TJ DOHENY was given a hero’s welcome in Portlaoise on Friday evening. The local boxer was paraded through the town in an open-top car to mark his amazing achievement of being crowned a world boxing champion last month.
The cavalcade made its way up Main Street and across to county hall, where the TJ was afforded a civic reception. On arrival at county hall he was greeted by hundreds of fans, who listened spellbound as he was interviewed by RTÉ’s Justin Treacy.
TJ spoke of the huge effort he had to put into becoming a world champion and it wasn’t roses all the way.
“It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in professional boxing. A lot of people just get to see the glamour and the hand being raised. They don’t get to see the blood, the sweat and the tears,” he said.
But in the end it all paid off for the young Portlaoise man, who is only the second fighter from Ireland or Britain to have won a world title in Japan.
TJ was welcomed home by Laois County Council cathaoirleach John King, who said: “The achievement of winning this prestigious world title is not the product of a single night’s work. Your determination and dedication has earned you the chance to realise your dream.”
Representing Portlaoise Municipal District, cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said TJ’s family has been associated with Portlaoise Boxing Club for more than three generations.
“TJ teaches us that to make big dreams come true, you must truly dream big. He is an inspiration to all young people. TJ is an ordinary, extraordinary young man from Portlaoise,” added cllr Fitzgerald.
Many more tributes were paid to new world champion, including those from Mgr John Byrne, PP, who is a trustee of Portlaoise Boxing Club, and TJ’s former trainer Pat Ryan, who is the IABA’s current president.