In September, Naoya Inoue will defend his undisputed super bantamweight championship against TJ Doheny in Tokyo, Japan.

It’s an unpopular move by the 31-year-old ‘Monster’ Inoue (27-0, 24 KOs), because fans are not interested in seeing him fight the 37-year-old Ireland native Doheny (26-4, 20 KOs), who has lost four out of his last nine fights since 2019.

Doheny’s Recent Struggles and Comeback

This might be seen as Inoue avenging the loss of these Japanese fighters who suffered defeats at the hands of Doheny: Ryosuke Iwasa, Ryohei Takahashi, and Kazuki Nakajima. There’s no real true get-back for Inoue by beating a guy with a 5-4 record in his last nine fights.

Doheny is ranked #2 WBO, #6 WBA, #7 IBF, and #9 WBC. He went through a rough patch in his career from 2019 to 2023 when these fighters beat him:

Sam Goodman
Michael Conlan
Ionuț Băluță
Daniel Roman

Why Doheny?

Although Doheny has won his last three fights since going 2-4, the victories have been against bottom-range-level scrubs. Doheny’s three comeback fights have all taken place in Japan, so the Japanese fans are familiar with him and will be agreeable to see Inoue defend his four belts against him.

More importantly, it’s a safe fight for Inoue because Doheny isn’t a threat to beat him like some of the other fighters, particularly his WBA mandatory and the dangerous talents at 126.

Fans want Inoue to either face his #1 ranked WBA contender, Murodjon Akhmadaliev, which he’s shown no interest in fighting, or move up to featherweight to face the killers in that weight class that could deal him with defeat after defeat.

Inoue has the size to fight featherweight and looks lightweight when rehydrated.

Dangerous Sharks Await Inoue At 126

Inoue seems to have lost the risk-taking mindset that he had earlier and has been playing it safe. U.S fans have noted Inoue has chosen to stay at 122, and they feel that he’s flat-out scared to move up to 126 to face these dangerous predatory sharks that could rip him to pieces:

– Nick Ball
– Bruce Carrington
– Rey Vargas
– Luis Alberto Lopez
– Robeisy Ramirez
– Rafael Espinoza

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