roman said that he believes that Doheny does deserve a re-match somewhere down the line, however, he is intent on going after the next champion to add to his two world belts.
"TJ connected with me good and I was just trying to survive the round, trying to get my distance, but he kept on connecting so it’s a good thing we came out good after that," said Roman, speaking about the gruelling seventh round, which Doheny dominated.
"He’s a great guy, in the future, he deserves a re-match," added Roman. "But right now my goal is to fight the next champion, which is Rey Vargas.
"I knew that I had won the fight, I’m not sure what that 113-113 judge was thinking, but I have to respect it."
Differing scorecards are nothing out of the ordinary in professional boxing, and while judge Eddie Hernandez Sr’s 113-113 decision may have been a touch generous to Doheny, considering there were two 10-8 rounds in Roman’s favour, Max DeLuca and Zachary Young’s tallies of 116-110 were not a reflection of Doheny’s endeavours and occasional dominance.
The Sydney-based Irishman took the fight to his opponent in the middle rounds and was pretty close to knocking Roman down in that seventh when he had the American in real trouble.
But Roman came back strong in the ninth, tenth and eleventh rounds, which meant that Doheny would really have needed a knockout in the final stanza to secure the belts.
The attritional encounter failed to spark in that last round with both fighters out on their feet at that stage, and as a result, Doheny must now go back to the drawing board and target another of the super bantamweight belts or hope that an exciting sequel can be arranged.
"I got beaten by the best 122 fighter in the world. I said it all along in the build-up, the winner was going to be the number one," said Doheny, speaking to DAZN after the fight.
Gave it my best shot tonight, came up short but no shame in losing to a great fighter in a world title unification. The main thing is that I’m improving as a fighter and my best is yet to come. I’ll take a little break and be back in no time. Thanks for all your support. ThePower— TJ Doheny (@TjDoheny) April 27, 2019
"Danny is the man, I can't take anything away from him. If there is a re-match on the cards, whatever, I want to come straight back to the top. I don't want to be rebuilt. This is where I belong.
"We came up short tonight but I am still learning all the time and I still think the best is yet to come.
"I just want to say thanks as well, I'm not licking his ass or anything, but I want to say thanks to Eddie Hearn. The man is unbelievable. He is one of the best promoters in the world and he gave me this opportunity. I just want to thank him straight off the bat."