Michael Conlan picked up a hard earned unanimous decision over TJ Doheny and won the WBA Interim title in his return to featherweight on Friday Night in front of his hometown fans at Falls Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The bout was closely contested with very little difference between the two fighters early in the fight. The fight lacked engagement and fun at most times but Conlan did enough to get the nod on the judges scorecards which were 116-111, 116-111 and 119-108 in favor of Conlan.
Conlan was fighting from a distance, hiding effectively behind his jab while Doheny seemed well aware of McGregor’s knockout capabilities and avoided getting caught for most of the fight.
However as the fight wore on, the crowd seemed to anticipate McGregor’s moves and every successful connection, drew a reaction from the crowd, which were enjoying one of their first outings since the pandemic brought social gatherings to a halt in Belfast.
McGregor had some good moments in the fight and that includes the fifth round when he Doheny hurt with a body-shot bringing him down to one knee. However, his move to end the fight after that shot was unfruitful as the former Junior featherweight titlist was able to fight back and forced Conlan backwards event up till the bell.
Doheny, who won the IBF Junior Featherweight titlist with a 12 round unanimous decision over Ryosoke Iwasa in Japan 3 years ago also had his moments against McGregor in the middle rounds. Doheny lost the title in a unification with Daniel Roman back in April 2019 at Inglewood, CA.
Doheny worked his way behind Conlan’s Jab and was able to connect inside in round seven and eight and the results were massive. Conlan got briefly wobbled but was able to regroup, a reminded of the level of opponent Doheny was fighting. Conlan responded in round nine, switched his stance and had some good success but Doheny remained inside but couldn’t cause much damage .
Conlan had the momentum in his favour but was then dealing with a blessing nose and a swelling over his right eye. Doheny made things a little worst with a big shot sending the unbeaten fighter to the ropes and following up the less responding Conlan with a series of big shots that went on to bolster Doheny’s confidence for the remainder of the fight.
Conlan retained his unbeaten record, going 16-0, 8KO’s whole Doheny drops 22-3 with 16 KOs, with all three losses coming from his last four starts.
Both fighters celebrated together after the fight under the echoes of Ole Ole Ole from the Irish Crowd.