Caesars Palace Dubai, Dubai - In what was supposed to be a showcase became a big shocker, as former world champion TJ Doheny (22-2, 16 KOs) underperformed and lost an eight round unanimous decision to Ionut Baluta (13-2, 2 KOs). The scores were 77-74, 78-74 and 78-74.
Doheny got off to a slow start and then came on too late. He lost a point in the final round, but that penalization did not play a role in the final outcome.
Doheny now suffers his second loss in his last three fights. He lost a majority decision to Daniel Roman, two fights back, in a competitive unification clash.
Doheny was stunned after the contest, explaining what went wrong in the bout.
“I’m absolutely devastated,” Doheny said, according to The42. “Look, I was just getting going. I’m a 12-round fighter. If that had have been a 12-round fight, I would have gotten him out of there in the next few rounds. I was just starting to find my rhythm, starting to get to him, you know? He knew it was an eight-round fight so he just tried to survive, hit, run, and it was just a nightmare of a night.
“The referee wasn’t allowing any inside work which is where I was having success. I got a little frustrated and I tossed him on the ground as you could see. The rounds were so close. I thought, honestly — every fighter says they thought they were winning. When I heard the scorecards, I thought the scores were too wide for me not to win. That’s what I was thinking. Then, when they called his name, I was just like, ‘Wow.’ I dunno, it’s just one of those things.
“I was expecting to get eight rounds to set me up for the year, expecting to get some work. I can’t even call him a surprise package because I’m 10 times the fighter he is, but he just ran and spoiled and held, and it was one of those fights where the spoiler came out on top. And unfortunately, I had to be the one in there with him. I’m very, very, very disappointed. Honestly, I don’t know what to say, I’m so upset.”
Also on the card, Norbelto Jimenez (29-9-1, 16 KOs) fought to a close and controversial draw with WBC International super flyweight champion Aliu Bamidele Lasisi (14-0-1, 8 KOs).
Some observers felt Jimenez had done enough to win, but the judges saw different with scores of 96-94 Jimenez, 96-94 for Lasisi, and an even 95-95.
Super welterweight prospect Rohan Date (12-0-1, 9 KOs) stopped Rivo Kundimang (9-3-2, 5 KOs) in the fourth round.
Cesar Mateo Tapia (12-0, 7 KOs) crushed Steve Collins Jr. (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in one round with a variety of power shots.
Heavyweight prospect Zhan Kossobutskiy (13-0, 12 KOs) put away Abraham Tabul (17-4-1, 14 KOs) in two rounds with a shot to the body.